Non-Delivery of Merchandise

Non-delivery of merchandise is a scheme most often linked to Internet auction fraud, in which a seller on an Internet auction website accepts payment for an item yet intentionally fails to ship it. Sellers like these sometimes will relist the item and attempt to sell it again through a different username.

Non-delivery of merchandise can also be considered a form of business fraud in a number of cases. For example, some web-based international companies advertise in the U.S. for affiliate opportunities, offering individuals the chance to sell high-end electronic items, such as plasma television sets and home theater systems, at significantly reduced prices. When these items sell and the funds are forwarded to the companies from their affiliates, the items fail to ship to the individuals who sold them and thus never make it to their respective buyers.

Tips for Avoiding Non-Delivery of Merchandise:

  • Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.
  • Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working.
  • Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.
  • Check out other websites regarding this person/company.
  • Don’t judge a person or company by their website; flashy websites can be set up quickly.
  • Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
  • Inquire about returns and warranties.
  • If possible, purchase items online using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
  • Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.
  • Consider using an alternate payment service.