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Shopping online? Here’s what to do when things go wrong

Ever had a bad online shopping experience? Maybe you ordered one thing but got another. Or that new company never shipped your order, despite charging you. So, what do you do?

If you can relate, you’re not alone. In 2022, online shopping scams were the second-most reported type of scam to the FTC. The good news is you have rights, and there are steps you can take.

If something didn't arrive or you didn't accept it, and now the company won't refund your money, dispute the charges. If products show up that you never ordered, you don’t have to pay for them. Federal law protects you.

To try to stay ahead of these problems, if you haven’t shopped with a company before, start by searching online for the company’s name, plus words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people are saying.

And no matter where you shop online, remember:

  • Check refund and return policies. Sellers often have different (and stricter) refund and return policies for sale items, and dishonest sellers will use tricky disclosures and fine print to deny refund requests.
  • Use a credit card for online purchases, if possible. Credit cards offer the most protection against fraud compared to other types of payments including the right to dispute charges if there are problems with your purchase.
  • Always save your receipts and confirmation emails. If something goes wrong, these can help you get your money back from the seller or file a dispute with your credit card company.

Learn more about online shopping. Or if you want to learn more about last year’s top scams, visit


And if you suspect a scam, report it to the FTC at