If you are running some outlet-based kind of business, many possible things can happen. This is especially so if you are running establishments such as restaurants, bars, cafes, and the like. It can even happen at gas stations. One of the possible things that can happen is someone walking out without paying. This happens a lot and if you are not alert some culprits get away with it. If you are running any of the aforementioned businesses, it is highly likely someone will try to walk out without paying. This discussion is for you as you will learn what to do if someone walks out without paying.
Table of Contents
1. Ascertain Why The Walked Out First And Take Preliminary Action
When you notice someone walking out without paying, do not assume the worst. It is possible for someone to honestly forget to pay before leaving. Thus you should get the person’s attention and remind them that they have not paid. If they truly had forgotten they will not behave suspiciously. They will apologize and do the needful. However, if someone is maliciously leaving without paying, they often will run away or ignore your call. Once that happens, you have to take action.
This can start with your security personnel blocking or pursuing the culprit. You can even take advantage of onlookers. These can be other people in your outlet or just outside. Screaming out that someone is running away without paying can mobilize onlookers. Often time people will swoop in to block or grab the culprit from leaving. In any preliminary action you take, please ensure you are not putting yourself or others at risk. A culprit might be armed or might cause you or others harm. Regardless, there are countless times onlookers have saved the day. If the person manages to leave then you take things a step further.
2. What To Do If The Person Is Driving Or Being Driven?
When someone pulls off the ‘dine and dash’ trick and they are walking on foot, it can be easier to catch them. If you quickly notice them, then onlookers can play a huge role in helping you catch them. However, it becomes a different story when they are using a vehicle. Trying to block or catch them whilst trying to drive away can be risky. It would be best to take note of their license plate number. Plus you would have to take note of any useful descriptive details.
You can even take photos with your mobile phone if you can. Take note of the direction the vehicle will take as it leaves. Then you immediately report to the police. Whilst it might seem tempting to pursue them yourself in a car chase, it is highly discouraged. Road traffic accidents can occur and after all, you do not really know what that person is capable of. That is why reporting to the police is often the best thing to do.
3. Sometimes Just Ignore
When someone walks out without paying, consider what the amount is. Some amounts can be so little that not taking any action would be better. Some amounts are so insignificant that making an insurance claim would be pointless.
4. Report The Culprit To The Police
Someone walking out without paying is considered a criminal offence. In the US it qualifies as theft of services or merchandize, whichever applies. Anyone who does that can be fined or can be thrown into jail. This means you can report someone who walks out without paying. However, it is only effective if you have some means to identify the culprit. It would be pointless to engage the police when you cannot even give the police something to work with. Having surveillance cameras helps as it makes identifying culprits easier.
Have cameras installed that cover all angles (interior and exterior) and exits. Otherwise without a name, a face, or something, police might not be able to do anything. That is why it is important to have standard operating procedures that capture a person’s details. This should be so even when someone is visiting your outlet for the first time. This brings to the fore the importance of have customer relationship management tools. This helps capture relevant details that can be useful such as when someone walks out without paying.
5. Review Incidents And Take Corrective Measures
Someone walking out without paying happens in more or less the same patterns. For some outlets it can be a once-off thing. For some it can happen here and there that it can be insignificant. For some the incidents can be many or so frequent. Whenever you encounter someone walking out without paying, do a review afterwards. Establish how it happened and why it happened. The aim will be to take note of loopholes. Anyone who walks out without paying capitalizes on loopholes. At times it can be how payments are done.
At times it can be the general positioning of staff. Someone can take advantage of the absence of dedicated security personnel. These are just some of the many loopholes. Always review and take corrective measures. Even when you are confident you have plugged all possible loopholes, do not relax. If someone is bent on walking out without paying, there is always something they can make use of.
These are some of the practical things you can do when someone walks out without paying. It is essential to realize that prevention is the best. Put mechanisms in place to guard against people leaving without paying. A particular study found out that roughly 5 percent of people who go to restaurants walk out without paying. As a business it is important to have solid frameworks of taking action. Ensure this is in order both on the preventative and the mitigatory side. Your staff members need to always be on high alert to act swiftly at all times. It is particularly essential to have staff, such as security, at the front of your outlet.