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Unless you enjoy the bustle of traditional holiday shopping, you’re probably thankful for being able to get what you need online. Unfortunately, the FTC has gotten reports from consumers who didn’t get their orders as expected – or never got them at all.

Here are tips to have a good online shopping experience:

  • Spot and avoid scams. Before you buy, confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number. Search the seller’s name with the word “scam” to see if other buyers have had problems.
  • Look carefully at the shipping date before you order. If there’s no date given, the seller has 30 days to ship. If you’re notified about a delay in shipping, you have the right to cancel the order and get a full refund. If you decide to cancel, let the seller know right away so you won’t be billed. If the seller doesn’t respond or refuses the refund, immediately report that to the company that issued the card you used to pay for it, or the bank on which your check was written.
  • If possible, pay with a credit card. If you pay by credit card, your transaction is protected by law. That means you can often dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment pending an investigation.
  • Track and safeguard your delivery. Get tracking numbers to see where your stuff is in the shipping process. Also, consider having your items held at the post office or delivered to a family member or neighbor in case you’re not home. Some companies have their own secure locations where you can have your merchandise delivered. This protects you from having some Grinch steal your holiday right from your doorstep.

Get more details about online shopping from the FTC’s page and infographic. And report any scams you come across to the FTC.



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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

December 10, 2018
had a problem with Amazon they delivered ro a wrong address and told me I had to contact the shipper I told them they hired them its their responsibility to contact them and find my package and both ordered were late arriving
December 12, 2018

In reply to by tigger

How sad, my domain host is frauding my accounts and devices and apparently works for ftc
December 10, 2018
Thank you.
December 10, 2018
Thank you for alerting us to potential problems durning the holidays.
December 12, 2018
Received a letter from CreditOneBank Thank you for sending a payment on your Credit One Bank (creditone) with a photocopy of a check that is not mine. Please issue us a replacement payment using one of the fast and convenient payment methods below: www. creditonebank. com 877-825-3242 The question I have is, I don't have any business with this bank or company. I didn't call because I'm afraid the number will be connected with the scam department.
December 10, 2018
I had a problem with an Amazon Seller. I was sent an item that was filthy and broken. I returned it to the Seller, was promised a full refund and never received a cent! I contacted Amazon several times. In fact, I even contacted Jeff Bezos direct and both Amazon & Jeff Bezos not only did anything, but flat out refused to give me a refund and this unscrupulous Seller continues to sell on Amazon!!
December 10, 2018
Lakeside collections really screwed me over. I crossed off everything not in stock, ordered 3 things around end of last month, 2 are SOMEWHERE even with tracking ,# they havent moved in weeks nsd one was out of stock AFTER I ordered, so will not get it for Christmas gift, as planned. I will never order from them again!!
December 10, 2018
I ordered some scarves with pockets. Nowhere in the online description does it say these items will be shipped from China! Got a tracking #, and guess what? -- The tracking info is in Chinese! But it does say that once the items leave China (apparently mine have) the company cannot track where they are. I don't know if they will ever arrive, especially for Christmas gifts. :(
Reno Nevada
December 10, 2018
Thank you so very much for your continued valuable information. I pray that everyone has signed up for this information. I make sure that I read every single word that you send in your letters. Great job. I love your input as it helps me so much since I am 72 years old.
December 10, 2018
I stopped using amazon the past 3x i ordered they billed me twice. (I have ordered many times. I did not click process order more than 1x) it took months for them to refund. I dont use amazon anymore. I have friends who also had problems.
Don't use your…
December 10, 2018
I ordered a Micheal Kors purse last Christmas & it took me to an official Micheal Kors site,at least it looked official,prices were 40-50% off retail,purse took 6 weeks to arrive & it was all plastic & did not even contain a shoulder strap,I was to embarrassed to give it to wife. Then when making several attempts to get a refund they responded in Half broken English words & grammar stating a return of refund to return would be a very costly process etc.& I never got any resolution & by sept. I gave up,it was an email address like ‘bagsmall3’ like i says when I searched thru google for good priced Micheal Kors purses i was lead to a so called official Micheal Kors site which was all counterfeit products from China
December 10, 2018
Just beware. I bought a t-shirt from a company. They shipped it UPS. When it arrived in the town I live in then it was transferred to the USPS. I have yet to get it. Post office told me they dont have it!! Just beware. I did not know companies were doing this.
January 19, 2019

In reply to by Arizonalocal

I had the same thing happen to an order of hats years ago. Never did get them or refund just got tired of going to UPS that would say USPS picked it up and ehen I eould check with USPS they didn't have it either and I gad a tracking number. It was a joke I'm so reluctant to order online.
Good advise
December 11, 2018
As a longtime online buyer buy only from well known retailers who give order confirmations and shipping confirmations. I've been burnt by buying from a warehouse operation that could be tracked to a blank looking building with no name. Order was for a shaver, order was delayed, was not in stock, no follow up notices from them. Ended up cancelling order luckily I was able to. Use only well known retailers and avoid foreign orders as well.
December 11, 2018
ordered micro flash memory cards from ebay, discription is for 32gb up to 124gb flash memory micros got the order 6 weeks later with just the worthless adapters. mango fly seller says she doesn't sell memory cards only adapters. adapters w/o memory are worthless and nowhere does anyone sell adapters separate. unresolved. it's a con pure and simple.
December 11, 2018
Ordered a dvd of “Generation Gap” from Red Flix website. Received a email confirmation of it being shipped. Tried to contact Red Flix by phone,email,and through their website.All avenues of trying to contact them no longer exists. I wonder if I will ever receive the dvd I paid for by credit card?
December 11, 2018
I order several items gave me a tracking no, 3 weeks later said was transferred from a ups to postal service no one can find my package, called post office all I got was they don't know where it told to call seller ,how does this happen and sadly this isn't the first time, beware unfortunately guess no one is accountable
December 12, 2018
Thank for your timely alert. It's good to know that there is a major protector for us little guys.
December 14, 2018
It is my understanding that a sales transaction on the internet, similar to a transaction in person, is not really completed until the merchandise or product purchased is in the buyers hand, or for online purchasers, the buyers destination address. As such, when product shipments are lost or delayed, that product is still the property of the seller. Therefore it is the sellers responsibility/obligation to find the product or reship another product if lost. Almost always when I do not receive an online purchase, after contacting the seller they tell ME to contact the USPS or UPS or Fedex, whoever they used to ship. They often claim such as "..we gave it to UPS/USPS/etc it is up to you to find/track it, call them..." They seldom if ever appear to want to take responsibility for getting the product to the destination. I usually throw out words like "the Federal Trade Commission considers the seller responsible for getting the product to the destination including tracking the product in transit or contacting the shipper, etc.." I can not find any rule in the FTC that backs this up . Can you advise me of the proper FTC rule number/statute I can use or quote in these circumstances? I do not know why they always want to argue about this, very frustrating. thanks.
FTC Staff
December 17, 2018

In reply to by jimdeezee

You can follow the links in this blog for more information about safer online shopping.

Palefeather Valdez
December 18, 2018
I order a pair of work shoes for my husband from Amazon, when it finally arrived (more than a month), one shoe was a size 8, and the other shoe was a size 9. Amazon has failed to help me with this as they say it came from China, I have to contact them. Amazon is the one contracted with this seller yet they won't take responsibility to resolve this pathetic mistake.
December 10, 2019
I'm a victim of very bad phishing attacks for the last 6 yrs. All my Social Medial is deactivated...blocked or muted all of Google is suspended,my life is a nightmare.My service provider is Sprint and I have a $995.00 Galaxy Note 8 ..Tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1A & Computer all my devises are compromised "Hacked" my credit cards were used on my devises and my numbers on my credit cards got scrambled up in my devises I couldn't use my credit card numbers when I entered them into my devices..when I took a snap shot of my cards to put them in my devices, I still couldn't use them but they where used anyways by another entity. ..All I can do on my phone is talk and text , I can't have no further use out of a $1000.00 phone...Same with my Tablet it won't sync with my phone, all my devices are worthless. Sprint is fully aware of my situation and has done nothing to correct it...I'm shutting my services off..As far as im concerned all I need @ this point is a $5.00 phone if I'm just going to Talk & Text. My Social Security # & Medicade # have been sold to more than one entity I know my Medicade is being used for Online Clincs I have reported this to the Federal Trade Commission & I have reported Identy Theft to the Lavista Police Department because there has been a lot of Online purchases from other entities electronically using my signature...I requested my credit reports and there is activity on them from Online Purchaces.. I'm being impersonated on Social Media I try to get on Twitter and Twitter requests verification that it's me Drivers License and I sent a picture of it hoping it would get me back on Social Media but it didnt..Please end this nightmare for me.