Legality or moral ethics

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GWR_fan
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Legality or moral ethics

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:21 pm

Some weeks ago I received an incorrect item from a particular store with the article received but a fraction of the price of the item that I purchased. The store told me to return the item, which I immediately did and to their credit immediately refunded me the return postage when an image of the postal receipt was emailed to them, even though postal time to return was another two weeks. It seems though that the recipient of my relatively expensive item has not yet returned the item that they received to the store, even though four weeks has elapsed.

It is obviously morally reprehensible for the customer to keep the incorrect item, however, I am wondering as to the legality of the situation. Has the customer stolen the item received as he did not actually pay the full selling price of the item? All the store will tell me is that they as yet have not received the item back from the customer. I decided to cancel the purchase and a full refund was immediately given.

I have no issue with the store as mistakes do very occasionally occur, however, I see the other customer benefiting from the mistake.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:47 pm

I would say that if they can prove the item was delivered to the other party (signed for delivery), they have arranged collection of the item (asking the other party to return it may not be enough), have sent the item purchased, then if it is not given to their collecting agent they have a valid civil claim for the items value, plus costs. It might just come under criminal law as theft by finding/ retention. It all depends upon what their administrative costs in trying to retrieve it might be, could be cheaper for them to write it off. Doesn't mean the person who has it is any less of a scumbag.
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sparkhill
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby sparkhill » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:51 pm

It sounds similar to a situation where one finds over a million $$$$ has been put into their bank account by mistake spend it and you are in big trouble, it always pays to be honest.
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End2end
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby End2end » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:32 pm

From the other side, the store is incompetent so it's thier fault.
It seems incompetence is the new way to do business with the usual rhetoric being "sorry there is no manager around for you to speak to".
I'm sick of it.
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Last edited by End2end on Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GWR_fan
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby GWR_fan » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:45 pm

End2end wrote:From the other side, the store is incompetent so it's thier fault.............End2end


Yes, a mistake was made and to their credit the store immediately acknowledged that human error was to blame (understandable given the number of items packed each day). The store has been very helpful in trying to remedy the situation as detailed in the original posting so as mentioned previously I have no issue with the site. My issue is with the customer who has decided apparently to keep the more expensive item.

I have literally purchased several hundred items from the store and this episode, as well as a duplication of an item sent, have been the only problems that I have experienced. In both instances the store was very helpful in trying to solve the issue. The point of my posting is criticism of the apparent "thief" taking advantage of a simple, understandable error on the part of the store.

Bigmet
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby Bigmet » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:01 pm

If it is within the UK, then it should be returned. But in the event that the recipient isn't willing to cooperate this will only happen if the retailer is inclined to make the effort and expenditure to recover it.

If it happens to now be outside the UK, the location's national law applies. Can be unrecoverable from some locations. I have known this happen in business.

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Phat Controller
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby Phat Controller » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:34 pm

I have come across this before first hand, when I ordered a cable we needed for our equipment. Parcel was sent to wrong customer, and we received their order. We promptly called the store, told them of the error, and were credited the amount even before we sent the item back! We ordered again the same item and it was promptly dispatched again and we received it the next day.

Now all that turned out nicely for us, however the store was out 1 expensive cable. It is up to them to recover the cable and send another out (after reordering) not for us to wait for the other customer to send the cable back and then get it re-posted out!

That is the nuts and bolts of it.

Your point is that the customer should of sent the wrong (and more expensive) item back. Yes he should, it is technically "theft by deception", and again (as other posters has said) it depends on where the recipient is, (outside the country of origin or not) but that being said, there's a moral precedent to return the wrong item to make things right, even having a discussion about it shows that the world has become morally corrupt, and people are now pressured to do the right thing, rather that doing it of their own accord!

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Bufferstop
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:10 pm

I assumed from GWR_fan's remarks that this was a secondhand item so they couldn't send another.
The last wrong delivery we had was from Amazon, two paperback books in the box for a £1100 laptop computer. Carefull examination of the box revealed how the tape on the bottom seal had been unstuck on one side, the inner flaps torn and half of the base pushed inwards, then all pressed back into place and then pushed around on the floor of the van to disguise the interference. It was one of those invisible delivery attempts that turned up the next day.
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alex3410
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby alex3410 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:48 am

I’m glad the store is sorting it out for you, I have had a few similar situations in the past with the seller refusing to help implying I am at fault :evil: the last one was an Ofer that only had 1/2 the volume ordered & took a fair bit of faffing around to resolve :roll:

Other times the seller has told us to keep the wrong item as the return postage costs would have been more then the value of the item :lol:

GWR_fan
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:55 am

As regards the cost of the item that I incorrectly received, well the price of the article (an EFE "Scottish Borders" bus model) was only marginally higher by a few dollars than the economy airmail return postage cost. Thus the store has not only lost with refunding the return shipping cost but has refunded me the cost of the item I purchased (apparently) and lost the item that should have been sent to me. The store packer maybe has been asked a few questions.

As yet I am unable to find the refund in my PayPal account that the store help desk assistant advised me had been paid to me. I will give it a few days before requesting the transaction ID.

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stuartp
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby stuartp » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:54 am

In the same vein, if I receive an item I never ordered with no invoice or sender's address enclosed, assuming I allow a reasonable tme for the seller to realise that they've mailed it out to the wrong customer, can I legitimately put it in the charity bag ?

I assume it's an ebay seller we've dealt with prevously, but I've no idea which one.
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GWR_fan
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:05 am

stuartp wrote:In the same vein, if I receive an item I never ordered with no invoice or sender's address enclosed, assuming I allow a reasonable tme for the seller to realise that they've mailed it out to the wrong customer, can I legitimately put it in the charity bag ?

I assume it's an ebay seller we've dealt with prevously, but I've no idea which one.


Firstly, receiving unsolicited mail or packages under Australian law bestows ownership of the item on the person, the mail or package is addressed to. In the past companies like Readers Digest would send unsolicited books or sets of music CD's or travel DVD's to unsolicited customers, requiring the receiver to mail the item back within a limited timeframe if not wanted or be invoiced for the goods. The law was to stop such actions.

Secondly, the issue I have is with a store with no relationship to an eBay seller.

heda
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby heda » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:57 am

Out of interest If you buy something online but receive something that is worth a lot less (as in Bufferstops case) or even an empty box, assuming the packaging is intact but the seller insists they sent the correct item where do you stand in law, Who can prove which party is telling the truth.
Example and I do mean this as hypothetical, what if Bufferstop had received the laptop but claimed it was only two books ?

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b308
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby b308 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:04 am

GWR_fan wrote: receiving unsolicited mail or packages under Australian law bestows ownership of the item on the person, the mail or package is addressed to. In the past companies like Readers Digest would send unsolicited books or sets of music CD's or travel DVD's to unsolicited customers, requiring the receiver to mail the item back within a limited timeframe if not wanted or be invoiced for the goods. The law was to stop such actions..


I can understand that law, but this scenario was subtly different, you were expecting something from them so it wasn't unsolicited, just what was in the parcel wasn't what you were expecting. So I am not sure that law would apply in this case. I suspect it would have to go to a court to decide which way it should be read as that's not what the lawmakers were intending when they wrote the law. I don't think any of us are experts on Australian Law, let alone interpretations of it. Just out of interest has it been tested in court in similar circumstances?

GWR_fan
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Re: Legality or moral ethics

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:37 am

B308,
My last response was in relation to Stuart's posting as regarding receiving an unsolicited package. In the issue as regards the customer receiving my relatively expensive item instead of the less expensive bus that he purchased, my initial posting was he legally entitled to retain the incorrect item as morally I feel that he is duty bound to return the item to enable receipt of the item that he initially purchased? As the store has not as yet received the item then one may assume that he has had the item for at least the last three weeks.

My initial response from the store upon receiving the incorrect item was that the customer was aware that he had the wrong item and apparently was returning it. That was three weeks ago and the store still has not received the item. Perhaps he had a change of heart.


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