Gifts in the Mail

Authored by , LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

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What Is a Gift in the Mail?

While it is relatively common to have products delivered to your home, situations do arise when you receive something in the mail that you never ordered. It could be he package was delivered to the wrong person or address, and the problem can be resolved by returning the package to your local post office or delivery service.  

However, the package may be properly addressed, and what you find inside may be something you wish to keep. The question arises: may you keep the package.

What Should I do If I Receive a Package I Never Ordered?

If you receive an item in the mail that you did not order, you do not need to pay for it.  If the package is clearly and correctly addressed to you, you can treat the item as a gift. If someone later sends you a bill, you should respond with a letter clearly stating your intention to treat the item as a gift. If the bills or collection letters persist, you may demand that the seller send you documented proof of your order.  If the seller denies your request for proof of purchase and continues to send you bills, you should contact the Consumer Protection Agency in the state in which the seller is located. You may also report the seller to the United States Postal Service for suspected mail fraud.

If the seller does provide you with documented proof of your order, you should also consider the possibility that you mistakenly or unknowingly signed up for the gift. You may have done this by responding to an advertisement which promised a free gift, but contained fine print at the bottom or on the back of the form in which you agreed to buy something in the future or even join a club. If this is the case, you should contact the seller immediately and inform them that you do not wish to join their club and that you would like to be removed from their mailing list. In some cases, the seller may require you to return the item you received.   

Should I Speak with an Attorney?

If you have received something in the mail that you never ordered but now wish to keep, you may want to consult an attorney who can offer you advice on whether you can keep the item as a gift. If you think you may have been a victim of mail fraud or some other illegal scheme and have suffered damages as a result, you should contact an attorney. If someone is requesting that you owe them money for something that you did not order, an attorney can advise you of your liability.

If you have been accused of mail fraud, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate through the complex litigation issues and provide you the best legal options and defenses available.   

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Last Modified: 02-11-2014 02:23 PM PST

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