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Mail Orders

Avoiding Problems with Mail Order Companies
Each year more catalogues find their way into the home.  Each year more and more of us will shop through mail order catalogues.  The widespread use of "800" telephone numbers makes catalogue purchases a convenient way to shop.  Although most mail order companies are legitimate, some are not.  The following are a few tips to help make your order buying as pleasant as it is convenient.
  • Beware of offers that seem too good to be true.   Be suspicious of prices that seem unrealistically low.  Beware of exaggerated claims.  If it sounds like an unbelievable deal, there is a good chance that something is wrong.
  • Don’t rely entirely on pictures.   Read the descriptions carefully so that you can avoid receiving something that you were not expecting.
  • Find out if there are satisfaction guarantees.  Also, find out who pays the return postage if you are not satisfied.
  • Inquire about delivery time and method.  Delivery can range from overnight to several weeks.  Find out the delivery time frame and the method of shipping.
  • Keep a record of your order.  For orders placed over the telephone, write down company name, address, telephone number, total cost, date of order and name of person taking the order.  If ordering by mail, make a copy of the order form.
  • Be sure to clearly indicate your name and address on the order.  If it is a gift, be sure to include the address where it is to be delivered.  This will help to ensure the safe and prompt arrival of your order.
  • Keep a copy of the advertisement or catalogue containing the description, price and item numbers of the merchandise that you ordered.
  • Never send cash through the mail.  Pay by check or money order and be sure to include enough to cover shipping or handling charges.  Failure to include all charges may delay the shipment of your order.
  • Check your order as soon as you receive it.  Make sure it is what you ordered and that it has not been damage in transit.   Notify the company immediately if you are not satisfied.
Know you rights.  A mail order company must ship goods within 30 days of receipt of payment, unless they give you the option to either cancel the sale and receive a full refund or to extend the shipping date.  Any refund must be mailed or delivered to you within 30 days after the company receives written notification of your intention to cancel the order.  If your order was billed to a credit card, the company has one billing cycle to notify the credit card provider to credit your account.

For additional information, visit the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General at:  postalinspectors.uspis.gov.


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consumerprotection@utah.gov  |  160 East 300 South   Salt Lake City, Utah 84111  |  Phone: 801-530-6601  |  Toll-Free: 1-800-721-SAFE  |  Fax: 801-530-6001
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