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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Purchasing PCs and Components | Vendor and Order Problems and Solutions | Common Vendor and Order Problems ]

Lost or Late Shipments

If you order by mail order or online often enough, you will eventually run into a case where the item does not arrive when it is supposed to. Sometimes this is the fault of the vendor and sometimes the fault of the delivery company. Assuming that you know when the item is supposed to ship and approximately how long it will take to deliver, you know roughly when the item is supposed to show up at your address. If it doesn't show up within a day or two of that time, you should suspect that something has gone wrong.

If a shipment appears to be lost, the first thing you must do is determine if the item was actually in fact sent! Companies that don't care much about their customers may delay sending items without informing you. Contact the company and ask for the status of the order. If they say it has been sent, ask for a tracking number for the package. All the major delivery services put tracking numbers on each package as it enters their delivery system. You should be able to use that number to determine where the package is. If the company can't give you a tracking number, then they probably never sent the package at all.

If the package has indeed been sent and didn't show up, then it may well be lost. The resolution of this should be simple: the vendor should replace it, promptly. They are responsible for getting the item to you; it is not your fault if the item never shows up. If they want to take the matter up with the delivery company, let them, but not at your expense.

Note: A game that some smaller vendors play is to try to charge extra for "insurance" on products they send out. You'll sometimes see them try to scare their customers by saying that if the customer doesn't shell out several extra dollars for "insurance", the customer will be responsible if the item is lost. What a load of bull! If you get the money to them, they are responsible for getting the product to you. If they feel the need to take out insurance on their packages, let them pay for it, or better yet, find a more reliable method of delivery. In fact, most companies don't take out insurance on packages because lost items are so uncommon.

It's rare that a company will refuse to deal with a lost package by replacing the item. If it does happen, what it boils down to is that you have paid money and received nothing for it, which looks too much like fraud for the comfort of any reputable vendor. See this section for assistance in dealing with the issue.

Tip: If you paid for guaranteed air delivery and the item arrives late, the company can get a credit for the shipping charge issued by the courier service. That credit should be returned to you, since you are the one who paid for the service that wasn't delivered!

Next: Wrong Item Sent

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