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Q. I recently placed an order online at TheAwesomeStore.com, and I accidentally ended up with an order for two DVDs instead of one. The company notified me by email and I emailed back saying I made a mistake and only wanted one. I received only one in the mail, but was charged for two. I contacted the company by email about the error and have never been contacted back again. It's only about $25, but any help would be appreciated.
Leslie BaldwinA. Leslie, I started by taking your same approach -- I sent an email through the contact form on the site, because I couldn't find a phone number to reach out directly. I received a message back a few days later from someone named Greg Michaud, who apologized for the delay in communication. He said he thought he'd refunded your money, but he checked and found that you were correct. He assured me that he'd issue the refund the next morning and you'd receive it in two to three days.

Of course, as you know, that refund never went through. So I tracked down a number for the company and called and I was told that there was a change in ownership and that was the reason for the delayed refund. It was re-issued, in the amount of $57.48, and I know you've since received it. It seems they decided to refund you for the cost of both DVDs, even though you were satisfied with one -- perhaps for your trouble, which I thought was very nice.

However, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, a few tips when shopping online:
  • Look for a phone number. As a rule, don't order from websites that don't have a working number listed that puts you in touch with a real, live person who can answer your questions and handle your concerns. I'm not saying TheAwesomeStore.com isn't a legitimate company, but why not cover your bases just in case?
  • Notice red flags. Again, I'm not insinuating that TheAwesomeStore.com is doing anything wrong. But looking around the site, I noticed a few things that would stop me from ordering from it. Topping that list? I couldn't find anything about a privacy or security policy, so you aren't clear on how they're handling your personal information.
  • Do a search. I couldn't locate a record for this company using the Better Business Bureau's search tool, and a quick Google search didn't turn much up either. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -– it means I couldn't find any complaints -– but I like to deal with companies that are a little more well-known when I'm shopping online, just to be on the safe side.

Consumer Ally problem solver Jean Chatzky is the "Today Show" financial adviser, a longtime financial journalist and best-selling author.


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