The Federal Trade Commission Mail Order Rule, applicable to items ordered by phone, fax, mail, television, or computer, states that a company must ship your order within the time limits it advertises. If no limit is advertised, the company must ship within 30 days after it receives your order, unless the company contacts you and you agree to a delay.

If you apply for credit to pay for the purchase (opening or extending a line of credit with the company), the time limit for shipping is extended to 50 days. This limit is not applicable to C.O.D. (cash-on-delivery) orders or orders for which your account is not charged until the order is shipped, or for orders for seeds and plants, photo-finishing, or magazine subscriptions (other than the first issue). Note that there is no rule that provides you cannot be charged for goods as soon as you order them, even if they will not be shipped right away.

Unsolicited Merchandise

In Massachusetts, you are entitled to keep, without further obligation, merchandise delivered to you which you did not order. This rule applies whether the merchandise was mailed to you, or delivered by some other method.