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Resources & Tools

Billed For Merchandise You Never Received? Tips For Shopping By Phone, Mail, Or Online

(continued from Billed for Merchandise You Never Received? Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule)…

  • Consider your experience with the company or its general reputation before you order. If you’ve never heard of the seller, check on its physical location and reputation with the local Better Business Bureau or the state Attorney General’s office.
  • Ask about the company’s refund and return policies, the product’s availability and the total cost of your order before you place your order.
  • Get a shipment date.
  • Keep records of your order, such as the ad or catalog from which you ordered; the company’s name, address and phone number; any shipment representation the company made to you and when it made it; the date of your order; a copy of the order form you sent to the company or, if you’re ordering by phone, a list of the items and their stock codes and the order confirmation code; your canceled check or the charge or debit statement showing the charge for your order; and any communications to or from the company.
  • Track your purchases. When you order online, keep printouts of the web pages with the details of the transaction, including the merchant’s return policies, in case you’re not satisfied.

Contacts for Resolving Problems

If you have other problems with your purchase, try to resolve your dispute with the company. If that doesn’t work, the following resources may be helpful:

  • State and local consumer protection offices. Contact the offices in your home state and where the company is located.
  • The Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Write:

DMA Mail Order Action Line
1111 19th Street, N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20036-3603

  • Postal Inspectors. Call your local post office and ask for the Inspector-in-Charge.
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