In a draft report released this week, the Federal Trade Commission staff recommended that the Commission require online merchants to adhere to the same timely delivery requirements as mail- and telephone-based retailers.

In 1975, the FTC began requiring mail- and telephone-order merchants to ship their products within the advertised time frame. If the merchant does not specify a time frame, the merchant must ship the goods within 30 days. If the retailer cannot ship the goods on time, it must offer the customer a refund.

In the report issued on Monday, the FTC staff noted that there is widespread support for treating Internet orders in the same way as the FTC regulates mail and phone orders. “Explicitly covering all Internet order sales regardless of means of access would meet buyers’ expectations that their legal protections are independent of their means of Internet access,” the staff wrote.

The FTC staff is taking public comment before it makes its final recommendations to the Commission. Comments are due on July 15, and may be filed on the Commission’s website.