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http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2016/12/bamboozled_if_a_ret...
If a retailer sends you stuff by mistake, can you keep it?
Because of shipping errors, the holidays come early for some online shoppers.
Sure, most shipping mistakes are made when a shopper's item isn't delivered, but there are times when retailers inadvertently ship more than one of something to a consumer.
That's right. Retailers sometimes accidentally send consumers stuff they didn't order. Stuff consumers haven't paid for.
So what happens?
You can actually keep the stuff, based on federal law.

It's more common than you might expect.
And with Cyber Monday shoppers hitting a new record of $3.39 billion in spending this year, according to a survey by digital technology firm Adobe, the odds may be in your favor. 
There are sure to be errors with that kind of volume.
We were recently reminded of this issue by our friends at Consumerist.com.  
They've written about this before.
Like the time a consumer received five iPods instead of the single one she ordered from WalMart.
Or when at least two shoppers ordered iPads from Best Buy, but they received five (apiece) in the mail. Five!
Or when Williams Sonoma sent 99 knives, which cost $40 each, to a shopper who wanted just one.
Or when Lululemon sent a customer 19 extra running hats, priced at $32 a pop, but was only charged for the one he ordered. 
And yes, those consumers, by law, could keep each and every item.
That's because companies are prohibited from mailing unordered merchandise to customers. You have the legal right to keep it as a free gift, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Sellers aren't permitted to ask for payment for unordered items, either, and the FTC says consumers are under no obligation to even tell the seller about the wrongly delivered merchandise.
One might imagine retailers would want the merchandise back when an honest consumer comes forward, but according to Consumerist, some have decided that taking back the item is more trouble than it's worth.
We're willing to bet many of our readers aren't all that comfortable with getting something for nothing.
So, honest shoppers, if you want to return the item, contact the company. The FTC notes that the company should be the one to pay any return shipping fees.
Another option would be to donate the item to a charity.
Now what happens if an item turns up on your doorstep and it wasn't a double of something you ordered, but rather it was sent to your home in error?
You can probably keep this, too, because the FTC's "Business Guide to the FTC's Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule" says a seller must get a customer's "prior express agreement" to receive the merchandise.
"Customers who receive unordered merchandise are legally entitled to treat the merchandise as a gift," the guide says, noting that businesses cannot try to get payment for the item, nor can businesses demand the item be returned.
If a business does that, it may be subject to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation, the FTC says. And, it says, using the U.S. mail to ship unordered merchandise also violates postal laws.


 

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This is all well and true, but the item is never really free. Maybe you aren't paying for it, but the company is just going to pass the loss on somewhere else. Prices go up, shipping goes up. Everyone pays.

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I ordered a $50 tiller and got a $500 tile saw once. Went through all the trouble (it's heavy) to return it. You know, karma and all.

Am not a lawyer but I think anything considered financial instrument is an exception and might be subject to "unjust enrichment" laws.

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Yes it's free, but wait til they ruin your credit, if you get something expensive! Then you have to go to the 3 Credit Bureaus, and straighten it out. That's more trouble, than it's worth!

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sublimosa said:   This is all well and true, but the item is never really free. Maybe you aren't paying for it, but the company is just going to pass the loss on somewhere else. Prices go up, shipping goes up. Everyone pays.

Believe or not but all large corporations have reserves for things like these. They know it that things like these will happen. So it's not like when someone sends something back the item they didn't order, then the company will lower their prices. Now a days, the companies don't try to please the customers, they try to keep the Wall Street happy.

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Marvinomatic said:   Yes it's free, but wait til they ruin your credit, if you get something expensive! Then you have to go to the 3 Credit Bureaus, and straighten it out. That's more trouble, than it's worth!

Not likely. Are they going to sue you and somehow get a judgement in their favor?

The last item I got that I didn't order was a bottle of vitamins from Vitacost. They never bothered to ask for it back.

I'm waiting for The Louvre to send me the Mona Lisa that I never ordered. I'll realize it's a mistake. I won't be greedy. I'll sell it back to them for half its value.

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I believe that they have a year to charge you. Who wants to wait?

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Marvinomatic said:   Yes it's free, but wait til they ruin your credit, if you get something expensive! Then you have to go to the 3 Credit Bureaus, and straighten it out. That's more trouble, than it's worth!
  If they report it on your credit, it's worth even more for you.

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burgerwars said:   Marvinomatic said:   Yes it's free, but wait til they ruin your credit, if you get something expensive! Then you have to go to the 3 Credit Bureaus, and straighten it out. That's more trouble, than it's worth!

Not likely. Are they going to sue you and somehow get a judgement in their favor?

The last item I got that I didn't order was a bottle of vitamins from Vitacost. They never bothered to ask for it back.

I'm waiting for The Louvre to send me the Mona Lisa that I never ordered. I'll realize it's a mistake. I won't be greedy. I'll sell it back to them for half its value.
Eh.. Mona Lisa was not that great. Everyone was pushing each other to get a view of Mona Lisa. Wife and I thought it was Meh.. but the painting directly opposite to it, Wedding at Cana, was awesome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedding_at_Cana

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KayK said:   
burgerwars said:   
Marvinomatic said:   Yes it's free, but wait til they ruin your credit, if you get something expensive! Then you have to go to the 3 Credit Bureaus, and straighten it out. That's more trouble, than it's worth!

Not likely. Are they going to sue you and somehow get a judgement in their favor?

The last item I got that I didn't order was a bottle of vitamins from Vitacost. They never bothered to ask for it back.

I'm waiting for The Louvre to send me the Mona Lisa that I never ordered. I'll realize it's a mistake. I won't be greedy. I'll sell it back to them for half its value.

Eh.. Mona Lisa was not that great. Everyone was pushing each other to get a view of Mona Lisa. Wife and I thought it was Meh. . but the painting directly opposite to it, Wedding at Cana, was awesome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wedding_at_Cana

   I found waldo!
(seriously, though, neat painting.)

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Last year received some fancy wine glass set at my house addressed to someone who I've never heard of (the retailer must have transposed house number or something).  I placed a note on the for USPS to return it. They'd take it back and in the next day or two re-deliver it to me.  This went on for three or four times.  Called the retailer who said to return it to USPS like I hadn't tried that already.  The mail lady asked me to take the box to post office during normal business hours and talk to the post master like I don't have a daytime job.  Asked her if I can do it on Saturday and she said no, the post master only works Mon-Fri.  Finally got tired of this ping pong game and took the box and put it in my trash can with my address removed from the box.  Didn't want to keep it because 1) I don't drink 2) It would remind me of me keeping something that didn't belong to me.

 

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ach1199 said:   Last year received some fancy wine glass set at my house addressed to someone who I've never heard of (the retailer must have transposed house number or something).  I placed a note on the for USPS to return it. They'd take it back and in the next day or two re-deliver it to me.  This went on for three or four times.  Called the retailer who said to return it to USPS like I hadn't tried that already.  The mail lady asked me to take the box to post office during normal business hours and talk to the post master like I don't have a daytime job.  Asked her if I can do it on Saturday and she said no, the post master only works Mon-Fri.  Finally got tired of this ping pong game and took the box and put it in my trash can with my address removed from the box.  Didn't want to keep it because 1) I don't drink 2) It would remind me of me keeping something that didn't belong to me.

 
Erm.. you know you can drink whatever you want.. juice, water, diet Mt Dew, whatever.. from that wine glass.
I MIGHT have tried once to return them and then come to the conclusion that those wine glasses deserved to be with me.

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mail order bride?

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Wine glasses are terrible glasses. On the off chance I drink some wine, I stick it in a rocks glass or a coffee cup

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