All you need to know about unsolicited goods

Have you received unsolicited goods?

Can you keep the goods you believe are unsolicited?

One of the most frequent things I get asked about is unsolicited goods. Many people believe that if they receive something sent by mistake they can keep it. Here are five situations in which people commonly think they can keep the goods when they legally can’t.

I have received an item that I did not order from a company I have used before. Can I keep it?

This is highly likely to be a mistake as your details will be on the company’s computer system and have been muddled with somebody else’s as a result of an administrative error.

You should contact the company and tell them that you have received the item and that you expect them, or their courier, to come and collect it. Give them a deadline for when they should do this and if you do not hear from them by this date you will dispose of the item.

I ordered one item and a different item came. Can I keep the item and get my money back for the item I ordered?

No. This is clearly an administrative error. You should contact the company, tell them what has happened and request return procedure details. Ensure that you are not paying for the return of the item. Although you are able to return an item within 14 days for a change of mind this is not a change of mind. This is the company’s error and they must pay for the return postage. You also need to make sure you have an evidence trail of the paperwork to show that you informed them that the wrong item was sent and returned so that you get refunded correctly.

The item was sent to my address but not in my name. Can I keep it?

You cannot keep the item. Look for a company address and contact the company regarding return.

I ordered an item from Company A. Company B supplies A and both sent me the item. Can I keep both?

This is a mistake. You will need to contact the company with which you do not have the contract (the company you did not pay) and arrange collection/return.

I received an order I cancelled. Can I keep it?

This is a mistake. As above, you need to arrange for a return by a deadline you give.

True unsolicited goods

Most people are familiar with the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971. However, 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 explanatory note that accompanies 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”.

Explanatory note to the legislation.

You are under no legal obligation to contact the trader and can keep the goods. However, truly unsolicited goods sent within the UK are very rare these days.

woman holding box unsolicited goods your rightsFurther help

If you have issues such as those above, they will probably fall into a breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which means you can still get redress.

Top 20 tips for complaining effectively.

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For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

How to complain to DFS and gain redress

The Complaining Cow doesn’t sit around when solving a recliner sofa problem

Lorraine’s complaint against DFSsofa showing huge gap in the middle between the two seats at the front

In November last year Lorraine bought two recliner sofas from DFS. When they arrived she discovered that one of the recliners didn’t work, the sofas moved and separated and didn’t match. One recliner tipped right over while people were on it and again when her grandson was on it and when her friend’s large dog jumped up onto it.

Lorraine contacted DFS on the day of delivery regarding the broken recliner and was told that it could take up to 8-12 weeks for a replacement if the broken one couldn’t be fixed.

sofa woman with baby on one side with hand down the middle showing the gap

Days later she called again about the dangerous tipping of the other sofa and asked for it to be taken away. DFS refused to so this. Oddly she was told that the movement was normal and that once reclined you weren’t supposed to move! Not moving when sitting down? Really? In any case, in addition to this absurdity she had been told in store that it was safe for the children if they climbed on it, even when in the reclined position. Lorraine said that DFS staff “didn’t seem bothered that it had tipped with people in it”.

Continuing complaint against DFS

Over the next few days she spoke to a number of people from DFS. She dealt with different people from various departments as she was sent from pillar to post. One of the reasons I always advocate writing not phoning is to avoid this situation as well as ensuring you have your evidence trail. Eventually she spoke to the manager of the store who, when she asked for a refund, told her “that’s not going to happen”. She explained about all the problems with the sofas, in particular the issues with children’s arms getting trapped. The photos and even a video showing the tipping were still not enough to get a refund, according to DFS.

DFS said they would send out a representative to come out assess the sofa.
Then Lorraine got in touch with me….

The Complaining Cow resolves DFS customer complaint

Lorraine had already agreed that DFS could inspect the sofas the following day, so I advised her to write, stating that she reserved her rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. (CRA). The CRA states that if the item is not of satisfactory quality that the customer is entitled to a full refund up to 30 days from point of purchase. Having reported one issue on the day of delivery and another days later, she was entitled to a full refund on both. Reserving her rights meant that she could still reject the sofas.

In the meantime… I advised Lorraine to write to the CEO (find contact details for CEOs at ceoemail.com and refer to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and her right to reject the goods for a full refund. I also advised threatening to take the matter to the Furniture Ombudsman.

DFS complaint resolved to the full satisfaction of the customer
Within 24 hours the head of DFS Group Customer Services telephoned, apologised most profusely and confirmed her sofas would be collected. Lorraine received a full refund of £2225.

More help for complaining effectively about furniture.

Rip Off Britain Independent reports

For more help on complaining effectively see Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

 

 

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For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Lorraine’s review of the book is here.

 

 

 

 

 

Sofa with gap in middle