A reader: I ordered and paid for an item online that I never received. I have tried emailing and calling but get no response. I just want a refund. What can I do?
Action Line: Since you’ve already tried to contact the company, your next step is to file a complaint at bbb.org. Click on File a complaint and complete the steps. BBB offers a free complaint service to consumers in relation to marketplace disputes. Everything you submit will be forwarded to the business within two business days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the business’s response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.
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You may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc/gov. The Federal Trade Commission is the nation’s consumer protection agency. So if company does not deliver on their promise, you can file a complaint.
You should contact your credit card company to dispute the charges. Don’t delay. Most credit card companies have time limits on how long you have to dispute a charge.
For future online shopping, BBB suggest the following to make your shopping experience better:
▪ Always check the company’s business profile with the BBB. We have millions of records of companies throughout the United States and Canada and you can quickly check by going to bbb.org. It doesn’t matter if the company is offering the lowest price if they have delivery or customer satisfaction issues. Be safe and check before you click.
▪ Check out the company’s website and look for the BBB Dynamic Seal and/or other business organizations.
▪ Make sure there is a physical address and customer service phone number for the company.
▪ Check the return policy carefully; watch for return shipping fees, refund policies and restocking fees.
▪ Look for the “s” in the URL address on the checkout page. If it doesn’t say ‘https:,’ run the other way. You are sending money to an unsecured site and that is always a red flag and a major risk.
▪ Keep a record of your online purchase. Print out the page with the seller's name, address, and phone number. Print out the page about the item you ordered. Print any email confirmation messages you get and any follow-up messages about problems in shipping.
▪ Make sure you understand their shipping policy. Can you wait for regular delivery and save a lot of money? Many online stores offer free basic shipping for purchases. The length of your patience can determine your shipping charges.
A final word of warning whether you shop locally or online: check and double check on the amount of time you have to make an exchange or return. If you are shopping now for holiday gifts, there could easily be a problem with returns at the
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.