NCIX Charging Credit Cards Without Shipping Products

Does anyone know what the laws are in Canada surrounding charging a customer’s credit card when you don’t actually have the product to sell them? Back at the beginning of March I ordered a Trendnet KVM switch from NCIX. They had the product I wanted listed, so I placed my order and they charged my credit card. A few weeks passed, and I emailed them to find out where my product was – and I was informed that the product was on order. I was a bit perturbed because there was no indication that the product would take 2+ weeks to arrive, but I needed that one specific product so I waited. It was just today, nearly six weeks later, that I decided to contact them again, and this is what I was told:

“We had been on backorder for this item, and we had yet to receive any stock since you placed your order. However, after checking with our suppliers, it appears that this item has been unexpectedly discontinued. Unfortunately, this means we will be unable to get this item in for your order. At this point you have the option to either change your order to another item, or have the item cancelled for a full refund. Please contact us back to let us know how you wish to proceed with this order.”

Products get discontinued – that’s no NCIX’s fault. But why on earth would they charge my credit card if they weren’t buying the product from the supplier? There was no indication that this was a special order – the kind where you pay in advance and they order the product in – so it seems ethically dubious for them to take $50 or so from me, hold on to it for six weeks, then inform me that the product actually can’t be ordered.

I think I’ll be avoiding NCIX for a while… 🙁