What Is an Order Receipt?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

An order receipt is a document that provides information about the details of an order and confirms it has been received by the company responsible for fulfilling it. It may come by email or fax confirmation, and sometimes arrives in the mail when the lead time on an order is considerable. It offers notice to the buyer about the specifics of the order and usually has information on how to cancel or change it, if necessary, often by using a return slip included with the receipt for convenience.

Customers who order items online usually receive a receipt via email.
Customers who order items online usually receive a receipt via email.

A typical order receipt should list the name and contact information for the shipper and seller, and specify the items in the order. It will include an estimated ship and delivery date, if appropriate, and the amount of the order, including tax, shipping, handling charges, and any other expenses. If the buyer finds an error, she can correct it before the order is actually filled, eliminating the need for a costly returns process where the goods go back to the shipper because a mistake was made.

The order receipt should also discuss the terms and conditions of the order. It includes information on changing orders, returning or exchanging items after they are received, and paying for the order. Payment terms can vary from a note indicating the order is paid in full to a note that it comes with net 90 delivery, allowing the buyer 90 days to pay it. If there are any special directions, such as the need to have someone physically present at an address to receive the items, these will go in the order receipt as well.

Online shopping cart and payment systems typically come with an order receipt generator that can send an email as soon as an order is placed and confirmed. The buyer will receive the email for review and usually has a narrow time window to make any changes, unless items are backordered or not yet released. Automatic orders of this nature can also be emailed with phone or fax orders, if the customer provides an email address for contact information.

It is important to review an order receipt carefully to check for errors. If there are any problems, the shipper should be notified immediately so any necessary changes can be made. It is also advisable to review the terms and conditions to get familiar with the process for returns, complaints, and other issues that may arise during the process.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I never really have any use for the order receipts that come with packages that I've ordered. I don't ever send anything back, and I pay with the credit card, so the receipt isn't a bill.

Since I always have an emailed receipt, too, the one they send with the package is useless. I know that they are required to do this, but I wouldn't mind if they didn't waste the paper on me.


@lighth0se33 – Yes, I think that the majority of them arrive by email these days. I like getting an instant receipt for a purchase, because I can check it and confirm it right away.

I keep the email with the order receipt and print out a hard copy, too. There have been times when I've had an order not arrive by the date on the receipt, and I've had to contact the company and give them the order number so that they could look it up. Just in case I accidentally delete the email, I like to have another copy on file.


I've never had an order receipt arrive by mail separately from the item itself. Maybe this is more for big orders or really expensive items that won't arrive for months.

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