Second to posts about my History with Tesco this is the most read post. So we glean from that, that many people receive items that they did not request! However, typically these are not unsolicited goods. NONE of the comments from people believing/hoping that they have received unsolicited goods so far, relate to true unsolicited goods other than one regarding items from Estonia!
So I stopped all comments to this post because well over a hundred comments and only one was truly about unsolicited goods and they were goods from abroad! The answers to your queries are in this post, the links and comments, your story will be there. If you know the sender or can easily find out then it is up to you to take the risk of keeping the goods or notifying them.
Most people are familiar with the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971. Unsolicited goods are also covered in the newer regulations The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 which say you have a right to keep goods delivered to you that you didn’t request. Specifically, from the legislation:
“Part 4 of the Regulations contains provisions concerning protection from unsolicited sales and additional charges which have not been expressly agreed in advance. Regulation 39 introduces a new provision into the Consumer Protection Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which provides that a consumer is not required to pay for the unsolicited supply of products. Regulation 40 provides that a consumer is not required to make payments in addition to those agreed for the trader’s main obligation, unless the consumer gave express consent before conclusion of the contract”.
You are under no legal obligation to contact the trader and can keep the goods. However, true unsolicited goods sent within the UK are rare these days and I have yet to hear of any in the last few years.
Request for payment
Should you receive a request for payment from a trader for unsolicited goods it has committed a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. You can report them to Trading Standards. Bear in mind that if you have chosen to keep an item sent to you in error which the company can prove e.g. from a screen shot of the wrong code being put into the system then the company has not committed an offence and you will have to pay for the item should you not follow the advice below on “Not unsolicited goods“
The days of receiving packages with a demand for payment seem to have gone as this is illegal and no-one in the comments below other than someone who received a package from outside the UK has received unsolicited goods.
Not unsolicited goods
1) If you have been sent items by mistake; such as a duplicate order or additional items, mistaken identity, wrong address, in your name but you didn’t order them, any kind of fraud
2) Replacement order
3) Faulty item
4) Item you have that was faulty and waiting for collection at any point in the replacement process
5) If you have had any contact with any company and you have any order with them and they send you something different/additional
6) Substitute goods should be agreed with the trader and you.
7) Thing(s) meant for someone else. Still not unsolicited goods if clearly a mistake and you are able to contact the company which sent the item.
What to do with non unsolicited goods
1) Contact the company and request that they come and collect the goods. Tell them that you are giving them 14 days in which they can contact you and arrange collection or you will dispose of the goods. Make sure that you do this in writing with proof of postage/read receipt email so that you have a record if you dispose/keep/sell the item. See this post.
2) There should be no cost or inconvenience to you. State also that you will dispose of the goods if you are not sent a return postage label/packaging or arrangement for a courier. Keep this correspondence evidence.
Mostly, it boils down to morals and whether you want to take the risk keeping an item and I cannot make that call for you. But bear in mind that if the item(s) were sent in error (see “Not unsolicited goods” section above) they may contact you and if you have used the item you will have to pay for it. Many times the company says keep the item.
General rule of thumb which answers most if not all the questions in the comments – if you have received goods from a company that you have dealt with, it is 99% likely that there has been an error such as someone putting in the wrong number into the computer. These are NOT unsolicited goods. Unsolicited goods are simply receiving something out of the blue from a company that you have not been in contact with!
You must try to do everything to return the item if it falls into any of the other categories above.
It is extremely unlikely going from the popularity of this post and the comments I receive that you are in possession of unsolicited goods, or that your case is unique. You probably HAVE received poor service however and there is probably a breach of consumer law though! For that, please see :
If you are having problems contacting the company try the ceo and you can get the contact details for him or her here at ceoemail.com
For masses of information, consumer rights, advice, stories and template letters….