Are you still waiting for your online order to arrive? It can be challenging to know what to do when you’ve paid for something and it seems to be stuck in limbo. However, you may have some rights under BC law. In this post, we’ll walk you through your options when your order never arrives.
Reach out to the business:
If your order is taking longer than expected, the first thing you should do is contact the business. They may be able to provide an update or let you know when to expect the order. In some cases, there might be a legitimate reason for the delay.
Can’t get a hold of them? There’s a chance the business is facing a backlog of customer emails, but there’s also a possibility that it was a scam. If the contact information they provided you is faulty, or their website no longer exists, skip down to the “Was it a scam?” section for some options to consider.
How long do I have to wait?
When you buy something online, you may be entering into something called a distance sales contract. These transactions are not entered into in person (usually online) and you don’t have the opportunity to inspect the item before you buy it. When you make an online purchase, your order should include estimated delivery date, but sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s what you need to know about your cancellation rights:
- You are within your right to cancel if the goods are not delivered to you within 30 days of the estimated delivery date.
- You are within your right to cancel if you weren’t provided with a delivery date and your order doesn’t arrive within 30 days of the purchase
How to cancel/request a refund:
You need to let the business know that you are cancelling your order and the reason for doing it. Here are the two reasons for cancelling and the forms to use for each:
- Option #1: Your order was not delivered to you within 30 days of the delivery date. Use this form to cancel your order
- Option #2: You were not provided with an expected delivery date and your order did not arrive within 30 days of the purchase. Use this form to cancel your order
Once you’ve filled out the relevant form, send it to the business (by mail, email, or fax) to let them know that you’re cancelling your contract. The seller has 15 days to refund you the total amount.
Still nothing? Now what?
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 and we 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.
Was it a scam?
While there are many legitimate online businesses, fraudulent activities do happen. If you’ve tried to contact the business numerous times but never heard back or their website no longer exists, it may have been a scam. Sometimes you can find other consumers’ reviews online who have experienced something similar. If you’re in this boat, try contacting your credit card provider outlined above.
You can find more information on what to do if you have a problem with an online purchase on our website.
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Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.