Educational Consumer Tips

Unordered Merchandise

Author: Better Business Bureau

The following comments provide general nformation for consumers and do not necessarily reflect the practices or record of any particular company.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you receive merchandise which you did not order, you have a legal right to keep the shipment as a free gift. While you have no legal obligation to do so, sending a letter stating your intention to keep the shipment as a free gift is an advisable precaution. Your letter may discourage the seller from sending bills or dunning notices or to clear up an honest error.

It is legal for companies to send merchandise when asking for contributions. If ordering goods advertised as "Free or Trial Offer", it is important that you read all the fine print carefully to make sure that you are not joining a club with regular purchasing obligations, if that is not your intent.