Category : Databases and related files
Archive   : GUIDE75.ZIP
Filename : MAILORD.TUT

 
Output of file : MAILORD.TUT contained in archive : GUIDE75.ZIP
#help.tut Extra help for tutorials
#define.sta On line legal dictionary
#mailord.sta Federal Trade Commission regulations on mail order selling
TUTORIAL ON FEDERAL REGULATIONS REGARDING MAIL-ORDER

The Federal Trade Commission has promulgated a (thankfully!)
detailed and concise series of regulations regarding mail order
business to customers in general (NOT JUST CONSUMERS!). Here are
your rights:

The most important right is that you must have goods that you
order by mail shipped to you by definite dates, or you are
entitled to a refund. These regulations require that you receive
shipment of the

3. The "first date" is the date that you ARRANGE (not do, but
start to do) for advertising for the product, for mailing out
solicitations or to print catalogs or brochures. At that time YOU
MUST either: be able to ship in thirty days from when you could
first get an order, OR, specify conspicuously in the ad the good
faith time for delivery. If you don't have product in hand YOU
MUST be able, should there be complaints, to show, by documentary
evidence, that there was a "reasonable basis" for believing that
the product will be ready in the time frame that you promised, or
thirty days, if you don't state a time. If the time is over 30
days the delayed delivery time must be CONSPICUOUSLY stated.
There are a number of definitions in the administrative
regulation, but, the term "conspicuous" isn't defined. Generally,
"CONSPICUOUS" means in a larger typeface than the rest of the ad,
in italics, or in capitals. The regulation requires that if there
is going to be some time between orders and shipping that is over
30 days, that the consumer have fair warning- Read and heed!

4. Once an order is "received" the time clock begins for
delivery. "Received" is defined when the proper information has
been received and payment (even partial) is in your hands. Yes,
you can wait for the check to clear, but, the regulations still
require that you ship within 30 days or the time promised. [Our
forms take care of that problem by stating a longer delivery time
for uncertified check orders.] On credit sales, the clock runs
when you bill the order to the person's account. Again, you can't
wait for approval before the 30 days starts. In the case of a bad
check or credit disapproval, you get a total of thirty days (or
promised delivery time) from when the check is made good.
Explaining this in raw text is a bit tedious, so let's try an
example:

Your ad mentions no time for delivery. Consequently you must
ship within thirty days. On an order with a check, you
still only have 30 days, but, if you get notice that the
check has bounced, then you have until the 30th day after
the check is made good to ship. So, on an order that you hear
nothing, you must ship within 30 days. You only get more time
once you know that the check is bad. This clearly means that
if you get the check back after you have shipped (or after the
30th day), you've shipped on a bad check. Of course, it should
never take that long for a check to bounce.

By the way, the shipping date is when you hand the package
to the delivery service.

5. If you don't ship on time you have a variety of legal
obligations. As soon as you know you cannot meet your shipping
date, but in no case after the time for shipping passes, YOU MUST
NOTIFY the customer, in writing by first class mail, of their
rights which are listed below. In addition, you must either give
a good faith new shipping date, or a statement that the shipping
time is not known. Here are your customer's right on the first
delay:

a) to cancel and get a refund;

b) to consent to a delay, if a specific date is stated for
shipment;

c) YOU MUST ENCLOSE A post paid envelope for a reply;

d) you must explain the reasons for the delay. If you do not
explain the reasons for the delay you must specify that you are
"unable to make any representation concerning the length of the
delay," and the orders are deemed canceled.

5. On delayed shipment where you have given a good faith shipping
date that is not later than 60 total days from the order, the
customer can get his money back by asking for it, and it must be
repaid. The FTC, Postal Inspectors and other nasty regulators
will not like it if this isn't obeyed! However, the customer is
deemed to have consented and you need not start writing refund
checks. Just be sure to ship on time! The consequences of a
second delay are explained in paragraph 8.

6. On delayed shipments where you have given a date that is
longer than 60 total days from the date of the first order, or an
indefinite date, then you must notify the customer that their
order is DEEMED canceled, and unless you get a written agreement
from them within 7 days consenting to the delay, you must pay
them back within the time limits explained in paragraph 10.

7. On a second failure to ship, then you must inform the buyer of
other rights. These are:

1) The order is deemed canceled unless prior to the 60th. day a
buyer agrees specifically in writing to consent to the delay;

2) The buyer can cancel anytime prior to shipment, even if they
have agreed to a delay.

8. If you revise again, you must notify again, the buyer of the
right to cancel per paragraph 7. This notification, like the
others must be made as soon as you are aware of the delay or
before the time to ship has expired. Again, you must explain the
reasons for the delay, or state that you can make no
representations at all.

9. If at any time you have failed to offer IN GOOD FAITH a
reason, or, you specify an uncertain time for delivery then the
orders are deemed canceled, and refunds must go out to all of
those not specifically notifying you they agree to the delay.
And, as previously mentioned, the buyer can still cancel, even if
they've agreed to consent to the delay until you actually ship.

10. If a refund is required or requested, on cash or check sales,
the refund must be made in seven business days from the date of
the right to get a refund, and by first class mail. If it is on a
third party credit plan (bank plastic) then you must see that the
refund is made within one billing cycle. On your own credit plan
(for both of you that have one) then the refund notice is subject
to the seven day/first class mail rule.

11. All the forms you'll ever need are available from the forms
menu.

12. Can you say "vaporware." Sure, I knew you could. This story
is called, "How to get fined by the F.T.C., and possibly be put
out of business and put in jail in three easy steps." Parental
discretion is advised.

Verity Applied Public Occidental Region Software company,
known within the trade as "VAPOR COMPANY" sells mail-order.
And, they really believe that their new pro wrestling
handicapper (for all of the people who bet on pro wrestling)
will be ready in 45 days. So, their ads state "PLEASE ALLOW
45 DAYS SHIPPING." They find out that the algorithm is
mysteriously deficient in picking winners in the "Mixed
Singles" matches. So, they contract out writing
this part of the code to their good friend, DILATORY
UNLIMITED DYNAMICS ("DUD") software. Due to advance orders
running way ahead of expectations and just as much due to
the persistently cash short position of VAPOR, VAPOR
goes ahead and gives $ 10,000.00 of customer's money to
DUD. Not having read this homily, they notify all customers
of a delay in shipping of 20 days. However, the bad fairy
visits DUD and the project is finished in the next year.
And where is the money going to come from to pay out all
of the refunds? If it isn't paid, the F.T.C. could certainly
find VAPOR guilty of all sorts of violations of law and
regulations. The regulations don't care that it is out
of your control- if you go over the deadlines listed above
then the customers get their refunds within seven business
days unless they agree to the delays. Of course, it gets
expensive to pay out all that money for post paid envelopes.

A RECIPE FOR BAD MEDICINE is to not have the money to pay out in
refunds if an act of God or whatever holds up your shipping. If
you are dealing with product to be produced, I strongly recommend
that you keep in escrow (and don't commingle) the funds needed to
insure refunds. But, I will visit anyone who gets caught short in
either the poor house or jail.... Yes, "white collar" crime isn't
usually interesting to public prosecutors, but every once in a
while someone gets prosecuted.

13. The regulations state that you can ask for, or advertise
under a "no delivery date promiseable" program. Needless to say,
it's going to be hard to convince someone to buy when you must
clearly and conspicuously tell them NO PROMISES ON DELIVERY TIME,
and in effect, give them an option to cancel at any time.

14. For those of you that have graphics adapters, I have prepared
a small flowchart showing the requirements. It is probably easier
to follow than this text.

ACTION ITEMS:

**** Check any ads that involve mail order and be sure that a
shipping date is specified for orders, unless you can ship within
thirty days. This is a top action item.

**** Watch delivery times! If you have any hint of delays, send
out notice. Notices are available from the forms menu. This is a
top action item if you're getting close to the deadline to ship.

**** Consider any money paid for product to be delivered to be a
"deposit" potentially subject to refund. Keep it in escrow, or
insure that you have sufficient cash reserves to pay it back.


  3 Responses to “Category : Databases and related files
Archive   : GUIDE75.ZIP
Filename : MAILORD.TUT

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

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