Did you know that by federal law if a company sends you something you did not order you can legally keep it? Or regift it. Or donate it.

You don’t have to contact the company unless you want to. And it happens far more often than you think.

There was once a case where Williams-Sonoma sent 99 knives worth $40 each to someone who had ordered only one. Yes, the $3,920 in extra knives could be legally considered theirs.

Even if the company realizes its mistake and wants them back, you are under no legal obligation to do so. If you choose to, make the company pay for return shipping.

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It’s all covered by the Federal Trade Commission here. Look under the section with the heading Your Rights When You Get Unordered Merchandise.

Often big companies like Amazon feel it’s not worth the return shipping and restocking hassles and will just tell people who call to report an unordered item to keep it. Must be nice to be swimming in that much profit you could afford that, right?

Well, this came up recently in my home. A mystery package no one ordered showed up. Was it a new laptop? The latest iPhone?

No. It was this stupid thing.

Jeff Deminski photo
Jeff Deminski photo
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A Disney villain special edition of the board game Sorry. The only thing we’re sorry about is that it wasn’t something valuable.

We recently talked to people that shared some funny stories of ordering (____) but getting (_____). Or getting something when you never ordered anything at all.

Tracy started receiving mysterious packages from a company addressed to her son Zachary, except they had his name as Zachariah. And Zachary lives in California.

First, it was a needlepoint kit to make a Samurai picture. Next came an electric tea kettle. Finally, workout clothes.

All Tracy ever found out was somebody named Edith was ordering these things and shipping them to Tracy’s address. She still has some of them.

Amazon.com
Amazon.com
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James ordered just one bottle of a bicycle cleaner called Muc-Off. Instead, he received an entire case. Think he sent it back? Muc-Off!

Amazon
Amazon
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Chris never ordered a thing but received a steady supply of Snap-on tools totaling thousands.

Amazon.com
Amazon.com
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Mark ordered just two beach chairs and every day the company would send two more. He now needs more friends to take to the beach.

Amazon.com
Amazon.com
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Doug’s wife ordered a beach cover-up and instead got an enormous 55ee cheetah print bra. That could probably cover up even more.

Bill ordered a flag pole and instead got a foot massager. He eventually got his flag pole and exercised his legal right to keep and enjoy the foot massager.

Then there’s the really fun stuff.

Canva/Townsquare Media photo illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media photo illustration
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John, who never ordered anything, received a dog grooming kit and an adult toy. Please tell me those had nothing to do with each other.

Carolyn received a leopard thong out of the blue. Where’s that 55ee cheetah bra when you need it?

Finally, Mary ordered nothing, but lingerie, and a very personal adult toy showed up on her doorstep. What did she do with them? Well...

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