Legal Question in Consumer Law in New Jersey

I ordered one item and was billed for one. The shipment invoice indicates one item, but there are in fact five identical items. What are my obligations with regards to the other 4? The item i bought is $399 USD, and I live in the U.S.

Asked on 12/09/12, 1:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC

One could almost fashion a law school exam question around these facts. The extra four items are not "unsolicited merchandise" within the meaning of 39 U.S.C. 3009 so you have no statutory basis to keep them even if you received them by mail. The circumstances are such that it is clear that an error was made and that the merchant did not intend to convey title to you. It is also clear that you know or should know that the property is not yours. The New Jersey criminal code, N.J.S.A. 2C:20-6 makes retention and conversion of such property a criminal offense. For a more general description of the history and issues, you can refer to,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property.

Your obligation is to notify the merchant of the mistake and, arguably, to take reasonable measures to keep it safe. You are not under any obligation to incur cost to insure or return the merchandise. So, write to the merchant and ask that they provide you with a pre-paid bill of lading for return via a common carrier. Return the excess and keep what is yours.

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Answered on 12/10/12, 6:30 am

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