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Non-delivery of goods and refusal of refund

Discussion in 'Consumer Law, Contracts, Warranties' started by Prajwal G S, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. Prajwal G S

    Prajwal G S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Florida
    I placed an online order from a supermarket for an amount of 72.95 dollars on January 6th, 2020. The delivery kept getting delayed despite repeated follow-ups because of COVID. On March 3rd, 2020, the merchant suggested that I could cancel my order and get a refund. I asked them to go ahead with the cancellation

    On April 1st, 2020, I received an email from them stating that the order has been cancelled and the refund has been processed. Since I did not receive any refund, I contacted them immediately on Facebook messenger on April 1st and on April 9th informing about the same.

    There was no response from the merchant, I repeatedly followed up after that over text messages and over Facebook messenger (to which they responded) and sent them my Wells Fargo Transaction history showing that I have not received a refund. They kept ignoring my messages until I said that I might have to take the legal route if I don't receive a response. They then responded saying that they've processed the refund on their end and told me to raise a dispute with Wells Fargo. They could not provide me with any ID for the refund transaction. I raised a dispute with VISA and Wells Fargo and was told that if there is no refund transaction appearing on my transaction history then I would have to take it up with the merchant. Wells Fargo Claims Resolution confirmed that the original payment transaction was processed without any error.

    Despite saying that they'll process the refund in a so-and-so time frame on multiple occasions, the merchant never actually did so. As of now, they have completely stopped responding to me regarding this issue.

    I contacted a couple of attorneys with no response. I have a feeling that attorneys might not be interested in taking a consumer case as small as this.

    Also, I was wondering what would happen if an attorney costs higher than the refund amount I'm trying to claim from the merchant (72 USD) ?
    Wouldn't it be counterproductive to hire legal services in that case?
    If so, wouldn't that give retail sellers a free pass to cheat customers on small amounts of money? Like as long as it's below so-and-so amount it's alright if they don't deliver the goods the consumer paid for.

    This particular retailer has the audacity to just completely cut off communication so that I'll just let it go. I'm sure there must be some way to approach these kinds of situations in the system that I'm not aware of. I'm clueless as to what that would be.

    Could anyone please point me in the right direction? Thank you. (The retailer is based in Austin Texas)
    (Sorry for the long post)
     
  2. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    Which payment method did you use? A bank account from Wells Fargo? A Visa issued by Wells Fargo? If it is a Visa then they should refund your money if you tell them you never received the goods. Your correct... no lawyer is going to take this case.
     
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  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can pursue the matter YOURSELF using your state's small claims court process.

    The only added costs would be the small claims filing and process serving fees, which you can seek along with the $80 already in dispute.

    Good luck.
     
    Prajwal G S likes this.
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ummm...COVID wasn't really a thing in January 2020 (yes, I know it existed then, but nothing was yet shut down or any of that stuff).

    I'm sure that's true, and it would be absurd for you to hire an attorney over a $73 dispute.

    I don't really understand the question, and there's no "if" about it.

    Yes.

    No.

    But your post is tagged as relating to Florida. Assuming that means you're in Florida, did you really order groceries from a supermarket in Texas?

    Yeah...move on with your life. You didn't say what you ordered or how long delivery was supposed to take or whether you used a debit or credit card, but when you hadn't received what you ordered by the time the charge showed up on your monthly statement, you probably should have disputed the charge with your card issuer. Typically, you have 60 days from the date of the statement on which the charge appears. While the relevant statute of limitations hasn't expired, it's too late to avail yourself of remedies with your card issuer and, as you noted, suing isn't a practical option. Lesson learned; cost: $72.95.
     
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  5. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    A credit card purchase can be disputed with the credit card issuer in this kind of circumstance, but to get the benefit of the protection offered by federal law the dispute has to be in writing and submitted within 60 days of receiving the bill where the charge first appeared. Moreover, in most cases the merchant must be in your home state or within 100 miles of your billing address. See the FTC page on Disputing Credit Card Charges. You don't get the same protection with debit cards. Unfortunately the OP has now (1) waited too long, since the purchase was made more than a year ago, and (2) the merchant is outside the OP's state and more than 100 miles away. Thus, the credit card issuer at this point is not obligated under federal law to reverse the charge in this instance.
     
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  6. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. If the merchant was local you could sue in small claims court for the refund. But since the seller in this instance is in Austin and you are in Florida it would cost you significantly more than what's at issue here to sue for the refund.
     
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  7. Prajwal G S

    Prajwal G S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    True! The retailer kept delaying shipping saying they'd definitely be doing it the following week. COVID was the reason they gave me.
    That's what I thought.
    Yes, I Iive in Florida. The order was from an Indian Supermarket that ships everywhere for a particular variety of rice (4 bags) I could not find around where I live. They are big on online order deliveries. I left out the details of the order since I thought it wouldn't matter for the question.

    As for the the other details : I used a debit card for payment. As you can see from the timeline I've shared, the merchant "issued" a refund more than 60 days after the order (April 1st). And I didn't dispute the transaction during that period since I was told that they had an issue with shipments from India and will definitely have it shipped the following week.


    Lesson learned for sure! If there's a delay in the future, I'd definitely dispute the charge and get my money back. Is there nothing I can do to rectify the situation though? Other than just moving on
     
  8. Prajwal G S

    Prajwal G S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yeah. I understand the situation I've put myself in. Should've responded appropriately in the first 60 days. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. Prajwal G S

    Prajwal G S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you! The seller not being in my home state might be a problem though (as others have suggested)
     
  10. Prajwal G S

    Prajwal G S Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay. No point in suing then. Is there any other way to get the seller to respond to me or to make them issue the refund correctly? I'm an international student here and 80 dollars is not something I can let go of that easily.
    My university does have free legal services for students (well, technically, we've paid for it with our tuition). But, apparently they only take consumer cases of 200 dollars or above.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    There are review sites like Yelp, YP, and Google. Those are helpful when you are dealing with local businesses. Can't say if they would be for an out-of-state business.

    There is also the Rip Off Report:

    Scams, reviews, complaints, lawsuits and frauds. File a report, post your review. Consumers educating consumers.

    And you might be able to find the email addresses of the owners of the business (or help) at the Elliott Advocacy:

    Elliott Advocacy - Here to help
     
  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    That depends. You can sue in Texas. You'll spend probably 10x the amount in question in travel costs, and you won't be able to recover those costs.

    Is there anything financially practical that you can do (beyond leaving a negative review online)? No.
     

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