It is common for businesses to take monies from their customers before a product is shipped. This is done for a number of reasons, including
- instigates the contract for the sale of a product (if a payment was not sought, one could cancel a purchase after it was made and before it was paid for and the business may have already paid for the item from their supplier - leaving the retailer with a product with no customer)
- reduces risks on the business from a customer not being able to pay for an item at a later date, when payment is required
Some businesses don’t stock all items they sell as it can tie up considerable cash in stock (or each product may be unique say for a piece of custom furniture) which they may or may not sell if the customer pulls out of the contract. If it is popular or a very low cost item, (depending on the popularity of the item), it is more likely to sell and they may stock more in their inventory.
There are also more and more online businesses/platforms which don’t stock any inventory, but are the middle person between the manufacturer and customer. When one purchases these items they add their sales commission to it and it is shipped direct from the manufacturer/importer.
If they advised that the item was not currently in their stock and you proceeded with the purchase, you have agreed with this aspect of the purchase.