Online Deliveries: Your Rights
Compiled by the Consumer Reports WebWatch Staff
March 24, 2004
A special event like a birthday or anniversary arrived but the gift you bought online didn't. Now what?
- All retailers, including e-commerce sites, by law must adhere to their shipping promises, or deliver an item within 30 days if a shipment date wasn't assured, says the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
- If a Web site guaranteed delivery by Christmas, for example, but was unable to fulfill that promise, the company should have contacted you to get your consent to delay delivery and offered a revised shipment date.
- If you refused to approve the delay, or if the e-tailer couldn't promise another delivery time, you are entitled to a full refund -- no questions asked. The company cannot negotiate the amount of the refund or offer a partial refund plus credit toward future purchases
- If the company doesn't agree to give you a full refund, file a complaint with the FTC by phone, at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or online at http://www.ftc.gov.
These shipping rules apply year-round, not just during the holidays. And be sure to keep printouts of Web pages detailing your online order and the site's delivery promises.