I ordered an item from Amazon.de ages ago (I am in the Uk). Probably in 2020 or early 2021. Every few months I got an email that the item was out of stock and would be delivered when available. The company has their products in every shop in Germany, but not in the Uk, so not a small company.

Today it arrived. No bill. No money coming out of my account. Nothing. Now I’m just curious: Could there be some law that they can’t charge me if they deliver two years after the order? Or would a large company fulfil their obligations but not bother charging after that amount if time? (It was about 20 pound, so probably not worth the effort for them). It’s so long ago, my card number might have changed. Could that cause them not to charge me because it is too much effort?

  • 1
    Amazon.de knows if the CC is valid or expired, so don’t worry about that part. The other bits of your question seem speculative (and in need of a country code).
    – RonJohn
    Dec 14, 2022 at 20:42
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    You're asking us to read their minds. If you're worried, you can ask them. Of course doing so may remind them to charge you, in which case you can exercise whatever return options the vendor offers. Or you can just wait for them to bill you, and if they never do that's their problem. (Or at least that's the US answer; I don't know what laws apply elsewhere.)
    – keshlam
    Dec 14, 2022 at 22:08
  • This is a legal question and would be better suited for law.stackexchange.com
    – JohnFx
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:42
  • @keshlam: consumer financial protections are on topic here even if they would also be on topic for Law.SE
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 15, 2022 at 17:37
  • For comparison, the USA rule is "If they don’t give a time, they must ship within 30 days of when you placed your order. If there’s a delay shipping your order, the seller has to tell you and give you the choice of either agreeing to the delay or canceling your order for a full refund.": consumer.ftc.gov/articles/…
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 15, 2022 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


Personally, assuming I still wanted the item, I'd wait a reasonable amount of time for them to bill me. If they didn't, I'd send them an email saying I got the item but was never billed and offer to pay. You say it's 20 pounds so I wouldn't devote any more effort than that to this. I wouldn't spend 40 hours of my time trying to pay a 20 pound bill.

As to why they haven't billed you ... it's hard to say. My best guess would be that they just messed up the record keeping and made a mistake. At some point, paying somebody to track down 20 pounds due would cost them more than 20 pounds and they're just going to write it off. It's possible that there's some law or they have some policy of just giving you the item for free after the long wait. Frankly I doubt it, but possible.

A few years ago my daughter wanted an egg timer -- one of those hour-glass type things but it's not an hour, more like 3 minutes. She found them on Amazon for like $2 for a pack of 6. She didn't need 6, but she figured for $2, fine, whatever. The company messed up the order and sent her 6 packs of 6, while still charging her for just 1. She called them and asked if she should send the other 5 back. They said no, the cost of shipping them back and restocking would be more than they were worth, and told her to just keep them. So she now has 36 egg timers. I think she's set for life. My point being, sometimes if a company makes a mistake it's cheaper to just let the customer have the item for free than to pay labor and expenses to fix the problem.

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