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Vendor Warning

Do you check references before you engage vendors for your organization’s fundraising events? If not, you should.

The New York Timesindex Haggler recently reminded us why. In a recent post, the Haggler investigated a company called CreditCardMachineRentals.com, which charged a nonprofit a wrongful late fee of $8,100 for returning borrowed credit card machines weeks late and then refused to give back the money even after admitting that the credit card machines had been returned only two days late. When the company finally did provide a check to repay the wrongful fee to the charity, the check bounced. After that, the company stopped responding to the charity entirely.

After months of calls and emails the Haggler didn’t fare much better than the charity. Although the Haggler spoke with the company’s owner and spokesman, when it came down to actually getting the refund, the Haggler got the run around.

It appears that the charity may have avoided this whole mess with a simple Google search, which would have revealed another past discrepancy by the company. There, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure chapter in the Sacramento Valley was charged more than $16,000 for returning allegedly late, dirty and in need of repair machines.

When board members spend a charity’s money they need to act reasonably to protect the charity’s assets. That includes properly vetting vendors hired by the charity. At the very least run a Google search!