Shortages and shipping delays: KPRC 2 gets answers on a late dishwasher delivery

What are your rights regarding delayed merchandise orders?

HOUSTON – Whether you order something online for delivery or to pick it up in the store, most shoppers are shopping online to save time. But more and more it seems online orders are delayed, leaving customers waiting while the retailers are holding onto their money. Our KPRC 2 Consumer team is looking into your rights when this happens to you.

The federal mail, internet, or telephone order merchandise rule applies to most things you order by mail, online, or by phone. It gives you protection if the company never sends you what you purchased. But when Carrie Fetzer ordered from a well-established reputable company she didn’t think she would have a problem. Until she did.

Dishwasher delivery delayed for days

The stacks of dirty dishes in Carrie Fetzer’s kitchen are growing with each day Lowe’s delays delivery of the new dishwasher she ordered online. With four kids she wanted the dishwasher as soon as possible.

“The selling point was the delivery,” said Carrie. “Online it told me it was available. It was in stock and available to be delivered by tomorrow, which was last Sunday.”

Carrie ordered the dishwasher on Saturday, June 26th, with a promised delivery date of Sunday, June 27. But when the delivery guy showed up all he had was the power cord.

“I said, ‘Well, where’s the dishwasher?’ And he had no idea what I was talking about.”

And then it was on Carrie to figure out if and when her dishwasher would arrive.

“Over the course of 5 days, I’ve called them 16 times and been hung up on 9,” explains Carrie.

Until finally, Lowe’s canceled her order altogether saying it had no idea when the dishwasher would be available. This left Carrie having to start her search from scratch.

“And I also feel like they did a bait and switch, right? Captivated an audience. They got my purchase. They provided a delivery date, but didn’t fulfill the order,” said Carrie.

Rules about missing merchandise orders

The Federal Trade Commission says Lowe’s or any other company must do what they say they will do in the advertisement. If no time is listed, they must ship the item within 30 days of when you place your order. If there is a delay, the seller must tell you and give you the choice to agree to wait or cancel for a full refund. If the seller doesn’t ship your order, it has to give you a full refund - not just a gift card or store credit.

“Relaying incorrect information and continually lying is not acceptable,” said Carrie.

When we reached out to Lowe’s it delivered Carrie’s dishwasher within three days. It was still 11 days later than originally promised. When we asked Lowe’s what caused the mix-up no one answered the question.

We know there are shipping delays and supply shortages right now but there is no excuse for retailers to keep customers in the dark. If this happens to you and you can’t get a response, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online. Here is the link to the FTC complaint site.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.