Unsolicited goods: Man gets surprise parcel with £260 bill and is told to ‘pay up’ or go to court
On 27th June George received an unexpected parcel containing an electric blanket and an invoice – but when he tried to dispute it, the call line went dead
Reader George from Sheffield received a shock this week when he received court papers served on him by an unscrupulous trader.
On 27th June George received an unexpected parcel containing an electric blanket and an invoice for £259.99 payable in 14 days.
There was no return address with the packaging/invoice but there was a phone number displayed.
George called the number but there was no answer.
For the next three weeks he continued to try the number, and, on each occasion, no-one answered. He then received a debt collection letter stating that he had 7 days to pay in full, failing which court proceedings would follow.
Again, George tried to call the number without success. All then went very quiet.
Then on 11 th October George received a further letter this time containing court papers claiming payment of the £259.99 plus £125 solicitor costs and £25 court fee.
George contacted me for help.
I’ve immediately told George that this is a scam, but rather than taking his money he’s in the unique situation where the fraudster is the one that’s lost out this time.
Here’s why: George did not order the electric blanket, so this is classed as ‘unsolicited goods’.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 state that where a consumer receives unsolicited goods they are treated as an unconditional gift – meaning that you do not have to pay for them or return them. These court proceedings are therefore doomed to failure. Its also worth mentioning that George has now seen the same electric blanket for sale in Argos for £109.99.
In contrast to George’s story, Helen from Leeds was sent two pairs of trainers by Sports Direct ‘by mistake’.
She asked me if she was entitled to keep them and I advised that she wasn’t, as they had been sent to her in error and Sports Direct were therefore entitled to get them back or receive payment.
However, in these circumstances, Helen did not have to pay the cost of sending the trainers back
News source: Dean Dunham