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Let me first say that I try not to do a lot of complaining here on our website or even on social media, but this one's got me miffed. And I should consider myself one of the lucky ones. Most people have had lots of bad experiences with online vendors, but this is my first case, and I've actually bought a lot of stuff online.

I try to only buy stuff online if it's NOT available at one of our local retailers. That's been something I've tried to practice since the inception of the internet. I'd rather do business with a local "Mom and Pop Shop" first. Then, if they don't have it, I look to one of the big retailers. And, as a last resort, if it's still not available, I'll shop online.

That's the case with some socks I wanted to give this year as Christmas presents. Now, please understand, these are specialized socks for extreme cold weather hunters. This particular brand isn't available anywhere locally, so I gave an online vendor a chance. Gotta say, it's been an awful experience.

I placed my order in early November, allowing time for delivery, so I'd have these as Christmas gifts. I noticed they had immediately charged my credit card, so I assumed all was well and my order would be shipped shortly.

Nearing mid-December, I contacted the vendor (they had yet to send me any kind of notification) to inquire about the status of my order. That's when they notified me that they were having trouble filling my order due to higher than expected demand for the product, but they expect to fill my order in the next couple weeks. Yet, they have already charged my card, mind you!

In the first week of January, I finally saw the package from them I'd been looking for. But, imagine my disappointment when I discovered they had only partially filled my order. I ordered 3 pairs of socks, and this package only had 2 pairs.

I contacted them again, because once again, they have NOT contacted me; Oh, and I did I mention, they've already FULLY charged my credit card. This is the message I got back in my email:

Hi Gary,

​Thank you for your message!

Our system shows that your order has just received in our warehouse. Kindly stand by for the tracking number that we will send to you thru email. It will be sent once the order is shipped.

​If there's anything else that we can assist you with, please let us know.

Oh, I'm gonna hold my breath waiting for that tracking number.  I'm sure that they'll fill the remainder of the order, but when?

I decided to see what grounds I have legally in this regard and thought that if you ever experience something like this yourself, you might be interested to see what the government says in this regard.

So straight from the Federal Trade Commission's website, here's what I found. Might want to keep this info handy, just in case you ever need it.

Your Rights When Shopping by Phone, Mail or Online

The Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule applies to most goods you order by mail, phone, fax, or online. It requires sellers to have a reasonable basis for claiming they can ship an order within a certain time and details what sellers should do if there is a delay.

Ship Dates

  • By law, a seller should ship your order within the time stated in its ads or over the phone. If the seller doesn’t promise a time, you can expect it to ship your order within 30 days.
  • The shipment “clock” begins when the seller receives a “properly completed order.” That includes your name, address and payment (check, money order or authorization to charge an existing credit account — whether the account is charged at that time or not).
  • If the seller doesn’t promise a shipping time, and you are applying for credit to pay for your purchase, the seller has an additional 20 days (50 days total) to establish the account and ship the merchandise.

Delays

If the seller is unable to ship within the promised time, it must notify you, give a revised shipping date and give you the chance to cancel for a full refund or accept the new shipping date. The seller also must give you some way to exercise the cancellation option for free — for example, by supplying a prepaid reply card or staffing a toll-free telephone number.

  • If you don’t respond — and the delay is 30 days or less — it’s assumed that you accept the delay and are willing to wait for the merchandise.
  • If you don’t respond — and the delay is more than 30 days — the order must be canceled by the 30th day of the delay period and a full refund issued promptly.

If the seller can’t meet the revised shipping date, it must notify you again by mail, email or telephone and give you a new shipping date or cancel your order and give you a refund.

  • The order should be canceled and a refund issued promptly unless you indicate by the revised shipping date that you are willing to wait.
  • If you don’t respond to the second notice, the seller should assume that you are not willing to wait issue a full refund promptly.

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