If you tend to order online from a site as opposed to from a merchant on said site, you may have run into situations where something that should be delivered in a few days to a week is held for a longer period of time. The Federal Trade Commission is stepping in to make sure that retailers either ship on time or give you a refund.
Calling the new regulation the “Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule,” the FTC’s rule also covers the purchases made via the internet and fax. It forces companies to ship goods within 30 days if a specific date isn’t set for delivery. Companies will also have to have a “reasonable basis” for the listed estimated shipping date.
The rules are also very specific about delivery advertised as fast delivery such as two day shipping with the window of delay notification is close significantly. Also included is item availability or “in stock” listings.
Should the company miss the shipping date or 30 day window, customers must be told of the delay and approve of the reason for the delay. If the customer doesn’t give the shipping company consent, they will need to refund customers automatically. The customer also has the option to cancel and get a refund if they consent to the shipping delay.
Exempt from regulation are magazine subscriptions (except for the first order), plants and seeds, C.O.D orders, services, and music/book clubs. Companies will not have to refund the cost of shipping and handling.
The rule applies to everything, except for a few exceptions, including magazine subscriptions, plants, and services. December 8th is the deadline for companies to apply to the FTC’s new rules.