We’ve all been there. During the holidays you order something online and anxiously await its arrival. But then your package doesn’t come when the seller said it would. And worse, you hear nothing. Your happy anticipation is turning to anger and frustration. So now what?
If you didn’t get your stuff:
- First, contact the seller. Most businesses will work with you to resolve the problem and keep you as a customer.
- If that doesn’t work, you still didn’t get your order and the charge shows up on your credit card statement, dispute the.
- If you paid by debit card, contact your debit card company (often your bank or credit union). Ask if they can help you. This sample letter for disputing debit card charges can help.
Sometimes, you can head problems off by doing some research before buying from an unfamiliar online store.
- Check out the company or product. Search online for the name plus words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people say about it. And read the seller's description of the product carefully. If they offer name-brand goods at steeply discounted prices, they might be fakes.
- Pay by credit card. You’ll get protections under federal law, so you don’t have to pay for things you ordered but didn’t get.
A word on timing, as the holidays approach: online sellers have to ship when they (or their ads) say they will. (The law says so.) If they don’t ship then, they have to tell you (and give you a chance to cancel and get a full refund). If they don’t give a shipping date, they have 30 days to ship from the date of your order.
If you suspect a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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.
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This article is 100% correct If you do everything that it states. I had this occur with us, and got the run around. I reported it as fraud to the bank, with a 1 page letter & it was taken off the card. Plus, I told them I was going to report them to the State Attorney General Office as a scam, and to The FTC & some other consumer agencies & social media ie. Facebook.
I got refunded. So, it does work.
I also learned through this, that FTC don't care for liars, scammers, or a company that rips off consumers. They are there to help consumers. But 1 thing, don't lie. Be 100% honest & have proof. You will get results.
You failed to mention the most popular complex scam, where a seller will except your money, make excuses for a delayed delivery, or simply just provide you with the proof of delivery. The proof of delivery would be a tiny insignificant item that arrives by any means, they choose, providing proof that a delivery was made to you. However, you might have purchased a $100 item and received a $.25 ring or kitchen mitt. These are two examples of items I have received as part of the scam. The problem is that the credit card companies are excepting the seller’s proof of delivery and in order to appeal and win, incredible time, money, and documentation is required.
In reply to You failed to mention the… by Richard D Townsend
I've actually experienced a similar situation and gave up trying to get my $100 plus the $35 the "company" withdrew from my PayPal acct. and once I realized what had happened it was outside of PayPal's window to dispute a charge. I am now afraid to make any type purchase online. 😒
We pay right away for the product and when it does not come, we request a refund that comes sometimes in 10 days or longer...there should be a law against holding our money when we didn't even receive the item. They should take the money when we receive the item. The delivery truck drivers just drop the item at anyone's door and claim it's been delivered, instead of checking with the right address. There should be a signature for packages, or these delivery truck drivers should follow directions on package instead of ignoring them! The consumer is already paying too much for too many cheap products that are made in other countries that we are being forced to support...
Thank you very much for this article. Seems like even "reputable," big name, formerly high-class stores have problems with delivery. Third party sellers like to print a label and indicate to the shipper that it has been shipped. The shipper never receives it from the 3rd party seller and it never is shipped from that seller or the big name store. Seems to be a common practice, beware shopping online anywhere.
This article has great advise but it doesn’t explain what to do if you still don’t receive your order.
I’ll always pay online with my credit card. My bank won’t help if there’s an ordering issue. I had an issue one time, my bank said I had to deal with seller, and they would help when I couldn’t cancel or get my money back. Maybe it all depends bank by bank.
Thank you for a good and clear report with several good ideas to be considered,if there is a possibility of having been scammed.
Thank You for mentioning the credit card versus debit card . In my experience it’s a hassle to dispute debit card purchases and seamless to stop payment on credit card purchases.
Thank You for this useful information.
I had an order from Target that never came! But after I contacted Target, they gave me a refund and replaced my order! And Target also has given me refunds for damaged or wrong items!
What if the order was shipped on time ( through Amazon ) but the local post office was responsible for the final delivery part and the item was never received by the recipient? One search shows the item was out for delivery but the next notice said it has not been scanned yet and to this date the tracking number shows no further action.
In reply to What if the order was… by Donna White
Donna I bought a chainsaw blade on eBay and when the package arrived it was a empty package that had been resealed at one of the post offices that the package visited on its way to me . well the package was empty ,I contacted seller and they told me what P.O. they used .I called the P.O. they claimed they did not reseal it . It just got lost in the mail room ? I submitted all paper work of ordering to USPS and they paired me full price.
Delivery teported delivered last Monday.. someone at home all day. No parcel. Where is it?
In reply to Delivery teported delivered… by Tom Phillips
What if the delivery was made to the address but, someone stole it from your porch?
my order never arrived or been shipped
Order not delivered
I have 2 items that never arrived and printed docs to support my payment receipt. I heard the company went bust cookstore.com. I ordered last August. Can I get a refund as no response from company?
What should I do in this situation? I ordered from adidas and they didnt ship the order for 3 weeks. I called and they said they have a problem woth warehouse and asked if I want to cancel it. I said yes, cancel it. Now, I received the items a week later and I was charged for it. I already bought another shoes so I dont need it. Adidas refused to return the item since it was final sale. Eventhough, they lied about canceling my order and when I call them again they say we put a cancelation request but it was denied.
I am experiencing a similar issue. I ordered something online, the seller apparently shipped it and I never received it. However, they claim that UPS delivered it and I don't know where it is and never got it. Absolutely no help from Citi. Citi Cards is declining my dispute and siding with the seller. Citi does not side with the consumers and initially just like a Insurance underwriter denies all claims immediately until you dispute their denial. Citi then tries to call you to deny you your claim. Citi is terrible and should be banned from offering Credit Cards altogether. No accountability. No protection for consumers.