All I Want for Christmas…is What I Ordered

by Carol Kando-Pineda Attorney
FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education

You’ve probably spent a good part of 2020 doing some online shopping. Now that the holidays are here, you definitely want to be sure you or your friends and family actually get what you ordered. On this 11th day of Consumer Protection, take these steps to help Rudolph find his way to your house.

  • Confirm that the seller is legit. Read reviews and recommendations about the product, seller, and warranties from sources you trust. Look for reviews about their reputation and customer service, and be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.
  • ’Twas the night before? 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.
  • Give them some credit. If possible, pay with a credit card — that gives you many protections under the law. If you pay with a credit card, you may be able to dispute certain charges — and temporarily withhold payment for those charges pending an investigation.
  • Track — and guard — your delivery. Keep a record of your order, including tracking numbers. That way you can 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.

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