- Problems With Holiday Purchases?
The holiday season means gifts and that
means shopping. And with all that buying, maybe some of your purchases
didn't work out exactly right. If a retailer didn't deliver as promised or
if you feel you've been ripped off, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has
some tips for you.
Know Your Rights
By law, retailers - including e-tailers - are required to ship an order
within the time stated on their website (or in their ads) or at the time the
order is placed. If a company doesn't promise a time, it must ship the order
within 30 days after receiving it. And if the company is unable to ship
within the promised time, it is required to say so and allow the consumer to
agree to the delay or to cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.
Keep Good Records
Be sure and track your purchases. Keep printouts of the web pages where you
placed your orders with details about the transaction, including your emails
to the retailers and their responses to you, in case you're not satisfied.
If you have an unsatisfactory shopping experience, the best course of action
is to contact the retailer. Look for an address to write to or a phone
number to call. If you've never heard of the seller, check on its location
and reputation with the Better Business Bureau or the state attorney
If you're dissatisfied with the way the matter is handled, take your
business elsewhere in the future. However, it is important to recognize that
while some business practices - such as notifying the consumer that the
order will be delayed in a less-timely manner than the consumer may like -
may be poor customer service - they're not necessarily against the law.
File a Complaint
If you suspect the business may have broken the law, file a complaint with
the Federal Trade Commission. You can call the FTC toll-free at
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or file a complaint online at
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER