Unsolicited goods your rights

Have you received unsolicited goods?

Unsolicited goods are very uncommon

Please see All you need to know about unsolicited goods which is an updated post that clearly answers the questions raised here.

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!

Well over a hundred comments and only has been 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.

What are unsolicited goods?

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 for unsolicited goods

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.

For the examples above, the company is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. See also this post on deliveries. this is NOT unsolicited goods.

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.

3) If you have been in contact with the company regarding ordering items see Mail Order, online and deliveries and Consumer Right Act 2015

Your call as to what to do with truly unsolicited goods

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.

Further help about problems with deliveries

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! For that, please see :

Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively

Consumer Rights Act 2015Parcel outside door, delivery notirrived? Arrived late? Left and stolen? Your rights to redress

 

 

Your rights, mail order, online and deliveries

 

 

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

Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For masses of information, consumer rights, advice, stories and template letters….

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

 

 

How to use the Misrepresentation Act 1967

Misrepresentation Act 1967
Been mis-sold a contract? Use the Misrepresentation Act 1967

This is a much underused Law. (It doesn’t cover Scotland but Scottish Law is broadly similar). But as well as reading this post you should also see the more updated law Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (updated 2014). It protects the consumer from being mis-led or mis-sold goods or services. If you enter into a contract and purchase an item or service because you believed a statement (not an opinion) regarding it, then you can end the contract, get a refund and claim compensation. There are three types of Misrepresentation where a false statement was made:

Fraudulently – statement made by someone that they know is untrue, believe it is untrue or is made recklessly
Negligently – statement made carelessly or without reasonable grounds for believing its truth.
Innocently – statement made without fault

Fraudulent/negligent statements

If you entered a contract as a result of a fraudulent or negligent statement you can cancel the contract. You can also claim damages in most cases. These claims are on the basis of negligence or fraud. The person who made the misrepresentation has to disprove the negligence. So for example, if you book a holiday on the basis that it is a holiday where children are not allowed and find that when you arrive the place is overrun with children then this is a clear breach. I used the Act  as part of a complaint for a story regarding misrepresenting a holiday booking.

Innocent statements

This is considered to be when either party enters into a contract having reasonable grounds for believing that his or her false statement was true. The contract is usually just cancelled in this situation.

Under Section 2(2) Misrepresentation Act 1967 the court has the discretion to award damages instead of allowing you to end the contract if it deems it appropriate. It cannot award both, judged on nature of misrepresentation and losses suffered.

Limitations

If you chose to continue with the contract although you were aware of the misrepresentation you will not be able to end the contract or claim damages. For example if you booked a holiday knowing that the hotel described in the brochure was family friendly but you knew this was a mis-print due to other factors in the brochure or had had it pointed out to you and you proceeded with the booking you will have, in law, “affirmed” the contract.

You need to act quickly after discovering the misrepresentation. For example, if you have been sold a mobile ‘phone contract on the basis of receiving 500 free texts a month and you have continued to use the ‘phone for a few months before complaining about being charged for them a court may say that you should have complained the first month in which you were charged. All cases are different though and are assessed as such.

I quoted this Act in a case against NatWest and Sunmaster. Which category of statement do you think they fell into? Have you used this Act? Will you now you know about it?!

More recent Acts

People think of misrepresentation and think ah there’s a law about that. Yup this one. However, you now have more cover with more recent laws, so you should also see Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (updated 2014).

You are also covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if the item does not match the description, is not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality.

 

More details on how to complain in the book, information, advice, laws and template letters How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!