Shopping From Home

Know your rights when you shop online, by catalog or from TV.

Know Your Rights

When you order something by mail, phone, fax or computer, the Federal Trade Commission requires the company to:

  • Ship the merchandise within the time promised, or if no specific delivery time was stated, within 30 days of receiving your order.
  • Notify you if the shipment cannot be made on time and give you the choice of waiting longer or getting a refund.
  • Cancel your order and return your payment if the new shipping date cannot be met, unless you agree to another delay.

If you cancel, your money must be refunded within 7 days (or your account must be credited within one billing cycle if you charged the order). The company can't substitute a credit for other merchandise. If you applied for a charge account with the merchant at the same time that you placed your order, the company has an extra 20 days to ship the merchandise to allow time for processing your application.

These FTC rules only applies to the first shipment of magazine subscriptions or other merchandise that you receive repeatedly. Orders for services (for example, photo finishing), sale of seeds and growing plants, collect-on-delivery (C.O.D.) orders, and transactions such as books and music clubs are covered by a different FTC rule. There may also be laws or regulations in your state that apply. Report suspected violations to your state or local consumer protection agency and to the FTC.