The next steps are all too familiar for consumers and business owners who have opened those mystery packages: they tend to find a bill attached, or begin to receive invoices for the merchandise demanding payment. These invoices and threats to your credit rating can even continue if you do not accept the merchandise and send it back.
So what do you do when you receive merchandise you did not order? According to the Federal Trade Commission, you don’t have to pay for it. There are Federal laws that prohibit companies mailing unordered packages and then demanding payment.
Below, your BBB has developed some tips for you to keep in mind incase you find yourself to the recipient of a mysterious under order package:
- You have no legal obligation to notify the seller that you plan to keep the unordered merchandise without paying for it. It is a good idea to simply write a letter to the company stating that you did not order the item and you have the legal right to keep it as a free gift. This may discourage them from sending you any bills or clear up an error. Be sure to send the letter certified mail and keep a copy for your records.
- There are ways to protect yourself from shippers of unordered merchandise:
- Always be cautious when you participate in sweepstakes or order goods advertised as “free”, “trial”, or unusually low priced.
- Be sure to read all the fine print and check to see if you are joining a “club”
- Keep a copy of the advertisement or catalog that led you to place the order – this will make it easier to contact the company if a problem should arise
If you need further help or information dealing with unordered merchandise problems please visit http://www.greatermd.bbb.org/