Getting a miss-delivered package isn’t common, but it happens every now and then. This poses a difficult question: If you receive goods that you didn’t order, can you keep them?
Many households across the country receive orders by home delivery that they didn’t order–or the wrong items. What do you do? Can you keep the items?
Let’s get into what you should do if unsolicited items and goods have been delivered to you by mistake. There are some specific rules that you should be following–so that you don’t end up in hot water later down the line.
What If You Receive Unsolicited Goods?
When a company sends you an item that didn’t order, it’s called an “unsolicited good.” In these cases, you’re well within your rights to keep them.
If you have goods delivered to you that you didn’t ask for, you have no obligation to send them back or to pay for them. If you receive an invoice payment for unsolicited goods, you can ignore it. Demanding that you pay for goods you didn’t request is a criminal offense.
You can also write a letter to clarify the situation and establish your rights. Here’s a sample letter you can use:
“On (date when the package was received), I received from you: (description of item or items received). I would like to make it clear that I did not order these goods, and they are unsolicited. I will make these items available for you to collect at your expense in the next 2 weeks, but after this time, I will take the goods as my own. Feel free to contact me to arrange a collection.”
What If You Receive a Mistaken Delivery?
When it comes to a mistaken delivery, you’ll need to contact whoever sent them and ask them to collect the goods.
The difference between a mistaken delivery and unsolicited goods is simple. You can identify a mistaken delivery if the address and name on the package are different than yours. In many cases, you might find some similarities, but this package should be labeled for somebody else.
Call customer service for the company in charge of delivering the item and tell them what happened. The tracking number on the package should help them locate where the items need to be sent next.
This shouldn’t cost you anything–and you shouldn’t be inconvenienced in any way. The company should send someone to pick up the product within a reasonable timeframe.
Don’t Try to Keep Packages Received By Mistake
Companies will be alerted by the sender or their tracking system that the shipment wasn’t delivered to the right address. Even if you don’t alert them of the wrong delivery, they still might call your house or show up at your door asking where the package is.
Also, don’t try to reach out to the person who should have received the package. Respect their privacy by going through the shipping company rather than reaching out to the individual directly.
If the intended recipient shows up at your door demanding the package, don’t give it to them. It’s not ethical for the shipping company to give them your address–and it might be a scammer. Only return the package to a confirmed representative of the shipping company.
If you reach out to the company and don’t get any response, then you can feel free to keep it. Sometimes, it won’t be worth the company’s money and trouble to retrieve it–in which case you’re free to keep the package.
Why Did the Package Go to the Wrong Address?
There are a lot of reasons why the wrong package might end up at your house or apartment.
Certain house or apartment numbers might be challenging for the courier to understand. The numbers might get switched around during the delivery process or the written address could be hard to read. Somebody could have made a mistake when originally ordering–or they could have put an old address instead of the new one.
In many cases, the original recipient won’t realize what’s wrong until they get package delivery confirmation–and the package still hasn’t come to their doorstep. In this case, they might reach out to the shipping company, who may then reach out to you.
It usually comes down to an old-fashioned mistake–but if you start persistently receiving the wrong packages, it’s crucial that you get in touch with the shipping company to figure out what’s been going wrong.
Can You Sell Items That Are Delivered To You By Mistake?
Yes, you can sell items that were mis-delivered to you, but you have to follow a set procedure. You still have to follow the rules that were set above.
Be sure to reach out to the company to inform them of the mis-delivery. Give them the chance to come and pick it up.
Contact the company twice–and do it in writing in order to provide clear evidence that you gave them the chance to pick it up.
Even after you’ve sold the items, hang on to the cash for a little while longer. The specific laws depend on your state, but the original owner can still claim the money from you for up to six years.
If you’ve had the package for a while and nobody’s come to pick it up, it doesn’t hurt to make the best of your situation. Just try your best to send it back–and be prepared to return the package (or the money).
What To Do If You Get a Home Delivery By Mistake
If you receive goods from a home delivery that you didn’t order, can you still keep them? The rules aren’t always clear, but a mistaken delivery is never your fault.
As long as you follow the regulations, respect the intended recipient’s wishes, and do what you can to return the package–there’s not much more that you can do. If you’ve jumped through all the hoops and still can’t get the package back to the owner, it’s all yours!
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