California’s 30-Day Shipping Rule
Under California law, orders for goods or services placed over the internet must be shipped within thirty days. If the business is unable to ship the order within this time frame, it must send equivalent or superior replacement goods, or provide the buyer with a written notice of the delay. Such notice must include, among other things, the expected duration of the delay and an offer of a refund, upon request.
The Complaint and Order
According to the complaint, Yeezy Apparel LLC and Yeezy LLC (collectively, “Yeezy”) “repeatedly violated” California law by failing to ship items within thirty days, and that despite these delays, Yeezy failed to provide adequate notice to California consumers and failed to provide a refund offer in violation of California’s 30-day shipping rule. The complaint further contends that Yeezy made untrue and misleading statements regarding its ability to ship products within a certain time frame by posting two to seven day shipping timelines on its website, and in some cases charging customers additional fees for expedited shipping. Given the discrepancy between these statements and the actual shipping timeline, the complaint alleges, Yeezy also engaged in false advertising and unfair competition in violation of California law. The complaint was filed on behalf of the people of California, and sought civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, injunctive relief, restitution, and attorney fees and costs.
On November 8, 2021, following a final judgment by the Los Angeles Superior Court, the LA District Attorney’s Office announced that Yeezy will pay $950,000 to settle these claims, including $50,000 in restitution, $100,0000 for investigative costs, and $800,000 in civil penalties.
California’s 30-day shipping rule is not unique. Other states and regulatory agencies have adopted and actively enforce similar rules, such as the FTC’s Mail Order Rule. As this case demonstrates, and as we have seen, failure to adhere to these rules can result in significant liabilities and monetary fines. To avoid such liabilities, companies should take care to ensure their published shipping timelines align with current product inventory, and have delay notice communication plans in place in the event accepted orders can no longer be shipped in time.