Internet shopping has become a daily part of American life. Once a niche market only utilized for unique, bespoke or long-distance purchases, online shopping now plays a role in everything from vehicle sales to groceries.
Maybe you started a business offering handmade products and after an explosion in interest, you just can’t keep up with the demand. Small artisan companies overwhelmed with products that go viral have in the past had to delay order fulfillment by months or even years.
Maybe shipping costs or material expenses went up, and you no longer feel like you can honor the price promised on your website. If you don’t ship the orders people place with you online, whether you have your own website or use a third-party marketplace, you might eventually find yourself facing accusations of online fraud.
Customers are no longer as passive as they once were about online shopping
Not that long ago, people seemed to just accept that the occasional unfulfilled order was the inevitable consequence of buying items online. However, between credit card companies offering zero consumer accountability for fraudulent online purchases and more mainstream retailers getting into online sales, customers now expect to receive what they order and quickly.
Unfilled orders will likely result in claims to digital payment provider companies or chargebacks through credit cards. If the customer can’t retrieve their money, then they might consider initiating a complaint against you or your business. That complaint could eventually snowball into a criminal case.
How do you defend against claims of online fraud?
The good thing about engaging in digital commerce is that there will usually be a very convincing record of all transactions and communications.
You might be able to defend yourself against claims by showing that you communicated about delays, offered refunds or ask customers for the difference between the original price and the current price based on shipping costs and other factors. Tracking numbers that show that you shipped items were other fulfillment records had also help you fight back against those allegations against your company.
You should not ignore complaints or investigations relating to unshipped online orders. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing fraud charges, possibly in federal court.