NJ Law: Can I Keep Someone Else’s Package Delivered to Me?
Sometimes you may order something online and momentarily forget you ordered it.
Then, there's a ringing of your doorbell, you open the door and there's a package on your doorstep!
It's like Christmas morning for adults, right?
Well, what if you didn't order something, no one ordered something for you, and still, a package appears on your doorstep?
I mean it's a big package - and it's actually addressed to someone else who lives somewhere else. What do you do?
Well, if you live in New Jersey, the law is the same as if you lived anywhere else in the USA.
You can keep that sucker!
Their (the package delivery people) mistake is your score!
Wait, back up.
Yes, legally you can keep it.
The Federal Trade Commission says "... you never have to pay for things you get but didn’t order. You also don’t have to return unordered merchandise. You’re legally entitled to keep it as a free gift."
Hello Super Air Fryer!
Wait, back up again.
Yes, legally you can keep any package delivered to your address, whether it's addressed to you or not. What about that little angel on your other shoulder? Is it morally right to keep that delivery?
Oh, great, thanks for that!
"Aye, there's the rub!" Morally, gets `em every time!
So, what do you do with that package that belongs to someone else?
Again, technically, you can open it up, it's not a crime. (Which is good because if you tear into the packaging before realizing it's not yours, there's no penalty, no fowl.)
Here are some things you can do:
- If it's a name and address you recognize, and you can safely reach out to the person or re-deliver the package, go ahead and do so. It's called being a Good Neighbor. Look, it's probably what you would hope happens if your package ends up on someone else's porch.
- You can try to reach out to the sender. (9 times out of 10, it's most likely Amazon.)
- You can try reaching out to the delivery service.
Again, you're not legally obligated to do anything. There's just that moral dilemma hanging over your head if you don't.
Here's the thing, though: Just for trying to do the good thing, you may end up with a Super Air Fryer in the end! Often the shipper (Like Amazon) might just tell you to keep it or donate it - and they'll send a replacement to the addressee.
And, if that doesn't work, the shipper may actually never show up to pick the package back up.
Whatever you do, the Federal Trade Commission is on your side.
Of course, you probably have that angel on one shoulder, too.