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Feature Articles: Miscellaneous

Learning for Better Living


Buying By Mail

PDF file available in both English and Spanish


Buying by mail is an easy way for some people to shop. It saves time and energy, and sometimes money. But there are times when buying by mail does not make the buyer happy.

To avoid those problems, ask yourself a few simple questions before placing an order:

  • Is the item you want to buy described well in words, not just pictures? Is it really what you want?
  • After adding the handling and shipping charges to the regular price, is it still a good buy?
  • If not happy with it, can you return the item and get a refund?
  • Can you trust the company you are buying from?

Know your rights as a consumer when buying by mail

  • The seller must send the item as promised.
  • When no date is given, the item must be sent no later than 30 days. If not, the buyer may cancel the order and get a quick refund. Unfortunately, not all companies deliver what they advertise.

Protect yourself

  • Do not send cash when paying by mail! Send a check or money order.
  • Keep a copy of the advertisement, your order and payment receipt. And keep copies of all letters and statements between you and the seller.

If you have a problem, ask your local post office to help you. And contact your local or state consumer protection office.




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Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009