FTC warns e-tailers about on-time holiday delivery

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The Federal Trade Commission Nov. 17 issued warnings to more than 100 e-tailers about making promises about holiday deliveries they cannot fulfill. During last year's holiday shopping season, ToysRUs.com and KBKids.com were two of seven e-tailers slapped that drew $1.5 million in penalties by the agency for failing to give consumers adequate notification about delays and promising deliveries by dates that were impossible to meet. "Last holiday season, many Internet sellers aggressively competed by making very quick shipment claims, from overnight to 48 or 72 hours," the FTC said in a statement. "Unfortunately, some sellers were unable to meet those shipment claims, resulting in disappointed customers." While recently searching more than 200 Internet retailers' promises for holiday delivery, the FTC said it found almost 100 e-tailers making claims that in-stock items were shipped within 24 to 48 hours of an order being placed. Those assurances send "a powerful message to consumers rushing to fill their holiday shopping list," the FTC said. The agency said it is sending letters to more than 100 e-tailers spelling out regulations to ensure they are aware of and comply with the rules. However, the FTC declined to identify the companies receiving a warning letter.

Copyright November 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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