The Federal Trade Commission’s Mail or Telephone Order Rule requires that a seller must ship any goods that have been ordered by mail, phone, computer or fax within the time promised. If no ship date is stated, the seller must ship the goods within 30 days. 

What If the Seller Does Not Ship the Goods I Ordered on Time?

If the seller cannot ship the goods you ordered within the time promised or within 30 days, the seller must give you notice of a definite new shipping date and give you the option to cancel your order and receive a prompt refund. If the new shipping date is less than 30 days after the original ship date, then you are deemed to have accepted the new ship date unless you send notice that you are canceling your order and demanding a refund. The refund must be made within 7 days if you paid by check or money order, or within one billing cycle if you charged your order. If the new shipping date is more than 30 days after the original ship date, then you are deemed to have cancelled your order unless you provide notice that you accept the new revised ship date. 

Are There Any Exceptions That I Should Know About?

The Federal Trade Commission’s Mail or Telephone Order Rules does not apply to magazine subscriptions, seeds or plants and any photo development. If at the time you placed your order you applied for credit from the seller to pay for part or all of your order, then the seller must ship within the time promised or, if no ship date is stated, within 50 days. If the seller misses the original ship date, the seller must offer you a definite new ship date unless: 

  • There is a reasonable basis why the seller cannot quote you a specific ship date; or
  • The seller tells you the reason the shipment is delayed.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Consumer Protection Matter?

A lawyer can help you evaluate your situation and determine whether you have any legal recourse. An attorney experienced in consumer protection matters can write demand letters on your behalf, and file a lawsuit against the company if necessary.