Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: AylaM on May 07, 2013, 10:06:53 PM

Title: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: AylaM on May 07, 2013, 10:06:53 PM
Dad ordered a rather expensive gadget for my mother, and it came with a "start-up package". 

When he got the package it appears that the packer put a case of one of the items in instead of a single item (it is small so unless the packer knew what it was, a case wouldn't seem too out of place).   The item itself isn't really expensive but he received quite a few of them, totaling over $50 in free stuff.

Dad just received it today and wasn't sure what to do with it.  He looked at the store's return policy and it said he'd be responsible for shipping fees.  I told him they'd likely make an exception if he told them what they did.  He doesn't really want to call.

I'm of the mind that he should call, but if they wont pay to ship their stuff back he should keep it.  But I'm thinking he is leaning towards "free stuff!" and "I don't want to call customer service".

Should I drop it and let him do whatever he wants (store's mistake after all) or convince him to return the merchandise?
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: peaches on May 07, 2013, 10:09:53 PM
I would contact the company, if it happened to me. I wouldn't expect or be willing to spend money on shipping. It would be up the company to make an effort to retrieve the merchandise.

But your father is an adult. He is capable of making up his own mind. You've given your opinion; I'd leave it at that.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: sarahj21 on May 07, 2013, 10:58:25 PM
POD peaches. He didn't order extra items. He should email or call them (whether he made the order online or over the phone) and ask them to send a postage-paid envelope or similar in order for them to be returned. He could then drop it into a post box or post office at his convenience. I wouldn't pay for return shipping either because even if he does get reimbursed, it could take ages, and it would annoy me to have to wait to be refunded my own money like that.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: Deetee on May 07, 2013, 11:54:37 PM
For myself, I would try but I would put a lot less effort into correcting the stores mistake than I would if it was my own.

I would call or email once. If I ended up in endless phone hold land being directed to their website there is a good chance I would just hang up.

I would not pay for shipping even if I got reimbursed. I would take the package to either of two places in the nearby shopping center but not to any other that I would need to waste time driving too.

Basically I would notify them off the error, but I expect them to do 90% of the work to get the item back.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: cicero on May 08, 2013, 12:34:00 AM
I would contact the store and let them known (a) because it is an obvious mistake and the freebies aren't mine and ( b) because I wouldn't want the packer to continue making the same mistake over and over.

However, since it is a store mistake I wouldn't go out of my way to return the item I would be willing to give it to a UPS person or drop it at the post office but nothing that would cost me considerable time /effort/money
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: bopper on May 08, 2013, 09:52:29 AM
I would call but not expect to have to do any work.
Like "if you send a postage-paid envelope I will send them back."

The store may not even bother...one time I ordered some kind of throw/blanket and they sent the wrong one. I called and told them this, and they sent the right one but said not to bother sending back the other one.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: dawbs on May 08, 2013, 09:55:40 AM
I'd call...
but I'll second that I put minimal effort in.

I dealt w/ incompetent people who wanted me to pay them to ship something I hadn't ordered back to them last time I dealt w/ Amazon on that.
I explained myself 3 times, they told me to pay for shipping, they'd reimburse me, I declined and eventuallyhung up on them and gave my FIL a very nice watch as a Christmas gift.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: Hmmmmm on May 08, 2013, 10:22:47 AM
I would call but not expect to have to do any work.
Like "if you send a postage-paid envelope I will send them back."

The store may not even bother...one time I ordered some kind of throw/blanket and they sent the wrong one. I called and told them this, and they sent the right one but said not to bother sending back the other one.

This. It might cost more to mail it back then for them to just have you keep it.

DH ordered a $30 item that arrived damaged. Not shipping damage, but faulty. He called, they immediately refunded his money to his credit card. He contacted them again and said "don't you want me to send it back to you to confirm it was damaged?" They said no, they believed him and it wasn't worth his or their trouble.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: LadyClaire on May 08, 2013, 10:57:31 AM
Back in the days of LiveJournal, a woman posted a story on one of the groups I belonged to about Amazon sending her an entire pallet of cut crystal decanters instead of the one she had ordered. She contacted them repeatedly about returning them and never got a real response. So she kept them. She had pictures of this huge number of decanters sitting in her living room..it was pretty funny. She ended up giving some as gifts, donating others, and so on.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: LadyClaire on May 08, 2013, 11:00:04 AM
I once bought some books from Barnes and Noble, online. The package came and was bigger than it should've been. They had sent me some books I had not ordered. One was a coffee table book of sexual positions, complete with very detailed illustrations and instructions (not the kuma satra, this was more modern by far). The other books were part of a romance series about a woman and a pair of brothers. I called BN and asked if they'd like them back, because they weren't really my cup of tea. They sent me a paid return shipping label, and I sent the books back.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: CoryanderX on May 08, 2013, 11:18:45 AM
I agree with others that I'd make a basic effort to let them know of the mistake and give them a chance to fix it. The more effort they expect me to put in, the less obligation I would feel to accomodate them. I'm not going to call repeatedly trying to reach someone, I'm not going to pay for their mistake (regardless of any promise to reimburse me), I'm not going to drive way out of my way. If he does call, he should think in advance about what he's willing to do for them, if anything.

I'd put a BIT more effort in if it were something really valuable. Your story made me think of reports I'd read where people who had ordered a single iPad received a case of a dozen iPads instead -- if that happened to me, I'd at least call the company a few times if I had to, although I'd still consider it their problem, not mine, if they made it too hard for me to return them.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: bloo on May 08, 2013, 11:50:32 AM
For myself, I would try but I would put a lot less effort into correcting the stores mistake than I would if it was my own.

I would call or email once. If I ended up in endless phone hold land being directed to their website there is a good chance I would just hang up.

I would not pay for shipping even if I got reimbursed. I would take the package to either of two places in the nearby shopping center but not to any other that I would need to waste time driving too.

Basically I would notify them off the error, but I expect them to do 90% of the work to get the item back.

Agreed. I don't have the mindset of 'free stuff' when it comes to things like this.

I'd had super cool manual can opener that I loved and 14 years in, it quit working. It was pricey and heavy duty so I called the company, Kuhn Rikon to see if it could be fixed and if not, could they recycle it if I sent it back. They explained they could not fix it but would recycle it and even they were impressed that it lasted that long. When I said I'd like to buy a new one they said they'd send me one as a gift (woohoo!) as well as a labeled, postage-paid envelope to send them my old one.

Well, when they sent me two can openers (in two separate deliveries), I immediately contacted Kuhn Rikon, who thanked me for my honesty and they told me to keep it! (woohoo again!).

If OP's dad sold something over Ebay and accidentally included something else, I'm sure he'd appreciate the buyer's efforts of trying to return it.

The company will likely send something like a postage paid label or envelope to send the gadgets back if they want them (they may decide it's not worth the hassle and tell OP's dad to keep them. But the company should be given at least one chance to make that decision.

As far as the OP, I agree that Dad is an adult and this is his issue and OP can share her feelings and then leave it alone, no matter what her dad does.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: DavidH on May 08, 2013, 11:58:41 AM
Keeping it without making any effort at all to return it is like the dog food thread, it's basically stealing since you know it wasn't paid for because of a mistake and did nothing.  On the other hand, I don't think you should be obliged to pay for their mistake.  I'd call once or twice and explain what happened.  If they decide to send a mailing label I'd send it back, either by taking it to the post office or leaving it for the delivery service driver.  I wouldn't pay to send it back, and I wouldn't make multiple phone calls to insist they take it back.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: Calistoga on May 08, 2013, 12:05:53 PM
The extent of my effort would be calling and letting them know. If they say they'll pay for shipping, then I'll send it back...but I'm not going to pay them to fix a mistake that they made. It might end up that with the shipping, it's cheaper just to let your dad keep the stuff.

It wouldn't be right not to contact them at all. But it would also be beyond gracious to PAY for a mistake they made when it's much easier and profitable to keep the stuff.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: AylaM on May 08, 2013, 12:11:36 PM
I got a look at it  today.  He was supposed to get one of the item and he received 6 of them.  I looked it up they retail between $15-$25 new.

He is currently saying that he doesn't know what he is going to do.  Which is better than yesterday's response, I suppose. 
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: VorFemme on May 08, 2013, 12:16:23 PM
I would call but not expect to have to do any work.
Like "if you send a postage-paid envelope I will send them back."

The store may not even bother...one time I ordered some kind of throw/blanket and they sent the wrong one. I called and told them this, and they sent the right one but said not to bother sending back the other one.

This. It might cost more to mail it back then for them to just have you keep it.

DH ordered a $30 item that arrived damaged. Not shipping damage, but faulty. He called, they immediately refunded his money to his credit card. He contacted them again and said "don't you want me to send it back to you to confirm it was damaged?" They said no, they believed him and it wasn't worth his or their trouble.

I just ordered a driver disk off Amazon last month, when it came in, I went to do a clean install of the operating system on a formatted hard drive (issues had been developing - possibly due to power blinks).  The driver disk had the pretty label on it but nothing burned into it.  I contacted Amazon and they contacted the seller.  I got reimbursed for the driver disk, not the shipping & handling.  They said to just keep the disk......(blank cd costs a lot less than the $5 shipping & handling).

Then I ordered a replacement driver disk from the company on eBay that I had bought last time (but mislaid).  It should be here soon.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: whiskeytangofoxtrot on May 08, 2013, 12:26:15 PM
Chances are good that the retailer won't even ask for the items back; the markup on electronics is pretty high, and it may cost more for them to have it shipped back than the merchandise is worth. I've had incorrect or extra items shipped to me before; all but one of the merchants said not to worry about it, and my conscience was clear for having contacted. There have only been two cases that I can think of where they did want the item back, and both emailed me a shipping label to return the item at their expense.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: mumma to KMC on May 08, 2013, 01:09:20 PM
They made the mistake, and if it can't be corrected without money coming out of my pocket, then I wouldn't make much of an effort to return it.

A few years ago, I ordered something from an online store on Cyber Monday. The company's website had great sale items and couldn't up with the traffic, so the website kept crashing through out the day, but I managed to place an order for three items before it crashed for good.

My stuff arrived, I was super excited, but noticed that the charge never hit my credit card. I watched for two weeks before calling. The first time, I was on hold for nearly an hour and finally got a hold of someone only to get disconnected, from their end. Two days later I tried again, got a hold of them and when the lady tried pulling up the info, their system crashed. I didn't try again after that. I felt bad about it but I couldn't get a hold of anyone to fix the error and had a life to live, and I was not able to spend hours on hold.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: Margo on May 08, 2013, 01:31:36 PM
I agree with PPs that there is an obligation to notify the seller of their mistake. 

Keeping the things without making any attempt to resolve the issue is no better than stealing (it's a kind of 'theft by finding') But he doesn't have any obligation to go out of his way to fix their mistake. If they send a prepaid envelope then it's reasonable to put it in a mail box. It the items are big enough that this would involve a special trip to the post office then I think he's fine to say 'no, but I'll make them available for you to collect' He should not be incurring any expense.

Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: FenigDurak on May 08, 2013, 01:36:20 PM
I had this happen to me with a computer company (Farmer in the ___) when I ordered a replacement laptop battery. I received it, installed it and went only merry way. A week later they sent me a second battery. I called customer service, but because the way their system is set up, if I were to return it I'd be refunded for the battery I paid for (essentially getting a free battery), so they let me keep it.

You Dad should take the time to call them. It's a few minutes out of his life and he'll earn some good universe points.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: White Lotus on May 08, 2013, 08:18:48 PM
Technically, if someone sends you something you did not order, I think it is considered a gift.  That is so people can't just send tons of unordered junk to people, bill them for it, and expect to actually collect. Morally, ethically, everybody here agrees one should at least make a good faith effort to tell the sender, and put in minimal effort -- but no money -- to get it back to them.  I come down with the group.  We are in fact better than we have to be and isn't that nice?
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: bloo on May 09, 2013, 06:25:01 AM
Technically, if someone sends you something you did not order, I think it is considered a gift.  That is so people can't just send tons of unordered junk to people, bill them for it, and expect to actually collect. Morally, ethically, everybody here agrees one should at least make a good faith effort to tell the sender, and put in minimal effort -- but no money -- to get it back to them.  I come down with the group.  We are in fact better than we have to be and isn't that nice?

I agree with everything but your first sentence. Mistake does not equal 'gift'. If I mistakenly give something to a friend, I appreciate her saying, "Oh I don't think you meant to give me this, did you?" If I mistakenly hand a cashier a $20 bill instead of a $5, she/he is not to assume the extra change above the $5 is a gift just because I'm not paying attention, right? A gift is given with thought beforehand because you want to.

Ordering one thing and receiving six is not a gift, it's a mistake by the company. A good faith effort, like you said, to correct the mistake should be offered by the buyer/purchaser.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: Girlie on May 09, 2013, 01:21:37 PM
First question should be: If I made the mistake and gave someone too much, what would I want them to do? If your answer is that you'd prefer them to be completely straightforward and honest about it, then that's the best course of action for you to take personally.

Karma and all that, you know?
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: bopper on May 10, 2013, 10:03:00 AM
I once bought some books from Barnes and Noble, online. The package came and was bigger than it should've been. They had sent me some books I had not ordered. One was a coffee table book of sexual positions, complete with very detailed illustrations and instructions (not the kuma satra, this was more modern by far). The other books were part of a romance series about a woman and a pair of brothers. I called BN and asked if they'd like them back, because they weren't really my cup of tea. They sent me a paid return shipping label, and I sent the books back.

I ordered something online (forget where), but it was something that was NOT books. I got the item, but also a "nursing instruction manual".  I didn't even bother calling.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: shhh its me on May 12, 2013, 08:40:21 PM
Technically, if someone sends you something you did not order, I think it is considered a gift.  That is so people can't just send tons of unordered junk to people, bill them for it, and expect to actually collect. Morally, ethically, everybody here agrees one should at least make a good faith effort to tell the sender, and put in minimal effort -- but no money -- to get it back to them.  I come down with the group.  We are in fact better than we have to be and isn't that nice?

I agree with everything but your first sentence. Mistake does not equal 'gift'. If I mistakenly give something to a friend, I appreciate her saying, "Oh I don't think you meant to give me this, did you?" If I mistakenly hand a cashier a $20 bill instead of a $5, she/he is not to assume the extra change above the $5 is a gift just because I'm not paying attention, right? A gift is given with thought beforehand because you want to.

Ordering one thing and receiving six is not a gift, it's a mistake by the company. A good faith effort, like you said, to correct the mistake should be offered by the buyer/purchaser.

The first sentence is true , (look it up as this may have changed over the years/in locations/circumstances) White lotus is referring to a consumer protection law from the 60 or 70s if I remember correctly.

That said I think an effort should be made to return an item sent in error , I don't think you are obligated to spend any money or inordinate amount of time doing so. 

I don't know though how many times you can tell an adult what they should do with an item they received in error.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: TootsNYC on May 13, 2013, 09:51:48 AM
It wouldn't surprise me if that consumer-protection law did *not* extend to situations in which you ordered something, but was instead limited to situations in which you have no relationship with the company.
Title: Re: How hard do you try to correct the store's mistake?
Post by: bloo on May 13, 2013, 10:11:55 AM
Technically, if someone sends you something you did not order, I think it is considered a gift.  That is so people can't just send tons of unordered junk to people, bill them for it, and expect to actually collect. Morally, ethically, everybody here agrees one should at least make a good faith effort to tell the sender, and put in minimal effort -- but no money -- to get it back to them.  I come down with the group.  We are in fact better than we have to be and isn't that nice?

I agree with everything but your first sentence. Mistake does not equal 'gift'. If I mistakenly give something to a friend, I appreciate her saying, "Oh I don't think you meant to give me this, did you?" If I mistakenly hand a cashier a $20 bill instead of a $5, she/he is not to assume the extra change above the $5 is a gift just because I'm not paying attention, right? A gift is given with thought beforehand because you want to.

Ordering one thing and receiving six is not a gift, it's a mistake by the company. A good faith effort, like you said, to correct the mistake should be offered by the buyer/purchaser.

The first sentence is true , (look it up as this may have changed over the years/in locations/circumstances) White lotus is referring to a consumer protection law from the 60 or 70s if I remember correctly.

That said I think an effort should be made to return an item sent in error , I don't think you are obligated to spend any money or inordinate amount of time doing so. 

I don't know though how many times you can tell an adult what they should do with an item they received in error.

I still don't agree with it. I'm not interested in the legalities of it, just the ethics.

It wouldn't surprise me if that consumer-protection law did *not* extend to situations in which you ordered something, but was instead limited to situations in which you have no relationship with the company.

Good point!