Mr Flamboyant’s fraud charge begs the question: How can suppliers ensure they’re paid?

flowers fraud

A Double Bay florist has been charged with fraud after he was accused of skimming his customer’s credit cards and not paying his suppliers for work already completed.

Mr Flamboyant owner Brennon (legally known as Brendon) Mrzyk, 25, got into hot water when two customers alleged he kept their credit cards on file to use them himself — in one instance, to allegedly buy “likes” for his Instagram account.

Mrzyk has pled not guilty to the charge.

But it’s not just customers embroiled in Mr Flamboyant’s alleged money misconduct — a graphic designer Sarah Clark told Nine Newspapers she spent months working on his website, coffee cups, signage, business cards and social media assets.

Her $3000 invoice went unpaid.

So what can suppliers do to ensure they do not find themselves at the mercy of an alleged fraudster?

Business.gov.au says the first thing to do is review the terms of your contract for the payment conditions and debt recovery options. It advises that a part-oral agreement is still valid, as long as you can prove what was agreed (for example, follow up emails that confirm the agreement).

If your invoice is falling upon deaf ears, a letter of demand from you, or a lawyer, is the next port of call. The government has a handy template for you to use, but be conscious of your obligations when contacting a business about a debt — the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has more on this.

If your letter of demand doesn’t result in payment and a request for mediation is ignored, it’s time to get serious. Lodge a complaint through your state or territory’s fair trading agency, and if you’re a small business, you can also file a complaint through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is another great place to get support if your invoices are unpaid — it says there are five steps to resolving such an issue, namely understanding the dispute, talking to the other party, writing to the other party, asking for help from a third party and going to court.

So how can you tell the (alleged) crooks from the good guys? Check out the Business Council of Australia’s list of businesses committed to doing things right and getting their suppliers paid on time — the initiative is called the Australian Supplier Payment Code.

It requires signatories to pay small business suppliers within 30 days of a receipt of a correct invoice, and so far AGL, Aldi, ANZ, Coles, Energy Australia, Ernst and Young, Kmart, JP Morgan, NAB, Officeworks, Origin, Qantas, PWC, Shell, Target, the Victorian State Government, and Xero have all signed up, plus many more.

Brennon Mrzyk was approached for comment.

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