A lot of us sell our jewelry from websites, so its important to know the US guidelines for mail order.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers an on-line guide.
According to the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that a product can be shipped within a certain time. If your ad doesn't include a shipping statement, you must have a reasonable basis to believe you can ship within 30 days.
If you can't ship when promised, you must notify the customer of the delay and the right to cancel. For definite delays of up to 30 days, you may treat the customer's silence as agreement to the delay. For longer or indefinite delays, and second and subsequent delays, you must get the customer's consent. If you don't, you must promptly refund all the money the customer paid you without being asked.
You can give updated shipping information over the phone if your Internet ad prompts customers to call to place an order. This information may differ from what you said or implied about the shipping time in your ad. The updated phone information supersedes any shipping representation made in your ad, but you still must have a reasonable basis for the update.
The guide explains possible penalties for non-compliance:
Merchants who violate the Rule can be sued by the FTC for injunctive relief, monetary civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation (any time during the five years preceding the filing of the complaint), and consumer redress (any time during the three years preceding the filing of the complaint). When the mails are involved, the Postal Service also has authority to take action for problems such as non-delivery. State law enforcement agencies can take action for violating state consumer protection laws.
So, I have some more "light" reading for yo all to do. Visit the bureau's web site about complying with the FTC’s Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule it just might save you some grief and $$.
Until later, have fun claying around!
by Janet Alexander
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