I made a purchase via phone of a product, asking the people if they would send out the order quickly, i.e. the same day – they said they would do their best, via messenger. The next day – still didn\’t arrive, I called they said it still didn\’t go out and because it was medicinal and needed for pikuach nefesh – I said – enough – forget it – I am cancelling I will do something else instead. The guy told me that even if the package didn\’t go out he was going to charge me for the work they supposedly did – i.e the shipping cost – even if the shipping never happened. The messenger never even took the package. Then he said he couldn\’t give me my money back because of the credit company and would send a check. The check – 3 weeks later still hasn\’t arrived. I kept calling them, asking for my money – finally the bookeeper said she\’d cancel the check and make a direct payment to my bank but would take off the money that would incur as well. I feel completely cheated in this – no remedy, no money and many questions. Rabbi – can you tell me if what they did was halachically acceptable? What should I do now?
Generally when the product has not been sent out, one can cancel an order. However, if they have published a rule online or in their literature they would be entitled to to charge for shipping expenses. If you dispute their charging you would be entitled to cancel the charge of the credit card. If the check not reaching you was not your negligence, you should not bear responsibility for the cancellation charges.