Consumer Alert: Know your rights when ordering online

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Your consumer alert comes to us directly from the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. Five hundred thousand consumers are getting money in the mail from the FTC.

The agency is cutting $6.5 million in checks. That money comes compliments of online retailer Fashion Nova. Here’s a look at its website. Fashion Nova has customers across the globe, but if you’re going to sell to Americans, you have to play by the FTC’s mail, internet or telephone order merchandise rules.

Those rules say you, as a consumer, should expect the seller to ship to you within the advertised time frame. If there is no advertised time frame, the seller must ship within 30 days. Lastly, if there is a delay, either you, as the consumer, must agree to the delay or the seller must provide a refund.

But Fashion Nova wasn’t doing that. Instead, if there was a delay, they wouldn’t let customers cancel. And if they couldn’t fulfill the order, they’d give you a gift card, not a refund. That’s not all.

The FTC says they’d promise two-day shipping with their fingers crossed behind their backs. They knew there was no way you were getting that dress in two days. So more than 500,000 folks are getting a check for $12.60. Not much, but it’ll get your kid two 10-packs of tube socks at Walmart. If you think you should be getting a check Rust Consulting, Inc. at 1-866-483-0376.

I wanted to see if Fashion Nova’s customer service has improved after that hand slap by the FTC. I called their customer service number, 1 (800) 866-0286. I got a recorded message telling me they valued business and the recording told me to go to their customer support website.

And check this out. Let’s say you place an order, then change your mind before the order is shipped. Too bad. You can’t cancel.

And their return policy says you can return items quickly and easily. But you have to buy the return label. And in tiny print it says, you don’t get your money back. You get a gift card. And those crummy customer service policies are perfectly legal. But I thank Fashion Nova.It served as a lesson for all of us. When shopping online, read the return policies before buying those cute clothes in your cart.

And that’s your consumer alert.