🎶 You better watch out
You better not lie
About shipping times
I’m telling you whyBuyer lawsuits are coming to town 🎶
The holidays are upon us, and Black Friday sales have already kicked off as companies anticipate shipping delays due to current supply chain issues. As such, some companies, such as Disney, will not be offering rush shipping at all this holiday season. Walmart has gone so far as to charter its own cargo ships to various ports throughout the country to ensure goods make it to consumers on time. Product distributors may want to implement similar policies and tactics through year-end to avoid be gifted lawsuits in their stockings for failure to timely ship to consumers pursuant to state and federal laws.
Case in point, Kanye West (or “Ye” as the billionaire is going by these days) recently saw his companies Yeezy Apparel LLC and Yeezy LLC slapped with a lawsuit in California alleging “unlawful business practices and false advertising by failing to ship items in a timely manner.” According to the complaint, Yeezy “repeatedly violated” state law by (1) failing to ship items within thirty days; (2) failing to provide adequate notice of shipping delays to California consumers; and (3) failing to offer and provide refunds to those consumers whose goods were not shipped within the requisite 30-day time frame. Moreover, the complaint goes on to contend that Yeezy made misleading statements by posting two-to-seven-day shipping estimates on its websites; and, most egregiously, charged consumers additional fees for expedited shipping. Yeezy will pay $950,000 to settle the claims which includes $50,000 in restitution, $100,0000 for investigative costs, and $800,000 in civil penalties.
The 30-day shipping requirement that Yeezy ran afoul of is not unique to California. Many states have similar laws, and the Federal Trade Commission requires sellers who solicit buyers to order merchandise through the mail, via the Internet, or by phone to have a reasonable basis to expect that the sellers can ship within the advertised time frame, or, if no time frame is specified, within 30 days. The rule also requires that, when a seller cannot ship within the promised time, the seller must obtain the buyer’s consent to a delay in shipping or refund payment for the unshipped merchandise.
To ensure a happy holiday for all parties involved, product distributors must be transparent about shipping times (and delays) and offer consumers the right to cancel and receive a refund for product that does not ship within 30 days. Contact and attorney familiar with FTC regulations if you need help drafting or reviewing consumer policies and website ordering terms.