A lot of people see the benefits of online shopping. It’s quick, easy, and you don’t even need to leave your home to do it. However, the ease of shopping at home can come with its own set of problems. Have you ever ordered something online and as the delivery date approaches you find yourself constantly checking the front door, impatiently awaiting your package? Soon a couple of weeks pass and the panic starts to set in. You start to wonder if there’s been a mistake. You’ve already paid for it, so what do you do now?

Contact the supplier first

We recommend contacting the supplier first. There could be a reasonable explanation for a late delivery. It happens. For example, I recently bought a bathing suit online and it was a couple of weeks late because of a typhoon – in my opinion, this is completely understandable.

Still nothing?

If going through the supplier was unsuccessful and your goods or services have still not arrived, there are some options that are available to you when it comes to cancelling your “contract”.

When you buy something online, you may be entering into a distance sales contract. Distance sales contracts are not entered into in person (usually online) and you don’t have the opportunity to inspect the goods before purchasing.

According to the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (BPCPA), you have rights when it comes to cancelling your contract when your goods do not arrive.

Your rights

  • You are within your right to cancel if the goods/services are not delivered to you within 30 days of the supply date (expected day of delivery).
  • If there was no supply date, you can cancel the distance sales contract within 30 days from the date that the contract was entered into (the date of purchase).
  • If you cancel your contract, the supplier has 15 days to refund the consumer the total amount.

How to cancel

You can head over to the “Problem with an online purchase?” section of our website to find various cancellation forms to send to the supplier (by mail, email, or fax) to inform them you are cancelling the distance sales contract. Once you cancel your contract, the supplier will have 15 days to refund you the total amount. We suggest you keep track of all communication with the business, including the proof of delivery of the cancellation form.

What to do next

If the business does not give you your refund, the recourse is now through your credit card provider. You can request that the charges on the card are reversed or cancelled – we also have a form available to help you through that process. Follow the form instructions carefully, as certain information must be included for it to be effective.

If you are also denied by your credit card provider, we want to know about it. Both the credit card provider and the business would be in breach of the laws we oversee. We would encourage you to submit a complaint to us so we can review it and determine if we can help.

What if the tracking status of my goods says “delivered”, but nothing has arrived?

  • If your goods are being shipped through the Canada Post, they suggest double checking second locations, such as apartment mail rooms, front desks, or company mail rooms.
  • After waiting for 24 hours for a potential update or final delivery, Canada Post suggests reporting the problem to them directly.
  • If you did not use Canada Post, we suggest you contact the specific shipping suppliers, who may be able to guide you through the next steps.

With respect to distance sales contracts, if you haven’t received the goods (regardless of delivery status) you have the rights to cancel the contract, within the parameters that are mentioned above. Consumer Protection BC regulates specific aspects of distance sales contracts in BC, including your right to cancel and what’s required to be in the contract. For more information, visit our Consumer Help page. While we don’t oversee online shopping or quality of service issues, we hope the information above is useful to you!


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