Before you know it, your favorite retailers will welcome you with cheery holiday tunes. As a consumer ready to partake in the annual shopping frenzy that is Black Friday, you are fortunate to have some protections for your spending. There are two federal laws in place that work to guard your hard-earned income from fraudulent activities. Remember these names as you embark on your spending journey this holiday season.
The Mail, Internet, or Telephone Merchandise Rule
The Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise rule may be a mouthful, but it holds special protections for merchandise that you do not purchase in person. This rule requires sellers of merchandise that you order through the mail, online, or by phone, to ship your items within the specified time frame. For example, if they claim that your merchandise will ship in 5-7 business days, it must be done. If the seller does not advertise a specific period in which you are to expect your purchase, they must ship within thirty days. Should they need to delay shipping for any reason, sellers are required to receive your consent, or issue a refund.
The Fair Credit Billing Act
The vast majority of modern purchases are made on credit cards. Today, credit cards hold numerous protections to safeguard your personal information; however, security breaches still take place. Just recently, news of Equifax’s massive data breach spread like wildfire. Hackers compromised the very personal financial data of 143 million Americans. When a fraudulent charge appears on your credit statement, the Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the power to dispute the transaction and receive a refund, typically within 24 hours of reporting the incident.
Steps to Take After Being Scammed
If you suspect that certain purchases on your statement were not made by you or a member of your family, there are simple steps you can take to ensure you are properly compensated. The first thing you should do is notify the merchants of the suspicious charges. Usually, merchants try to resolve the issue in a hassle-free manner so as to keep their customers happy and increase the chance that you will continue to shop with them; however, some merchants may refuse to issue a full refund or try to remedy the problem some other way.
If the merchant does not comply with your request, you should contact your credit card company directly. The credit card you possess has strong protections in place and you will likely receive a refund to your account with little trouble. It is often enough to simply call the credit card company and claim that there is a fraudulent charge on your card. The representative will conduct a short investigation and correct the problem. If your card was lost or stolen, they will mail you a new card.
Stay safe this holiday season, and remember that there are laws protecting your activities as a responsible consumer. If you have legal concerns regarding your finances, attorneys at Sandelands-Eyet LLP can help. Call (908) 470-1200 to discuss your case or contact us online to set up a free consultation