Mail Order Rule (long)

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

SecretSquirrel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,126
Reaction score
11
I don't read the forum much any more, probably less than once per week. When I do look at the posts, I keep noticing questions about vendors and delivery times. I'm amazed that no one has looked up the law on this. I see lots of speculation, but no concrete facts.

I'm sure someone here will want to argue this, but argue with the Federal Trade Comission, not with me. This is how the law breaks down:


The Mail Order Rule was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in order to correct growing problems with late or undelivered mail order merchandise.

When you offer to sell merchandise by mail, the Rule requires you to have a “reasonable basis” for expecting to ship within the time stated in your solicitation.

The shipping date, when provided in your offer, must be clearly and conspicuously stated. If you do not provide a shipping date, you must ship the merchandise within 30 days of receiving a “properly completed” order. An order is properly completed when you receive payment accompanied by all information you need to fill the order. Payment may be made by cash, money order, check or credit card, according to your company’s policy. If a credit card is used for a purchase, the order is properly completed when you charge your customer’s account.

When you cannot ship on time, you must provide your customer with an “option” notice. The notice must provide an option to cancel the order and receive a prompt refund, or to agree to a delay in shipping. And, as with the original date, you must have a reasonable basis for setting that shipping date.

You must also have a reasonable basis for telling your customers that you do not know when you can ship merchandise. In that case, you must provide the specific reasons for the shipping problem.

If a shipment is delayed, the Rule requires that you give your customers an option:
* to consent to a delayed, or
* to cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.

You violate the Rule if you only provide a notice of delay without also providing an option to cancel the order. The notice must be sent:
* before the promised shipping date; or
* within 30 days after you receive the order (if no date was provided in your solicitation).

If you provide a revised shipping date of 30 days or less, you must have a reasonable basis for making the change. The notice must inform your customers that non-response is considered consent to be a delay of 30 days or less.

If you are unable to provide a revised shipping date, your notice must state that you cannot determine when the merchandise will be shipped. It must also state that the order will automatically be canceled unless:
* you ship the merchandise within 30 days of the original shipping date and you have not received your customer’s cancellation before shipment; or
* you receive within 30 days of the original date your customer’s consent to the delay.

Your notice must provide this information if the definite revised shipping date is more than 30 days after the original date.

When you are unable to provide a revised shipping date, you must inform your customers of their continuing right to cancel the order by notifying you prior to actual shipment.

If you are unable to ship the merchandise on or before your revised shipping date, you must notify your customers again. This is called a “renewed option” notice. This notice must inform your customers of their right to consent to a further delay, or to cancel the order and receive a prompt refund.

The renewed option notice must inform customers that if they do not agree in writing to this delay, their order will be canceled. Unless you receive your customer’s express written consent to the second delay before the first delay period ends, you must cancel the order and provide a full refund.

You do not have to offer a “renewed option” to customers who consent to an indefinite delay in response to the first option notice. Any customer who agrees to an indefinite delay has the continuing right to cancel the order at any time before the merchandise is shipped.

You must cancel an order and provide a prompt refund:
* when your customer does not agree to a delay and excersises the option to cancel an order before it has been shipped.
* when you notify your customer of your inability to ship the merchandise and of your decision to cancel the order.
* when your are unable to ship the merchandise before the revised shipping date and you have not received your customer’s consent to a further delay.
* when the delay is indefinite and you have not shipped the merchandise or received your customer’s consent to an indefinite delay.
* when the definite revised shipping date in the first option notice is more than 30 days after the original shipping date, and you have not shipped the merchandise, nor received your customer’s consent to the delay within 30 days of the original shipping date; or
* when you cannot ship on time and do not notify your customers of their options.

Under no circumstances are you to substitute credit vouchers or script for a refund.




Hope this helps,

Don
 

Latest posts

Top