How to Back Out of an Online Purchase
Online shopping is probably a big part of your life. However, sometimes you might purchase items you don’t need or want. Online retailers or auction sites, however, might make it difficult for you to back out of the purchase. Fortunately, by quickly canceling the purchase and communicating with the seller, you may be able to back out of the purchase.
Canceling Your Purchase on a Retail Website
Cancel online immediately.Quickly navigate to the website. Then find the Manage Orders or Customer Service tab. In this section, you’ll be able to navigate to a list of your online purchases. Look for the specific purchase and cancel it. Remember, though, the quicker you cancel, the better your chances of not having to pay anything.
- Some websites will require you to send a message to a customer service representative before they confirm cancellation. Be succinct and direct when you send your message.
Call customer service.If you’re unable to cancel the purchase online, you’ll have to call customer service. When you speak to customer service, provide them with your order number and tell them you want to cancel it. They may be able to cancel immediately.
- The customer service number is usually found under “contact” information toward the bottom of the website.
- Be very polite. For example, say “please” and “thank you.”
- If they say they can’t cancel the order, ask to speak with a supervisor.
Give a valid, specific reason.Many companies will not let you cancel a purchase freely if you just changed your mind about a product. Thus, you need to provide a legitimate reason for why you no longer want the product. Some reasons may include:
- The ad listing misrepresents the product.
- You found a cheaper price.
- The product is damaged or is not the exact product you ordered.
Write down the transaction or cancellation ID number.If you are able to cancel your order, write down the confirmation number that the website or customer service representative gives you. This way, if there is an issue with the order in the future, you'll be able to reference your cancellation.
Verify you received a refund.After your order is cancelled, you should receive a refund. This may take a few days, so you’ll have to check your bank account or credit card statement regularly. Remember:
- Under (United States) law, if you paid with a debit card, cash, or check, your money must be refunded within seven work days. If you purchased with a credit card, your money must be refunded within a billing cycle.
Withdrawing from a Winning Auction Bid
Retract your bid.Under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to back out of a winning auction bid without penalty. Retracting your bid may be as simple as hitting “cancel” or “rescind bid.” There are, however, other cases in which an online auction site may allow you to back out of a purchase, they include:
- The seller materially changed the advertisement of the product.
- The seller misrepresented the product.
- You entered the wrong amount for your bid. This should be obvious. For instance, if the last bid was 0 and your winning bid was ,000.
Speak with a representative of the auction site.If you’re unable to retract your winning bid online, you should call the auction site directly. Inform them that you’d like to cancel your bid and cancel the purchase.
- Scroll down to the "contact" tab on the webpage. It may be located toward the bottom of the page.
- If you have a long history of using the online auction site, let them know you are a loyal customer.
- Offer to pay a cancellation fee.
- Be polite. Say things like “please” and “thank you.”
Contact the seller by email.If the auction site is unwilling or unable to cancel the bid, you may need to contact the seller of the product directly. Although they are under no obligation to let you out of the sale, the person might be willing to cancel the purchase and relist their item.
- They may want you to pay any fees associated with them relisting their item.
- The seller may let you out of the sale if they think there weren't enough bidders and the price of their item did not go high enough. In addition, they could also profit if you volunteer to pay them for the trouble of relisting the item.
Knowing Your Rights
Read the company’s cancellation policy.Most companies will post their cancellation policy or a link to it on the order page. As a result, before you cancel, you should read the cancellation policy.
- Some companies require you to cancel an order within 30 minutes or an hour of placing it.
- Some companies may allow you 24 hours to cancel an order.
- Many companies will not allow you to cancel an order after it has shipped.
Pay a cancelation fee.The company’s cancellation policy may stipulate that you must pay a cancellation fee. This fee is usually a flat rate, although it may be a percentage of the overall sale.
- In the case that a product has already shipped, you may need to pay a fee and shipping cost of the product.
Talk to your credit card company.If you used a credit card to make the purchase, you may simply be able to call them and cancel the purchase. Ultimately, this depends on the specific credit card company and their policies. For instance:
- American Express has a very customer-oriented policy and will typically cancel a purchase at their cardholder’s request.
- Most Visa, MasterCard, and Discover cards may not cancel a purchase unless it was somehow fraudulent.
QuestionI ordered some vitamins online. I meant to order just the free trial, but I must have accidentally ticked a box for more. They have charged me far more than the price of postage with the free trial. I sent a few emails to the company explaining that I did not mean to order so much, but I have not received any replies. How can I stop money from being taken out of my account?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could block the credit card or debit card that you fed into the site, or you could call your bank directly and let them know that you do not want to authorize this payment.Thanks!
QuestionI placed an order for an item online. It is on back order, and my credit card has not been charged yet. Now I don't need the item after all, but they have not yet agreed to cancel the purchase. Can I prevent them from charging me for the order?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou have to go through the company's customer service and ask them to cancel the order. Most companies should be able to do it at this stage. Otherwise, you might be able to have your credit card issuer block the purchase, but that usually costs a fee and is probably not worth it. At worst, you will just have to wait to receive and then return the item.Thanks!
QuestionI cancelled an online order less than 30 minutes after I placed it. The company sent me the item anyway! Now they want me to pay for return shipping and a restocking fee. They say they never got the cancellation. What's the best way of disputing the company return policy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI found a great article about this online. I Googled "Is it illegal to keep things sent to me in error". You can keep things sent to you in error. Do you have your cancellation confirmation?Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the website was a scam and I find out after I ordered?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCall the police and/or contact the consumer affairs bureau/office in your area. You probably won't get your money back but at least others can be warned off.Thanks!
How can I cancel an accidental purchase with an online company?
Can I purchase an item again by credit card after I cancelled the same order a day before? Will I have extra charges?
When you cancel a transaction before you receive the item, can they still keep your state taxes that you paid?
I accepted an online bid and 10 hrs later I contact the seller via email. She agreed to cancel my bid and notify the website. Two days later I was notified she sent my item. Does her previous response release my from my purchase?
I ordered something and I want to cancel my order but they do not answer my calls nor emails. What should I do if I am afraid this is a scam?
Video: Kick It Out, Bring It Back: Online Shopping
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