What to Do When You Are Mailed an Unsolicited Product and Billed For It
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine. She was at her wits end due to a collection letter she had just received. About two months ago she had received an unsolicited product in the mail. What I mean by an unsolicited product is a product she never asked for, nor did she authorize it to be sent to her. She had written “return to sender” on the package and left it in her mailbox for the postal carrier to pick up. She thought that was the end of it. She was in for a surprise.
A Big Ugly Bully
One day my friend started receiving bills for the unsolicited product she had received and even though she disputed the bills and tried to explain her case, the bill was handed over to a collection agency. The agency continuously harassed my friend with letters and phone calls even though she disputed the debt.
Apparently, a number of debt collection agencies don’t bother to obey the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (I’ll give you all more information on that another day). This was one of those companies. My friend could have just paid the $29.95 plus shipping and gotten it over with, but why pay for something you never asked for, didn’t want and went so far as to return.
Unfortunately, my friend isn’t the only person this has happened to. This is a common practice employed by unscrupulous companies bent on getting your money.
What Do You Do?
First and foremost, you need to understand that you are by no means obligated to pay for a product you never ordered. If an unsolicited product comes to you in the mail, the law says you are free to keep that product and do with it what you wish. If a company tries to make you pay for a product you didn’t order, you can report them to the U.S. Postal Inspector and get them in a heap of trouble.
If you receive an unsolicited product from a reputable company and it looks like an honest error, contact the company via mail, email or phone and let them know that you are giving them three weeks to send a courier to pick up the package. While you’re not required to do this by law, it is the nice thing to do. If the company doesn’t send someone to get the package, the product is yours.