Ever had a bad online shopping experience? Maybe you ordered one thing but got another. Or that new company never shipped your order, despite charging you. So, what do you do?
If something didn't arrive or you didn't accept it, and now the company won't refund your money, dispute the charges. If products show up that you never ordered, you don’t have to pay for them. Federal law protects you.
To try to stay ahead of these problems, if you haven’t shopped with a company before, start by searching online for the company’s name, plus words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people are saying.
And no matter where you shop online, remember:
- Check refund and return policies. Sellers often have different (and stricter) refund and return policies for sale items, and dishonest sellers will use tricky disclosures and fine print to deny refund requests.
- Use a credit card for online purchases, if possible. Credit cards offer the most protection against fraud compared to other types of payments including the right to dispute charges if there are problems with your purchase.
- Always save your receipts and confirmation emails. If something goes wrong, these can help you get your money back from the seller or file a dispute with your credit card company.
And 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.
- 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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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.
To the ftc.gov administrator, You always provide clear explanations and step-by-step instructions.
Great work, very useful. We order thousands of dollars a year, very seldom have problems but your advice is sage wisdom.
YES I HAVE BEEN SCAMMED A COUPLE OF TIMES. HOWEVER, I USED PAYPAL AND IN EACH CASE RECEIVE A FULL REFUND. EVEN THOUGH I BELIEVED THE PRICE AS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, I BOUGHT IT ANYWAY BECAUSE I USED PAYPAL. IF THE SELLER DOESN'T ACCEPT PAYPAL, OR AN OTHER LIKE BUSINESS = NO SALE
Online shopping problems are more the rule than the exception. Third party sellers are not vetted or regulated and it shouldn't be the customer's effort to weed these out. We pay money for an item; customers are not a consultation service. Ratings are a sneaky way of companies getting customers to do their work for them.
Always report to consumer protection or state attorney general and/or file dispute with payment source. Just recently got almost taken for online local business gift card because we didn’t have a certain number on the e gift card. We had the receipt thank goodness. They only embarrassed us when we wanted to use it but we got our money back from them. I hate these businesses and hope they fail.
In reply to Always report to consumer… by Diane
Good for you! Way to stand up for yourself. These people can be ruthless.
Before shopping on a new site, I check online reviews from trusted websites (Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, Bureau of Consumer Protection, etc). This has saved me from ordering from sketchy or malicious sites.