Ever received a merchandise in your mailbox that you did not order?
What have you done with it?
Assuming that you kept it, did you ever wonder if you’re going to receive a billing asking for payment later on?
This has not happened to me yet but what would I do if it did? I usually get unsolicited offers such as credit cards and even personal line of credit loans wherein banks or lending companies sent me a check with my name on it and if I cashed it, it is the same as accepting the offer. However, an unsolicited merchandise is a different story. I’ve always wonder if I would get billed at something that I’ve never ordered.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers do not have an obligation to either return or pay for the unsolicited merchandise and vendors do not have a legal right to demand payment. This means that consumers can treat this unordered merchandise as gifts. The FTC also suggested that consumers should write a letter stating that it was their intention to keep the merchandise.
However, if the merchandise was mailed to the consumer as a result of an apparent honest mistake by the company and the consumers do not wish to pay for it, the FTC suggested the following actions:
- Write a letter to the company and offer to return the item on a condition that the seller pays for postage and handling. To protect yourself, send a the letter via certified mail with “proof of receipt” and keep a copy of it. It should be noted that the drawback is it would cost $5.21 to send a letter this way.
- Provide the vendor a specific and reasonable amount of time (e.g., 30 days) in which to pick up the item or arrange to have it returned at no expense to the you.
- Let the seller know that after the specified time period has passed, you reserve the right to keep the product or to get rid of it as you wish.
- “By giving the sender an opportunity to recover the merchandise, no claim can be made that you accepted an offer of sale by merely keeping the shipment.”