Can a Retailer Collect payment for goods that you have not received?

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Feb 2, 2020
On Jan 10, 2019 I ordered a GE cook top from a Best Buy brick and mortar store. The item is out of stock until 2/14/2020. I purchased the item on Jan 10th and charged on my Best Buy Citibank Visa Card. Six days later I received a bill. I am in the habit of paying my bill in full so that I do not incur interest. However, I am at odds of what to do. I do not think that I should have to pay for something that is not in stock, is not a custom order and I do not know have in my possession. I do not want to pa;y the minimum payment as I do not want to pay the 26 percent interest rate. I have contacted both Best Buy and Citibank. They both blame the other for my dilemma. Best Buy claims they have to pay a third party (I'm presuming GE) and they have no control of when I am charged by Citibank despite the fact that their name is on the Citibank Visa card. Citibank claims that they have already paid Best Buy and I can cancel the order if I want. I do not see this as consumer friendly. I am the customer who keeps both of them in business and neither one acts like they are one and the same. My question is it legal to demand payment when you do not have the merchandise? I live in California. Thank you in advance for your input.


Jan 6, 2015
the United States
I recommend that you pay in full as you have been doing. If for some reason it does not arrive within 45 days, you still have the opportunity to initiate a charge back and should be able to cancel.

At this point I believe this is low-risk . . .
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May 30, 2019
This forum does not provide legal advice.

Noting that, generally speaking, if a merchant informs you of a delay in shipping, you have the option to cancel or accept the new date. This is a Visa card where you could make credit card purchases at other merchants, not a store-only credit card -- correct? If so, @VoR61 is correct that you still have the opportunity for chargeback if they do not meet the revised ship date.

Here are some sites that do mention applicable laws:

Dec 19, 2014
The standard business practice is to not be charged for an item until it has been shipped.

If it bothers you, cancel the order, and order from another merchant.
Otherwise, why would you pay the minimum payment? Just pay the bill. If you can't pay the bill, then cancel the order.

Am I missing something?
Feb 3, 2017
When I bought my couch, I paid for it before it arrived though usually the merchants I have dealt with don't charge my card until the item is shipped but, not always.

I too never carry credit card debt and pay pretty much immediately when I make a purchase so I don't forget - I would pay it as usual if you are comfortable doing so and use the option of a charge-back as suggested above if you don't receive the item.

Some things, like specially made items, charge from the get go - and then make the item and ship - can take quite a long time.

Basically, doesn't seem to be one hard/fast rule for all retailers. At least, in my experience.

Certainly, I have never been charged only at the time I have actually received the item -


Mar 23, 2015
Anytime I've ordered appliances or furniture, my credit card has been charged at the time of purchase, whether or not the delivery date was going to be the next day or a month later. It's up to you if that bothers you or not, but the transaction occurred so the charge occurred then. It's not like ordering something online and they can hold that charge until it's shipped. You were in the store and payment occurred at the register. It's a different scenario. If it ends up not coming in a timely manner, you can simply get a refund back and you're whole again. I'm not sure why all the angst, to be honest.