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Mail Order Transactions

Under the Federal Trade Commission's Mail order rule, a company must ship your order within 30 days from the time it received the completed order, unless, in making the offer, the company clearly stated some other time for shipment. If the company cannot ship your order within the time advertised, it must inform you in writing of the delay. The company must give you the chance to cancel your order if you do not agree to the delay. If you decide to cancel, the company must refund your money within 7 days of your notice of cancellation. If you do not respond to companies notification of delay, the company may assume you agree to the delay. It then has another 30 days to send the merchandise. The company may not, however, delay shipment beyond an additional 30 days without your express consent. The Mail Order Rule does not apply to orders placed over the telephone and charged to your credit card, COD orders, or orders for which you send no advanced payment. The rule does not also cover mail order services such as photofinishing, seeds and plants, magazine orders, and "negative option plans" such as those used by some book, record, and tape clubs. Whenever you shop by mail, be sure to record the date, name and address of the company, merchandise ordered, and payment made in case you need to reach the company about the order.

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