Your Online Order Never Arrived? Here Is What to Do Next

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Child looking into an empty mailbox
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Did you order a gift that never arrived? Or perhaps you purchased something for yourself online and have waited in vain for the item to show up at your doorstep?

Whenever you order an item online that does not arrive, you have recourse. The Federal Trade Commission says your first step is to contact the seller in an attempt to figure out what is going on.

In most cases, this should help resolve the matter. Occasionally, though, the problem will remain unresolved.

If you see a charge on your credit card statement for the item you never received, the FTC recommends calling your credit card company and disputing the charge. At this point, your lender should begin an investigation into the matter to determine whether you must pay.

If you paid via debit card, contact your bank, credit union or other debit card issuer and see if it can help.

Sometimes, you may receive the item you ordered but not within the promised time frame. By law, sellers must ship when they or their ads promise to do so, the FTC says.

If they don’t ship on time, they must inform you and give you the chance to either cancel the order or to get a full refund.

Sellers that do not list a shipping date must ship within 30 days of the order date.

Finally, if you think you have been the victim of a scam, report the fraud to the FTC.

In some cases, your package may arrive, only to fall victim to a “porch pirate.” To reduce the risk of such a fate, follow the tips in “9 Ways to Stop Package Thieves.”