What to do if your online order never arrives?

online deliveries

Contributed by Mexico's Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco)

It is frustrating when you buy something online but your order never arrives. Here are some ways to help avoid online shopping hassles.

Before buying online:

  1. 1. Check the seller’s website. Look for https:// or a closed padlock icon. That tells you the site is secure. Review the website’s privacy policy so you know what personal information the site is collecting, why it’s being collected, and how it will be used.

  2. 2. Learn about the seller and product. Identify the seller's business name, physical address, telephone numbers and other contact information, which you can use if you have questions or problems. Make sure you understand the description of the item you are buying.

  3. 3. Check the shipping, return, and refund policies before you buy. Inquire about the availability of the product. What are the shipping dates? Who pays for shipping? Who pays for returns? How many days do you have to return the item? Is the return policy different for sale items?

  4. 4. Check for additional costs and terms. Read the terms and conditions of the sale. For example, are there restocking fees if you make a return? What are the accepted payment methods? Are warranties or service contracts available? How much do they cost, and is there a third party involved?

After buying online:

  1. 1. Keep records. Save screenshots and other records of the purchase, like the description, price, payment receipts, order confirmations, and any messages from the seller.

  2. 2. Know your rights. Typically, you have most of the same rights when you buy online as you do when buying in person (though cross-border transactions can introduce complications).

If you do not receive your order on time:

  1. 1. Contact the seller to find out what happened and try to resolve the problem.

  2. 2. Put your complaint in writing
    1. a. Give a brief explanation of the problem, and how you want it resolved. For example, with a refund, repair, exchange, or store credit.

    2. b. Include a date you want to hear back by. Allow several days.

  3. 3. If your complaint is not resolved within the time you set, here are some options:
    1. a. If the seller was operating within an online marketplace, contact that company to pursue your claim.

    2. b. If the seller was operating through some other website or social media platform, contact that platform to see if it will help.

    3. c. You may have some protections if you paid with a credit card. Contact your credit card company. Explain that you never got your order and ask them to reverse the charge made to your card.

    4. d. If you paid some other way, contact that payment program to see if it will help.

    5. e. If the seller participates in an industry accreditation program, dispute resolution program, or other third party program endorsing their products, contact that program to see what other recourse you may have.

    6. f. Contact your national and/or local consumer authority.

    7. g. If you think you may be dealing with a scammer outside your country, report it to:

Econsumer.gov - your complaints can help consumer agencies around the world spot trends and work together to prevent international scams. Your reports can also help other people avoid the same problem.