New Law Will Protect On-line Consumers Who Have Purchases Shipped

Thomas P. Morahan

June 05, 2007

New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan announced that Governor Spitzer had signed into law legislation that will ensure that New Yorkers who buy merchandise on-line and have their purchases shipped will have the same protections as those who make purchase by mail or by phone.

"I want especially commend Senator Fuschillo, Chairman on the Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection for introducing this legislation, said Senator Morahan. "Consumers who make purchases online need assurances that the merchandise they buy arrives at their door in a reasonable amount of time."

In 2006, the New York State Office of Attorney General’s Internet Bureau received more than 1000 consumer complaints alleging failure to deliver goods ordered on-line or other improper conduct related to on-line purchases. The new law gives the Attorney General the power to stop businesses from performing such practices.

Specifically, the new law (S. 4964, Chapter 72) prohibits on-line businesses from:

- Advertising or accepting orders for merchandise that will not be available for shipment within thirty days, unless a longer period of time is conspicuously stated in advertisements, and

-Charging additional fees for expedited shipping when the seller does not reasonably expect the merchandise to be shipped within three business days of the date the order was placed.

The law also requires on-line businesses to:

-Display a legal business name and street address in all advertising materials that contain a post office box address,

-Describe the conditions under which a refund will be issued in all advertising materials, and

-Maintain records of complaints alleging failure to ship merchandise.

The new law takes effect immediately.