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> its against the TOS of Visa/MC/AMEX/etc to charge the buyer before shipment

There are some FTC rules about this too, IIRC, that a product must ship within a certain period following payment. I once worked with a company where this was an issue: they had to provide a great deal of data to the FTC to plead their case.

Generally 7 days, though it depends on the card issuer.

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