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I bought a gaming wheel in November and after a couple hours of use, it broke. The refund process was a little bit of a pain but I managed to get a label and took it to a courier.

Once it arrived at their facility, they confirmed it was faulty and agreed on a refund. A few days ago, I received a replacement, and over the next few days they also gave me a refund through PayPal.

They sent me an email confirming their mistake and they will send a courier to pick it up from my place.

My question is, if they forget to email me (would not be the first time) to arrange a delivery, am I allowed to keep the item?

Thank you.

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It seems odd to even think about this until after it happened...

But if it does happen, then the right thing to do would be to set it aside, and contact them again. If after a while (perhaps a couple of weeks, or maybe a month) you don't hear back from them and they don't pick it up, then I suppose it would be OK to assume you can keep it. How long you should wait is certainly subjective, and may depend on the value of the item. If it's valued at $500 I'd hold it longer than if it is worth $50.

Note if you do keep it, and they eventually contact you about the item in the future, I would be prepared to either purchase or return at the later time, if you still have it.

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  • This sounds like a (perfectly sensible) opinion answer. Authoritative answers would be over on Law.SE.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 26 '20 at 0:13
  • @RonJohn hehe, I'd be surprised if there are laws for this scenario. But if there are, it would require a country tag at a minimum.
    – TTT
    Dec 26 '20 at 0:29
  • My guess is that this has to do with contract law, and that there would at least be case law on the matter. But yes a country tag is definitely needed.
    – RonJohn
    Dec 26 '20 at 0:33
  • Thank you for your reply. That's the current plan, but I was wondering if there is anything else I should know about this type of situation. Thank you! Dec 26 '20 at 0:41
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Under US law, you're entitled to keep unsolicited merchandise and not pay for it. Whether you should or not is up to you and your conscience.

About twenty years ago I bought an expensive remote control from an online retailer. Worked fine. Six months later they sent me another one. Followed by an e-mail -- they had updated their order-management software, and somehow ended up sending out hundreds of duplicates of previously-filled orders. They pointed out that I was entitled to keep it, and that they were not entitled to demand payment. If I didn't respond, that would be the end of the matter. But if I was willing to send it back to them, they'd arrange return shipping and give me a credit for 10% of its value. I sent it back, and didn't use the credit.

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  • 3
    This wasn't unsolicited. He asked them to send it to him. Dec 26 '20 at 20:51
  • 1
    @DavidSchwartz — no, he asked for the first one. They refunded his payment for that one. He didn’t ask for the second one. Dec 27 '20 at 0:36
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    That's not how the law works. By asking for the first one, he solicited the receipt of the item. Once a person requests an item, the item is not unsolicited. See 39 USC 3009(d). Courts have held that the solicitation doesn't even have to be for the same item but applies to anything sent in response to the solicitation that is not part of a malicious attempt to bill for unordered merchandise. Dec 27 '20 at 1:44
  • @DavidSchwartz — “ (d) For the purposes of this section, “un­ordered merchandise” means merchandise mailed without the prior expressed request or consent of the recipient.” He asked for and was given a refund. End of transaction. Dec 27 '20 at 2:22
  • That is not how courts have ruled and it's also not consistent with what the law says. The law says there has to have been prior consent at some point in the past, which there was. The law doesn't say anything about the consent being terminated, and courts have held, with absolute 100% consistency, that you can't keep something that was shipped to you by mistake. Dec 27 '20 at 4:28

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