0

I live in Washington. I ordered a replacement part for my dishwasher from a company based out of Florida. When I selected the product on their website and entered my zipcode, I was told that it would ship from a warehouse in Oregon and arrive in 1 day. When the product actually shipped, I saw that it was coming out of a warehouse in New York, and it would take a full week to reach me! When I reached out to customer service, they said, "yeah, it happens, deal with it." The company ships through FedEx, and they're blaming the delay on FedEx.

I understand that mistakes can happen, or that someone else might have purchased the last one in their Oregon warehouse before I could, but when I checked their website again, it still showed that they can ship it to me from Oregon and get to me within one day. This seems like false or misleading advertisement, since they're not reporting the correct origin city, and they have clear evidence that the product will take much longer than a day to ship to me.

Do I have a case to lodge a complaint against this company with a regulatory organization? If yes, would I lodge that complaint in Florida, Washington, or at the federal level since this is a transaction across state lines?

1

False advertising is illegal in both Washington and Florida. In-state cases can be weakly addressed in Washington by the state AG where you can file a complaint, but they don't litigate individual cases. In theory, the AG could launch a class action suit against the vendor (in or out of state) on behalf the the state if there's a wide-spread problem. Florida's AG provides similar options to file a complaint, and again they don't act as your attorney in a lawsuit, but they can talk nicely to the company. Only your attorney can act as your attorney in a lawsuit. Then finally, the Lanham Act covers false advertising in interstate commerce. The FTC may handle such cases, though finding out how to file a complaint may require a lawyer, or you can follow this link which seems to be where the "report" options lead to.

The basic legal question is whether you can prove that the vendor knowingly lied about shipping time. You would have to prove that they knew for a fact that the item would actually ship from NY and not Oregon. There is a difference between knowing that a claim is plainly false, and knowing that things might not work out as planned, and without documentary evidence of intentional deception, it is likely that the case would be dismissed. You can file a lawsuit in Florida (you don't have to live there).

1
  • I would point out that the legal question would be addressed in the discovery phase of the suit, where you and your lawyers can subpena a broad range of possible evidence (Under U.S. Law, you need not know that evidence exists in the material subpenaed to prove your case, but rather only prove evidence COULD exist in the material. It's a key that opens lots of doors to the public and is why many companies will settle if it goes to this phase... there might not be damning evidence in their email records for your case... but it can be damning for other reasons).
    – hszmv
    Nov 13 '20 at 18:20
0

Though you would likely want to get a lawyer to advise you on the best jurisidiction to file in, I would say that advise would be that this shouldould be a filing in Washington courts/regulatory agencies as you the incident of alledge wrong took place entirely in Washington. The company, by dint of the fact they ship to Washington and advertised through a computer (yours) to a consumer (you) in Washington is subject to Washington laws on the matter, whether or not they have a physical pressence in Washington.

You'll want to have some copy of the original shipping statement the company promised, but the case of false advertisement is likely valid as but for the promise of single day shipping from a location relatively close to you, you would not have bought from that company and now they are not offering a correction to their error in any meaningful way. You should also have evidence of the continued promise despite the flaw and show that this was after they were notified.

The quickest resolution is to file a complaint with the local Better Buisness Beura (BBB) which is a non-profit that offers abitration in disputes between customers and buisness and grades a Buisness basesd on how many disputes they resolve among other points in the interest of market trust. They are not a government or regulatory agency so keep that in mind. BBB scores are very imporatant when doing reserch into buisnesses so there is a tendency to agree to abitration if only to avoid getting a low rating.

As there is a potentail legal matter, it might be prudent to file a lawsuit instead (part of Arbitration is that win or lose, you cannot bring the matter to a lawsuit UNLESS they breech the arbitration agreement.). And this may be a lengthy process though in the U.S. most suits filed and not dismmised by the judge do not make it past the discovery phase and are settled out of court.

Ultimatley, it matters as to how much it is worth to you as lawsuits are very expensive (and large companies try to bury you in challenges to dismiss that will cause you to pay higher legal fees upfront, which can be recovered if you win but that can take years).

The cheapest way by far is to just eat the loss on the part and leave a scathing review on their website for all future customers to read.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.