No Confirmation Email: What to Do?

Here’s what you do if you haven’t received your confirmation email:

The first thing you should do is wait at least five minutes to give the email time to arrive.

If it’s still not there, then you can check your financial records, try to verify the transaction, or even contact the business.

One way or another, you should be able to confirm the transaction or cancel it altogether.

So if you want to learn all about what to do if there’s no confirmation email in your inbox, then this is the article for you.

Let’s get started!

No Confirmation Email: What to Do? (Everything to Know)

What Do Confirmation Emails Really Do?

focused woman looking at laptop

Before we get deep into this topic, there’s an unspoken question that I think is worth addressing.

Does it even matter if you get the confirmation email?

That question is best answered by exploring what a confirmation email is really about.

In general, you can get a confirmation email for anything.

If you create a free account to watch videos on some website, they’ll probably send you a confirmation email.

If you sign up to be on political mailing lists, you’ll get a confirmation email (and then more donation requests than you can hope to count in a lifetime).

If you make a purchase on Amazon, you’ll get a confirmation email.

All of these emails are really doing the same thing.

They are providing you with a digital record of your transaction.

Even if that transaction didn’t involve an exchange of money, something happened between your computer and a server somewhere, and the confirmation email is your proof of what happened.

For the rest of this conversation, I’m going to focus on confirmation emails that involve an exchange of money, but you’ll find that a lot of this holds true even if you just signed up for a free mailing list (or anything else that doesn’t involve money). 

How Bad Is It if You Don’t Get the Confirmation Email?

Unhappy confused young woman working on computer

That covers the gist of the emails, so now let’s revisit my question.

Does it even matter that you don’t have the email?

In the vast majority of cases, no.

It doesn’t matter at all.

Confirmation emails are usually part of automated systems, and those systems typically have robust sets of redundancies that mean you don’t really need the confirmation email.

In most cases, you can do nothing at all and be fine.

But, I want to talk about the cases where the confirmation emails do matter.

Again, these mostly apply to when you gave someone money, but potentially, a confirmation email could be important to show that you really did sign up for something that matters to you.

The primary issue of concern is when you go through with the online transaction and then don’t get whatever you were expecting out of the whole thing.

So, to keep things simple, let’s assume you made an online purchase, and you haven’t received your item.

In that case, the confirmation email is pretty important.

It has a transaction number in it that you can use to create a dispute and either get your item or a refund.

There are other ways to go about the dispute, the confirmation email is there specifically to provide the proof you need in order to pursue resolution.

What Should You Do When You Don’t Get the Confirmation Email? (6 Options)

serious woman using laptop on sofa at home

Hopefully, that’s enough to convince you that confirmation emails can be important.

So, if you don’t get one, there are things you can try to overcome the situation.

The truth is that there are a lot of possibilities, so there’s no single, perfect approach to dealing with a missing confirmation email.

Even so, you can follow the sections below as something of a step-by-step approach, and it’ll work out for you more often than not.

Ultimately, you have to apply your specific circumstances to these ideas, and then you’ll be able to find a good solution.

#1 Wait

unhappy woman waiting for a message on her phone

The very first step toward resolution is pretty boring.

You need to wait.

Despite being entirely digital, confirmation emails are not instantaneous.

You might disagree.

It’s entirely possible that you have ordered something and received the confirmation email right as you finalized the order.

That can happen, but it won’t always be that fast.

The good news is that you don’t need to wait for weeks or even days before you receive your email.

Typically, you’ll get the email within five minutes of placing the order.

Every once in a while, you might have to wait up to about 15 minutes, even though everything is working as expected.

The reason for this is that email routing is a little bit complicated, so a delay along the route can prevent you from getting your email as fast as possible.

It’s kind of like when you try to fly commercially and you get stuck waiting in Denver for a few hours because a flight was delayed in Ohio.

The complicated nature of the process makes delays possible, even though the system isn’t broken.

That might be more information than you bargained for, so please allow me to recap.

Wait at least five minutes before you worry about anything related to your confirmation email.

#2 Check Your Spam Folder

Man reading email on laptop

Now that you’re done waiting, you can take direct action.

The first thing you want to do is check your spam folder.

This is a notorious problem, but it’s not one that the business you ordered from can solve directly. 

Email spam annoys everyone, so email providers have created spam filters.

Those filters prevent certain types of emails from going to your main inbox, and it’s plenty common for confirmation emails to get caught up in spam folders.

So, check your spam folder and any other email folder that could have potentially received the confirmation email. When you’re sure it’s not anywhere, then you need to take more direct action.

#3 Check the Order Email

female hand holding phone with order confirmation on screen

This isn’t always an available option, but if you can still see the order page that you used to make the purchase, then it makes things a bit easier.

Simply look at the page and see what email is listed there.

It’s pretty easy to mistype an email address, so double-check the email address that you put into the order form.

If there’s a typo, then you know exactly what the problem is.

The company can’t send the confirmation email to you because they don’t have the right email information.

If this is the case, you can contact the company directly and explain the problem.

They should be able to update your email address in their system and then get you the confirmation email that was missing.

#4 Copy the Confirmation Page

young woman checking cellphone looking excited

It’s also common to be directed to an order confirmation page or screen after you complete an order.

This screen contains some important information, and you can use that to either replace the confirmation email or find another solution.

Confirmation pages don’t stay around forever, so you want to extract the information from this page sooner rather than later.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to make a habit of screenshotting confirmation pages.

On this page, you should have your specific order number.

The screen might also include the item(s) ordered, the price charged, expected delivery times, and your contact information.

Most of this info is identical to what you would find in the confirmation email.

So, if you can screenshot or copy the confirmation page, you really don’t need the confirmation email at all.

But, you’ll want to be sure that the company does have the correct email address for you.

If they need to send you any updates, such as for shipping information, then you’ll want them to be able to deliver that information effectively.

If you don’t have access to the confirmation page, that’s ok. You still have some options left.

#5 Check Your Financial Records

focused young woman checking her financials with laptop and calculator

We’ve been focusing on financial transactions so far, but I’m going to point out the obvious for a moment.

If you’re missing a confirmation email for something that didn’t involve money, then this method won’t work.

But, since I’m mostly talking about online purchases at this point, this is a viable technique.

You made an online purchase, so that means you used some type of digital transaction processing.

Most of the time, that means you used a credit or debit card, but if you used something else (like PayPal, Google Wallet, or anything else), the concept remains the same.

Check your financial records.

Digital transactions normally show up right away in your records.

That doesn’t mean that the transaction is complete, but a hold on the money you’ll owe for the item usually shows up very quickly.

So, you can check your records to see if you really were charged for the item.

If you were, then you have proof that you can use to show that the transaction took place.

With that proof, you can contact the company you ordered from.

You can get them to confirm the order or refund your money, depending on what seems appropriate.

If they don’t work with you, then you can contact your financial institution.

You can open a claim and explain the problem.

In most cases, the financial institution will side with you and cancel the payment (and refund your money).

Any business that refuses to give you a confirmation email even when you can show that the charge went through is super shady and probably a scammer.

In such a case, your bank or credit card company is going to take your side (although I can’t guarantee that outcome).

#6 Contact the Business

confused woman making a phone call in the kitchen at home

If nothing else works, try contacting the business where you placed the order.

This goes better when you can show that you were charged, but even if you can’t, you can talk to them.

They can check their records, and between the two of you, you can normally work it out.

As I said before, if they refuse to be helpful, then make sure to contact your financial institution and dispute the order.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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