We all love shopping online for the convenience and sometimes the quick turnaround time. Reputable online businesses aim to have happy, returning customers, making returning something just as easy as buying it. But what happens when an online retailer won’t give you a refund or you never receive the merchandise you ordered?

Make sure to check the retailer’s return policy for information about returning items and how to receive a refund. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a seller must give you a refund within seven business days of accepting the return for most payment types. If you qualify for a return but you don’t get your money back, your options include:

  • Writing a complaint letter.
  • Seeking help from consumer organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.
  • Sharing your experience on social media. Companies monitor social media and may reply to your reviews and complaints.

If you ordered online and never received your items, contact the seller as soon as possible. If your items aren’t shipped within the promised timeframe, you can cancel your order.

Charged for the order but didn’t receive anything?

If you never got your order and there’s a charge on your credit card statement, dispute it as a billing error online or by phone with your credit card company. According to the FTC, you must dispute the billing error within 60 days of the date of your first statement.

For a debit card purchase, you may not receive a refund for a non-delivery. Contact your debit card company about protections.

What is the merchandise rule?

According to the FTC, a Federal law applies to most items you order by phone, mail, or online. Guidelines for online sellers establish when the order is shipped, what to do about delays, and when they must issue a refund.

Shipping dates: The seller must ship your order within a specified time. If a time is not promised, your order must ship within 30 days of when you placed it.

Delays: If the seller can’t ship within a promised time, it must give you a new shipping date (or reason for the delay) and the chance to cancel for a full refund.

More delays: If the seller can’t meet the new date, it must inform you again and give a new shipping date or an option to cancel for a refund.

Refunds: If you paid by cash, check or money order, or a credit card, the seller must refund you the money within seven working days after canceling the order.

For full details on the merchandise law, check out the FTC’s graphic.

Shopping tips to consider

The FTC suggests these ways to avoid shopping hassles:

  • Consider your experience with the company or its general reputation before you order. If you’ve never heard of the seller, search online for its name plus words like “complaint” or “scam” to find out other people’s experiences.
  • Check out the company’s refund and return policies, the item’s availability, and the total cost before you place your order.
  • Get a shipment date.
  • Keep records of your order, like the website, ad, or catalog you ordered from, any promises the company made about shipping and when they were made, the date of your order, and a copy of the order form you sent to the company. If you’re ordering by phone, keep a list of the items, their stock codes, and the order confirmation code.
  • Track your purchases. When you order online, keep downloads or printouts of the web pages with the details of the transaction.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.