By: Jeremy Balkin

Need to change your order? Learn what to do if you ordered a test on the wrong account, shipped a test to the wrong address, or ordered a new test that was supposed to be an upgrade.

I needed paper towels. I needed them so badly that I’d reached the “eating dinner with a beach towel in my lap as my napkin because I had nothing else” phase. I’d been thinking about buying more paper towels for three days.

In that time, I’d had the opportunity to go to the grocery store about 6-7 times. However, I convinced myself I didn’t need the paper towels each time.

By yesterday, I’d had enough. I drove the whole half mile to the store and then wandered around for 15 minutes before leaving with ice cream, apples, and toothpaste. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I still didn’t have paper towels.

Getting tasks done is hard. I often order things online in the same way. In the moment, I think I am good to go, so I click “purchase.” It’s only afterward I realize that my shipping address is wrong, or the credit card on file is wrong, or the name on my card is wrong, or that the racecar bed I just ordered isn’t appropriate for my 40-year-old self. Then comes the inevitable process of changing my order. It turns out that changing the bed you want after it has already shipped to you comes with a few complications.

We at FamilyTreeDNA want your ordering process with us to be easier than ordering the wrong bed. Life happens.

Whether you ordered the wrong test, ordered it for the wrong person, ordered it to the wrong shipping address, or ordered it prematurely, we try to make things as easy as possible. However, our policy on changing orders is fairly strict. That’s because it has to be. All of our testing is done in-house at our lab here in Houston. Testing is a big process. So, for example, once testing has started, it’s often not possible to stop or change the testing. But we do have a few workarounds.

I ordered a test to be shipped to the wrong address

This is a common occurrence with any online purchase. With DNA testing, it can be a little trickier. However, if you realize that you ordered a test kit to be sent to the wrong address, please contact us as soon as possible so we can correct the problem. If the original kit hasn’t gone out yet, that is ideal. We’ll simply change the address on our side and get it out correctly. However, things happen, and if it’s already gone out, that’s okay, too. We’ll happily send a replacement kit to the correct address at no additional charge.

Sometimes, our Shipping Department determines that the address you entered cannot be shipped to. When this happens, we’ll contact you to either verify your address or have you provide an alternate one.

I ordered a test on the wrong account

This happens, too. Generally speaking, it’s best to take care of this problem as soon as possible.

If, for example, an upgrade test is ordered on a kit, but you meant to order it for someone else (as a new kit or an upgrade), we’ll always work with you to do the best we can. However, if testing has started on the original order, it’s often not possible to cancel it. That’s why it’s important, when upgrading testing, to make sure of what kit you’re upgrading.

A good rule of thumb is if you want to upgrade an account, look at the top-right corner of the page and make sure the kit number/name posted matches that of the person you want the testing for.

Mistakes happen, and if you contact us within a day of this order, we can usually correct this. The longer time passes, though, the less likely we can make the change.

It may happen that you inadvertently upgraded your uncle’s kit to mtDNA testing when you meant to order it for yourself, and it’s not until two years later, at Thanksgiving dinner, that you realize your uncle knows way more about his maternal ancestry than we probably should. By that point, it’s too late.

I ordered a test on a new account, but it was supposed to be an upgrade

This also happens. Again, contacting us ASAP is always best to help straighten things like this out.
Occasionally, I will see a tester with two separate kits. For example, one may have autosomal (Family Finder) results, and the other mtDNA. Ideally, if both tests represent the same person, you will always want to upgrade the existing kit to additional testing. This keeps everything under a single sign-in and prevents confusion by not having the same person’s results spread over multiple accounts.

Also, with upgrades, most of the time, we have your remaining unused samples in storage, so we can immediately start your testing rather than send a whole new kit to you and wait for it to be shipped both ways before testing can even begin. If you ordered testing on a new kit, but it was supposed to be an upgrade on the same account, it wouldn’t hurt to contact us.

However, once testing has started, we can’t really change anything; in some cases, we can combine kits into a single account once testing has finished. We always try our best to consolidate accounts as much as we can.

It’s never too late to change things

There’s one hour left before the end of my work week. My plans for the weekend include driving to the grocery store, buying my paper towels, and having confidence for the next three weeks that any messes at home will be quickly and properly cleaned. FamilyTreeDNA doesn’t have a full support staff on weekends, but we do have people working Saturdays, so if you also need anything cleaned, we’re always here.

Jeremy Balkin - FamilyTreeDNA Blog

About the Author

Jeremy Balkin

Customer Service Manager at FamilyTreeDNA

Jeremy Balkin has been active in genetic genealogy for 11+ years and has been writing his whole adult life. Through helping customers daily, helping his team, and continuing to write, he hopes to continue to connect with more people on the subject using his own blend of knowledge and humor.

Working for FamilyTreeDNA itself has shaped the past quarter of his life, and mostly for the better. It has become a part of him, and he hopes to never lose it. In his free time, Jeremy likes to spend time with his nine-year-old son and girlfriend, Gillian.