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(The Consumerist)   Choose your own adventure: You order one iPad as a gift. The big box store sends you five. What do you do with the extra iPads? Tag is for actual outcome   (consumerist.com) divider line 159
    More: Sappy, Choose Your Own Adventure, iPads, Best Buy, proof without words, internet research, gifts  
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17177 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Dec 2012 at 10:06 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-06 11:38:04 AM
Well, I'm in need of money. So if this happened, I'd try to return it, but if they let me keep them, I just return them to the nearest cooperative store, or failing that, sell them at a discount.
 
2012-12-06 11:47:49 AM

Theaetetus: Teiritzamna: /as a lawyer geek its is the worst when someone misstates the law of star wars.

That the so-called 'rebellion' was really a terrorist insurgency against a democratic republic, funded by a constitutional monarchy on a planet with quite literally the biggest income inequality in the galaxy?

/the terrorists also caused a large flying vehicle to crash into a giant structure in which lots of people lived and worked


A democratic republic?

The Galactic Empire abandoned any pretense of being a Republic with the Declaration of A New Order in 19 BBY.

Read the text of it, it makes it clear that the Empire was ruled by one man, and his word was absolute.

Then read the "Suspension of the Imperial Senate", the flimsy pretense to abolish the Senate and the last vestige of Republic rule.

Thanks to the Tarkin Doctrine, the entire plan was to use fear to rule the galaxy. They accepted the power of the Empire to begin with thanks to fear of the Jedi, and fear of Separatists, and then if they had any problems with the power they had already accepted, they would have to deal with fear of the overwhelming Imperial military, with the Death Star as an ultimate symbol of it.

When that weapons platform had just killed 2 billion people as a simple demonstration of force, the extrajudicial killing of billions, it became a matter of self defense for all people in the galaxy to destroy it. Nobody, anywhere could be safe from the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, and it could kill billions, or theoretically a trillion (if aimed at Coruscant) in a single action.

I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy. Look at Coruscant. You've got the likes of Xixor, for example, who not only owns the largest shipping company in the galaxy, but is also the crime boss of one of the largest criminal syndicate besides the Hutt Clans, a man to whom money is no object. . .and you have transients in the undercity without a single credit to their name basically living in near-feral conditions.
 
2012-12-06 11:52:30 AM
Sure, it probably helps that the eyes of Consumerist's readership were on Best Buy here,

Ah, there's the self-absorption we've come to know and love.
 
2012-12-06 11:55:00 AM

Silverstaff: A democratic republic?

The Galactic Empire abandoned any pretense of being a Republic with the Declaration of A New Order in 19 BBY.

Read the text of it, it makes it clear that the Empire was ruled by one man, and his word was absolute.

Then read the "Suspension of the Imperial Senate", the flimsy pretense to abolish the Senate and the last vestige of Republic rule.

Thanks to the Tarkin Doctrine, the entire plan was to use fear to rule the galaxy. They accepted the power of the Empire to begin with thanks to fear of the Jedi, and fear of Separatists, and then if they had any problems with the power they had already accepted, they would have to deal with fear of the overwhelming Imperial military, with the Death Star as an ultimate symbol of it.

When that weapons platform had just killed 2 billion people as a simple demonstration of force, the extrajudicial killing of billions, it became a matter of self defense for all people in the galaxy to destroy it. Nobody, anywhere could be safe from the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, and it could kill billions, or theoretically a trillion (if aimed at Coruscant) in a single action.

I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy. Look at Coruscant. You've got the likes of Xixor, for example, who not only owns the largest shipping company in the galaxy, but is also the crime boss of one of the largest criminal syndicate besides the Hutt Clans, a man to whom money is no object. . .and you have transients in the undercity without a single credit to their name basically living in near-feral conditions.


I love my people (geeks i mean)
 
2012-12-06 11:56:54 AM
Personally I would donate 3 to the program that gives iPads to autistic children and children with communication disabilities.
 
2012-12-06 12:02:38 PM

Silverstaff: I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy.


I was referring to Naboo. :P
 
2012-12-06 12:13:05 PM

Teiritzamna: Silverstaff: A democratic republic?

The Galactic Empire abandoned any pretense of being a Republic with the Declaration of A New Order in 19 BBY.

Read the text of it, it makes it clear that the Empire was ruled by one man, and his word was absolute.

Then read the "Suspension of the Imperial Senate", the flimsy pretense to abolish the Senate and the last vestige of Republic rule.

Thanks to the Tarkin Doctrine, the entire plan was to use fear to rule the galaxy. They accepted the power of the Empire to begin with thanks to fear of the Jedi, and fear of Separatists, and then if they had any problems with the power they had already accepted, they would have to deal with fear of the overwhelming Imperial military, with the Death Star as an ultimate symbol of it.

When that weapons platform had just killed 2 billion people as a simple demonstration of force, the extrajudicial killing of billions, it became a matter of self defense for all people in the galaxy to destroy it. Nobody, anywhere could be safe from the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, and it could kill billions, or theoretically a trillion (if aimed at Coruscant) in a single action.

I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy. Look at Coruscant. You've got the likes of Xixor, for example, who not only owns the largest shipping company in the galaxy, but is also the crime boss of one of the largest criminal syndicate besides the Hutt Clans, a man to whom money is no object. . .and you have transients in the undercity without a single credit to their name basically living in near-feral conditions.

I love my people (geeks i mean)


Wow you guys are really into Star Trek
 
2012-12-06 12:16:27 PM
Even if you think that taking from a big-box store and giving to a Consumerist reader is a net good, what if someone at the Best Buy warehouse is eventually held responsible for the four missing iPads? Could you use them or count your stacks of cash without feeling guilty?

Yes. Yes I could. Or rather, yes I would.
 
2012-12-06 12:19:08 PM
When I was in college a package arrived at our apt addressed to "Resident". Inside we found two dozen ceramic spice jars that looked like little houses. My roommate and I were confused, but figured, "what the hell" and put them in the kitchen. No bill ever arrived; no one ever contacted us.
 
2012-12-06 12:19:10 PM

Theaetetus: Silverstaff: I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy.

I was referring to Naboo. :P


You said it was the planet that was funding the rebellion, the initial funding of the Alliance to Restore the Republic came from Bail Organa and the wealth of the House of Organa. 

The Corellian Treaty, which founded the Alliance, was signed by four parties.

House Organa, as represented by Bail Organa and his adoptive daughter Leia. They provided the capitol funding, and to a much lesser extent some manpower and ships. A major noble house of a Core World would certainly have the money to fund a small military.

Kota's Militia, lead by Jedi Master Rahm Kota. A Jedi Master who refused to work with clone troops and raised an army of non-cloned soldiers, they became renegades when the Empire was founded and survived on the fringes of the galaxy for 17 years. They provided most of the raw manpower and firepower for the early days of the Rebellion, especially before the Mon Calamari joined and brought their shipyards along with them. General Kota was also supposed to provide the benefits of having a Jedi Master to the rebellion, but he died shortly after the founding, killed in a duel with Palpatine.

Senator Mon Mothma. The respected elder Senator from Chandrilla who had long been a political adversary of Palpatine and had been speaking out against him from the beginning. She didn't have vast wealth or firepower, but she had remarkable leadership and administrative skills, and her charisma and public speaking ability let her be a good public face/figurehead for the movement.

Senator Garm Bel Iblis. The firebrand Senator from Corellia. His politics of independence from higher authority for the Corellian worlds clashed with the encroaching power of the Galactic Empire. When Imperial assassins killed his family to intimidate him into silence, he instead left the Senate to found an armed resistance movement. Not as large as Kota's Militia, but Senator Bel Iblis had the sentiments and loyalty of Corellians throughout the galaxy.
 
2012-12-06 12:21:33 PM

jfivealive: Teiritzamna: Silverstaff: A democratic republic?

The Galactic Empire abandoned any pretense of being a Republic with the Declaration of A New Order in 19 BBY.

Read the text of it, it makes it clear that the Empire was ruled by one man, and his word was absolute.

Then read the "Suspension of the Imperial Senate", the flimsy pretense to abolish the Senate and the last vestige of Republic rule.

Thanks to the Tarkin Doctrine, the entire plan was to use fear to rule the galaxy. They accepted the power of the Empire to begin with thanks to fear of the Jedi, and fear of Separatists, and then if they had any problems with the power they had already accepted, they would have to deal with fear of the overwhelming Imperial military, with the Death Star as an ultimate symbol of it.

When that weapons platform had just killed 2 billion people as a simple demonstration of force, the extrajudicial killing of billions, it became a matter of self defense for all people in the galaxy to destroy it. Nobody, anywhere could be safe from the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, and it could kill billions, or theoretically a trillion (if aimed at Coruscant) in a single action.

I'm kinda curious as to your idea of Alderaan having the biggest income inequality in the galaxy. Look at Coruscant. You've got the likes of Xixor, for example, who not only owns the largest shipping company in the galaxy, but is also the crime boss of one of the largest criminal syndicate besides the Hutt Clans, a man to whom money is no object. . .and you have transients in the undercity without a single credit to their name basically living in near-feral conditions.

I love my people (geeks i mean)

Wow you guys are really into Star Trek


Wow - I thought that was from Battlestar Gattaca. What do I know?
 
2012-12-06 12:22:08 PM

bv2112: The thought of giving iPads to people "in need" cracks me up, because there are zero people who need iPads.


There are autistic children who need them for use in their therapy, so actually, there are people in need of iPads.
 
2012-12-06 12:23:47 PM

Theaetetus: UCC § 2-601


All correct in regards to transactions in goods between commercial entities, but don't forget to check out § 2-102, to wit:

"nor does this Article impair or repeal any statute regulating sales to consumers, farmers or other specified classes of buyers."

So, where there are different rules regarding retail sales (which there are), UCC doesn't impair.
 
2012-12-06 12:24:42 PM

CFitzsimmons: When I was in college a package arrived at our apt addressed to "Resident". Inside we found two dozen ceramic spice jars that looked like little houses. My roommate and I were confused, but figured, "what the hell" and put them in the kitchen. No bill ever arrived; no one ever contacted us.


4.bp.blogspot.com

Wants his jars back.
 
2012-12-06 12:31:32 PM

Cupajo: OK, Best Buy's response kind of made them go up a notch or two in my estimation.
Of course, there was nowhere to go but up...


Which is why I believe this was a deliberate marketing plant on BB's part.
 
2012-12-06 12:35:08 PM

HindiDiscoMonster: Jon iz teh kewl: HindiDiscoMonster: Jon iz teh kewl: Alexa's boyfriend got an iPad for Christmas from his mother. Well, that's not quite true. His mother ordered one iPad, and had it shipped to him. What arrived on their doorstep was a very large and heavy box that was big enough to hold five iPads. Because it did.
At the core of this story is an ethical dilemma. Best Buy wasn't calling Alexa's boyfriend or his mother to find out where the iPads had gone. The average customer service call-center rep probably doesn't have instructions for this situation in their binder of scripts. Alexa sent off an e-mail, but received no response.

try calling. u shiathead thief

Since we have been talking about trolls this a.m. (another thread), take note Fark, this is a great example (for educational puposes).

i'm not a troll. most places have a call-back option instead of waiting on the phone

And most people don't feel they have to go above and beyond by contacting the press to help them return expensive items that were sent by mistake.... except thieves (according to you)...


I'm not gay. So I wouldn't have told the press. That's what *I* would have done.
 
2012-12-06 12:52:03 PM

stonelotus: If You Didn't Order It, You Don't Have To Pay For It


Yeah, but you have to give it back. Didn't your momma tell you if you take what's not yours you're a thief?

You don't have to accept an improper delivery, but once you do accept it, yeah---you do have to pay for it.
If you reject the mdse you have to hang onto it for a reasonable amount of time so the owner can come get it.

The normal thing to do is to send a letter saying just that "I didn't order XYZ. I'm going to hang onto it for 30 days; if you want to come get it, contact me and we'll set something up. After that, I will treat it as a gift."

If they sent it by USPS, then you can legally treat it as a gift and it ends there. But in the case of a clear error from the vendor, the ethical thing to do would be to contact them. But only if they mailed it. Likely that big box wasn't mailed.
the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970...makes the mailing of unordered merchandise unfair methods of competition and unfair trade practices under the law.

In the more general case:
§ 2-601. Buyer's Rights on Improper Delivery
§ 2-602. Manner and Effect of Rightful Rejection
§ 2-606. What Constitutes Acceptance of Goods
§ 2-607. Effect of Acceptance
 
2012-12-06 12:54:35 PM
Do the right thing and send it back, obvious mistake

oh wait, you only whine about the bad mistakes not the good ones--those you exploit.. got it
 
2012-12-06 12:55:39 PM
i hope the big box store takes them to small claims court, files a class action law suit so other business dont sell to this guy and maybe get the FCC involved

link to change.org coming soon
 
2012-12-06 01:22:48 PM

Teiritzamna: Zasteva: On the other hand, as the recipient of unordered good, you are under no legal obligation to spend your time and money compensating for their mistake.

Contacting them to let them know of the mistake is the ethical thing to do. But the burden should be on them to fix that mistake if they care to -- making arrangements with you to collect the merchandise.

IANAL, but if you are going to take a fairness and reason approach then asking their customer to fix the company's mistake doesn't really meet that bar.

It's bad business practice too. The company is very likely ...

Teiritzamna: If you look at my posts - that is exactly what i said. The law doesnt seek to fark over the guy who made a mistake, but it bends over backwards to prevent the recipient - who literally did nothing wrong - from being put out. Under restitution, if the recipients honestly thought they got 5 iPads in the mail legitimately, and gave them away, only to then be contacted by the mistaken business, the law will say "too bad, so sad" because the recipient has, to use the jargon, "changed position."

Generally what happens, if they want the merch back is they send you labels and a box and you put the merch in it and they send a UPS guy to get it.

Now, from a PR perspective - given the mistake in this case and who called them on it, BB did the smart thing and wrote off the error. My beef was with the statement in the article that "Legally, anything that is shipped to your home is yours to keep." You know how standard geeks will get bent out of shape if they hear someone making a stupid statement w/r/t say star wars ("Luke skywalker is a powerful practitioner of magic, known as a sith")? Well it is 10x worse for lawyers and incorrect statements of the law.


Yep. You are right. I misunderstood your argument, and at one point upthread I made a similarly overstated claim about her being entitled to keep the merchandise. Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding.

/as a lawyer geek its is the worst when someone misstates the law of star wars.

:-)
 
2012-12-06 01:27:01 PM
Seems what happened here is:

1) Apple ships iPads to Best Buy's warehouse in 5-unit shipping boxes
2) Customer orders 1 iPad
3) Warehouse drone doesn't realize he needs to open the shipping box and take 1 iPad out to fulfill the order, instead slaps a shipping label on the whole thing and sends it out
4) Customer makes minimum good faith effort to rectify the mistake
5) Best Buy figures out what happened, tells customer to give away extra units to people in needs, writes off $2000 shrinkage as "charitable donation"
6) Consumerist.com strains its back fellating itself over being the hero of the story
 
2012-12-06 01:33:35 PM

Priapetic: Theaetetus: UCC § 2-601

All correct in regards to transactions in goods between commercial entities, but don't forget to check out § 2-102, to wit:

"nor does this Article impair or repeal any statute regulating sales to consumers, farmers or other specified classes of buyers."

So, where there are different rules regarding retail sales (which there are), UCC doesn't impair.


The UCC most assuredly applies to consumers. The point of 2-102 is that it doesn't impair or repeal other consumer protection statutes (such as MGL 93A here in Mass).

The postal statute mentioned above doesn't apply, because this wasn't an unsolicited order... it was a non-conforming order. Hence, it doesn't preempt the UCC and the provisions I mentioned are still active.
 
2012-12-06 01:38:18 PM

karlandtanya: stonelotus: If You Didn't Order It, You Don't Have To Pay For It

Yeah, but you have to give it back. Didn't your momma tell you if you take what's not yours you're a thief?

You don't have to accept an improper delivery, but once you do accept it, yeah---you do have to pay for it.
If you reject the mdse you have to hang onto it for a reasonable amount of time so the owner can come get it.

The normal thing to do is to send a letter saying just that "I didn't order XYZ. I'm going to hang onto it for 30 days; if you want to come get it, contact me and we'll set something up. After that, I will treat it as a gift."

If they sent it by USPS, then you can legally treat it as a gift and it ends there. But in the case of a clear error from the vendor, the ethical thing to do would be to contact them. But only if they mailed it. Likely that big box wasn't mailed.
the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970...makes the mailing of unordered merchandise unfair methods of competition and unfair trade practices under the law.

In the more general case:
§ 2-601. Buyer's Rights on Improper Delivery
§ 2-602. Manner and Effect of Rightful Rejection
§ 2-606. What Constitutes Acceptance of Goods
§ 2-607. Effect of Acceptance


For all of you rolling out UCC Article 2 citations, please remember the UCC treats non-merchants (consumers) different from merchants, and holds merchants to a higher standard. So, if this situation had happened between two merchants, Article 2 would clearly control, but since this was a merchant and non-merchant, maybe not so much.

§ 2-102 "nor does this Article impair or repeal any statute regulating sales to consumers,"

http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/article2.htm#s2-102
 
2012-12-06 01:47:37 PM

Rapmaster2000: I once ordered a coat and received two, so I went to the store and told them what happened and said that I just wanted to give one of them back. The sales girl had no protocol for that so she just pretended it was a return and I got a coat for free.


FTFA "We, here at Best Buy, acknowledge that we obviously made a mistake, but in the spirit of the holidays, we encourage you to keep the additional iPads and give them to people in need - friends, family, a local school or charity."

This is cheap advertising of the best kind.

Back when we had an apartment, my wife ordered a $300 "flight cage" for her budgies from Fosters & Smith. It was about 80 lbs of steel cage and arrived damaged (but usable). She called the company and they sent a 2nd one for free that arrived two days later. THAT generated a LOT of repeat business.

There is a women's clothing mail order company called Drapers & Damons that has a fanatical customer base. Why? The have an "eternity, no questions asked" return policy. I had heard that someone returned in 1975 a cocktail dress purchased in 1933 and worn once.
 
2012-12-06 01:52:39 PM

Priapetic: For all of you rolling out UCC Article 2 citations, please remember the UCC treats non-merchants (consumers) different from merchants, and holds merchants to a higher standard. So, if this situation had happened between two merchants, Article 2 would clearly control, but since this was a merchant and non-merchant, maybe not so much.


For all of you poo-pooing UCC Article 2 citations, please remember that the UCC applies to both non-merchants and merchants, and has explicit provisions about where merchants are held to higher standards (see, for example, 2-207(2) which has additional provisions for when a transaction is between merchants; 2-201(2) which has provisions for unilateral creation of contracts if the parties are merchants; 2-209(2) which has a caveat for modification between merchants; etc.) . Article 2 controls because they're goods. The fact that the recipient is not a merchant merely means that the provisions for "between merchants" don't apply. The rest of the UCC still does.
 
2012-12-06 01:56:02 PM

Theaetetus: Priapetic: Theaetetus: UCC § 2-601

All correct in regards to transactions in goods between commercial entities, but don't forget to check out § 2-102, to wit:

"nor does this Article impair or repeal any statute regulating sales to consumers, farmers or other specified classes of buyers."

So, where there are different rules regarding retail sales (which there are), UCC doesn't impair.

The UCC most assuredly applies to consumers. The point of 2-102 is that it doesn't impair or repeal other consumer protection statutes (such as MGL 93A here in Mass).

The postal statute mentioned above doesn't apply, because this wasn't an unsolicited order... it was a non-conforming order. Hence, it doesn't preempt the UCC and the provisions I mentioned are still active.


The additional iPads could be considered "non-conforming" or they could be considered "unordered". The FTC does answer the question of honest error, but their guidance instructs you to contact the seller and give reasonable time for them to cure the situation (at their cost), but to keep the goods if the time passes. It's not clear from their website if that is a requirement of the law or a suggestion.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro15.shtm

My point is that the UCC is very controlling on its own when it comes to transactions between merchants, but there are many, many consumer protection laws that also have to be considered before arriving at the answer. Pointing to the UCC and saying "them's the rules" is not sufficient when dealing with consumer transactions.
 
2012-12-06 02:03:20 PM

Priapetic: The additional iPads could be considered "non-conforming" or they could be considered "unordered".


Under the UCC's perfect tender rule, it's the entire shipment that is considered non-conforming if it differs from what was ordered. Since the order was for 1 iPad and they got 5, that's non-conforming... If you could magically claim that anything non-conforming was "not ordered" and therefore a gift, you'd be gutting that rule.

The FTC does answer the question of honest error, but their guidance instructs you to contact the seller and give reasonable time for them to cure the situation (at their cost), but to keep the goods if the time passes. It's not clear from their website if that is a requirement of the law or a suggestion.

As noted above, the FTC's suggestions are regarding unsolicited orders. This wasn't unsolicited.

My point is that the UCC is very controlling on its own when it comes to transactions between merchants, but there are many, many consumer protection laws that also have to be considered before arriving at the answer. Pointing to the UCC and saying "them's the rules" is not sufficient when dealing with consumer transactions.

Similarly, you can't point to the UCC's 2-102 and say "the recipient's not a merchant, so the UCC doesn't apply". Rather, all 2-102 says is that state consumer protection laws are not preempted.
 
2012-12-06 02:03:49 PM

Theaetetus: Priapetic: For all of you rolling out UCC Article 2 citations, please remember the UCC treats non-merchants (consumers) different from merchants, and holds merchants to a higher standard. So, if this situation had happened between two merchants, Article 2 would clearly control, but since this was a merchant and non-merchant, maybe not so much.

For all of you poo-pooing UCC Article 2 citations, please remember that the UCC applies to both non-merchants and merchants, and has explicit provisions about where merchants are held to higher standards (see, for example, 2-207(2) which has additional provisions for when a transaction is between merchants; 2-201(2) which has provisions for unilateral creation of contracts if the parties are merchants; 2-209(2) which has a caveat for modification between merchants; etc.) . Article 2 controls because they're goods. The fact that the recipient is not a merchant merely means that the provisions for "between merchants" don't apply. The rest of the UCC still does.


I'm not poo-poo'ing UCC Article 2, and didn't suggest 2-102 means UCC doesn't apply to sales to consumers, I agree it does. I'm just pointing out that it explicitly leaves room for additional consumer protection measures when merchants are dealing with consumers, so sources of law other than the UCC need to be considered, such as the FTC rules. It's not purely an Article 2 question, so the answer isn't as cut-and-dried.
 
2012-12-06 02:05:29 PM

Theaetetus: Similarly, you can't point to the UCC's 2-102 and say "the recipient's not a merchant, so the UCC doesn't apply".


I never did. I just pointed out the UCC is not the only source of law, and may take a back seat if there are other consumer protection statutes.
 
2012-12-06 02:11:28 PM

Priapetic: Theaetetus: Similarly, you can't point to the UCC's 2-102 and say "the recipient's not a merchant, so the UCC doesn't apply".

I never did. I just pointed out the UCC is not the only source of law, and may take a back seat if there are other consumer protection statutes.


Yep, but that would be up to the relevant state law, specifically. The postal statute doesn't apply, nor would it preempt the provisions of 2-601, since the former is talking about unsolicited goods, while the latter is talking about solicited-but-non-conforming shipments.

In short, the FTC is right if a box arrives at your door with stuff inside and you have no idea why. They're wrong if you order something and get something different than what you ordered. It's not suddenly a gift.
 
2012-12-06 02:12:20 PM

Theaetetus: They're wrong


(or rather, they're actually not talking about this situation... they're only talking about the type of fraudulent ship-then-bill shenanigans that were going on).
 
2012-12-06 02:13:43 PM
I was stationed in Iceland about 10 years ago and we ordered 10 fiber optic NICs. A few weeks later the supply guy tells me to stop by and pick them up. I go down to his office and find they sent us 10 boxes with 20 NICs in each box. The company didn't want them back since they didn't want to pick up the shipping. So we ended up paying $2000 for $40K worth of NICs because the company didn't want to spend $400 to ship them back.
 
2012-12-06 02:25:07 PM

Theaetetus: Priapetic: Theaetetus: Similarly, you can't point to the UCC's 2-102 and say "the recipient's not a merchant, so the UCC doesn't apply".

Yep, but that would be up to the relevant state law, specifically. The postal statute doesn't apply, nor would it preempt the provisions of 2-601, since the former is talking about unsolicited goods, while the latter is talking about solicited-but-non-conforming shipments.

In short, the FTC is right if a box arrives at your door with stuff inside and you have no idea why. They're wrong if you order something and get something different than what you ordered. It's not suddenly a gift.


I agree the unsolicited goods shennanigans was the reason for the FTC rules, but the FTC's guidance on their website seems to indicate there's more going on than just UCC rules:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro15.shtm

Q. What should I do if the unordered merchandise I received was the result of an honest shipping error?

A. Write the seller and offer to return the merchandise, provided the seller pays for postage and handling. Give the seller a specific and reasonable amount of time (say 30 days) to pick up the merchandise or arrange to have it returned at no expense to you. Tell the seller that you reserve the right to keep the merchandise or dispose of it after the specified time has passed.

That guidance isn't quite UCC, and isn't pure FTC. So I suspect there are other rules in play. And of course there may be state rules as well.
 
2012-12-06 02:27:10 PM
I choose to attack the dragon...
 
2012-12-06 02:30:27 PM

Iceman_Cometh: I was stationed in Iceland about 10 years ago and we ordered 10 fiber optic NICs. A few weeks later the supply guy tells me to stop by and pick them up. I go down to his office and find they sent us 10 boxes with 20 NICs in each box. The company didn't want them back since they didn't want to pick up the shipping. So we ended up paying $2000 for $40K worth of NICs because the company didn't want to spend $400 to ship them back.


And that's how Keflavik base housing suddenly became a Mecca for DoD LAN parties and P2P file-sharing hubs. =D
 
2012-12-06 02:31:30 PM

Priapetic: That guidance isn't quite UCC


No, that is UCC - check out 2-604 above:
... if the seller gives no instructions within a reasonable time after notification of rejection the buyer may store the rejected goods for the seller's account or reship them to him or resell them for the seller's account with reimbursement as provided in the preceding section. Such action is not acceptance or conversion.

You have to notify the seller, give them a reasonable time, and can store or reship them at the seller's expense, or otherwise dispose of them after the reasonable time.
 
2012-12-06 02:37:06 PM

Theaetetus: Priapetic: That guidance isn't quite UCC

No, that is UCC - check out 2-604 above:
... if the seller gives no instructions within a reasonable time after notification of rejection the buyer may store the rejected goods for the seller's account or reship them to him or resell them for the seller's account with reimbursement as provided in the preceding section. Such action is not acceptance or conversion.

You have to notify the seller, give them a reasonable time, and can store or reship them at the seller's expense, or otherwise dispose of them after the reasonable time.


Yes, but note 2-604 says you can store for the seller's account or resell for the seller's account, or re-ship. UCC 2-604 never says you can keep the goods. The FTC guidance says you can keep the goods.
 
2012-12-06 02:39:08 PM
We in-store ordered a video camera from Best Buy that they did not have in stock, but they were going to ship it directly to our house.,Two of them showed up on our doorstep. Cue the white angel on one side of the shoulder, red devil on the other.... After a few dealings with brain-dead drones, we finally spoke with a manager that listened and looked things up. Yup, we only were charged for one. He volunteered to come to our house to pick up the other one, and for our honesty he gave us a $20 Best Buy gift card.

I'm a firm believer in Karma. Always do the right thing, regardless of your urges to do the wrong. Karma can be your friend or foe, and in our case since we practice only positive Karma we get mostly positive Karma back.
 
2012-12-06 02:40:27 PM
"You enter the 10' by 10' stone floored room. There are four torches -- one in each corner-- that cast a flickering orange light over the pile of iPads sitting suspiciously in the middle of the room on a small pedastal. Exits are North and South. Do you:

a) Walk towards the pile of iPads? (turn to 86)
b) Take the North exit? (turn to 12)
c) Turn around and go South? (turn to 123)"
 
2012-12-06 02:45:13 PM

Priapetic: Q. What should I do if the unordered merchandise I received was the result of an honest shipping error?

A. Write the seller and offer to return the merchandise, provided the seller pays for postage and handling. Give the seller a specific and reasonable amount of time (say 30 days) to pick up the merchandise or arrange to have it returned at no expense to you. Tell the seller that you reserve the right to keep the merchandise or dispose of it after the specified time has passed.

That guidance isn't quite UCC, and isn't pure FTC. So I suspect there are other rules in play. And of course there may be state rules as well.


My thought is that the general rules of restitution/unjust enrichment apply as a background rule. To make it clearer, note that there are really three possible outcomes here:

1) Alice intentionally sends Bob a widget in the hopes that she can then trick Bob into paying for it. The postal rule, state law, and the common law all would stand for the proposition that Bob is under no obligation to send Alice payment or the widget back. It is basically made a free sample by action of law, regardless of what Alice thinks.

2) Bob orders one (1) widget from Alice. Alice mistakenly sends Bob ten (10) widgets due to a clerical error. Under the UCC - while Bob is under no obligation to purchase or pay for these extra widgets, he does need to let Alice know that he is not accepting them and give Alice an opportunity to pick them back up.

3) Bob orders one (1) widget from Alice. Alice sends that widget to Carl due to a shipping error. Now, note, Carl did not request a widget at all. However, this is not unsolicited merch - because the statute focuses upon the sender, not the recipient. The merchandise was solicited, but it was not solicited by Carl. Here, it is likely that the traditional rules of restitution apply. If you get an item and think you did so because of a mistake, it behooves you to contact someone to find out. because if you reasonably believed that this was mistakenly transmitted merchandise, you likely cannot be forced to pay for it (which would be an action in conversion), but you may be forced to disgorge it or its value to you (restitution). Generally there is no windfall principle that says that if you know someone made a mistake you can just keep the stuff. This is the majority rule and may be informing the guidance.
 
2012-12-06 03:11:51 PM

Teiritzamna: My thought is that the general rules of restitution/unjust enrichment apply as a background rule.


Generally I'd agree, particularly for merchant transactions. But since consumer protection laws generally assume the seller has disproportionate resources (i.e. lawyers, collection agencies, etc.), knowledge, incentive, and greater ability to withstand loss, the desire to protect the consumer, coupled with practicality may trump restitution/unjust enrichment.
 
2012-12-06 03:48:03 PM

Thurston Howell: Iceman_Cometh: I was stationed in Iceland about 10 years ago and we ordered 10 fiber optic NICs. A few weeks later the supply guy tells me to stop by and pick them up. I go down to his office and find they sent us 10 boxes with 20 NICs in each box. The company didn't want them back since they didn't want to pick up the shipping. So we ended up paying $2000 for $40K worth of NICs because the company didn't want to spend $400 to ship them back.

And that's how Keflavik base housing suddenly became a Mecca for DoD LAN parties and P2P file-sharing hubs. =D


I can neither confirm nor deny that happened.

Actually I used them to trade for different things around the base from the other organizations. If I needed some fiber I'd trade the AF guys NICs for them to pull fiber in the building.
 
2012-12-06 03:54:54 PM
I'd sell four of them because I need the money. Then I'd look at the fifth one, think, What the fark do I need an ipad for? I don't even have any money! and sell it too.
 
2012-12-06 04:06:51 PM
If it's a big corporation, I'd say the burden of proof is on them. If they asked, I'd say I didn't know that they were talking about and leave it at that. Yes, I'd lie, because you can bet your ass Best Buy lies to consumers as company policy, whether it be with their "optimization" or their tendency to say things aren't in stock if you reject the warranty. They lie, and so I feel that I'd be in a karmic safe zone if they screwed up like this and I told them "nope, I don't have them" if they ever asked about it.

But the law is also on my side in this one, so really, it's all moot. BB has no legal angle here, and so really they'll just end up sweeping through the warehouse and kicking someone's ass out the door... And the person who does this-- ships boxes full of iPads when they're supposed to be shipping ONE iPad?-- That person DESERVES to lose their job because they suck at it.

Again, no karma issues here.

Now, if this were a mom and pop store, I'd return the extras. No question. But Best Buy? F♥ck em.
 
2012-12-06 04:12:58 PM

Teiritzamna: Priapetic: Q. What should I do if the unordered merchandise I received was the result of an honest shipping error?

A. Write the seller and offer to return the merchandise, provided the seller pays for postage and handling. Give the seller a specific and reasonable amount of time (say 30 days) to pick up the merchandise or arrange to have it returned at no expense to you. Tell the seller that you reserve the right to keep the merchandise or dispose of it after the specified time has passed.

That guidance isn't quite UCC, and isn't pure FTC. So I suspect there are other rules in play. And of course there may be state rules as well.

My thought is that the general rules of restitution/unjust enrichment apply as a background rule. To make it clearer, note that there are really three possible outcomes here:

1) Alice intentionally sends Bob a widget in the hopes that she can then trick Bob into paying for it. The postal rule, state law, and the common law all would stand for the proposition that Bob is under no obligation to send Alice payment or the widget back. It is basically made a free sample by action of law, regardless of what Alice thinks.

2) Bob orders one (1) widget from Alice. Alice mistakenly sends Bob ten (10) widgets due to a clerical error. Under the UCC - while Bob is under no obligation to purchase or pay for these extra widgets, he does need to let Alice know that he is not accepting them and give Alice an opportunity to pick them back up.

3) Bob orders one (1) widget from Alice. Alice sends that widget to Carl due to a shipping error. Now, note, Carl did not request a widget at all. However, this is not unsolicited merch - because the statute focuses upon the sender, not the recipient. The merchandise was solicited, but it was not solicited by Carl. Here, it is likely that the traditional rules of restitution apply. If you get an item and think you did so because of a mistake, it behooves you to contact someone to find out. because if y ...



BUT, as far as I can see, the burden of proof is on the shipper. They have to prove you received the amount they say you received, and they're stuck if their shipping manifest or packing slip says "quantity: 1", because they can't search your home to prove they shipped more. So if you say, "Nope, Alice, I only got the one widget." Alice is basically going to have to accept your answer and take the loss. Nobody's going to look around your house to find the extras, and you're not going to be given a polygraph to prove you're telling the truth.

So it really comes down to the receiver. If they want to keep the stuff, and the packing slip says only one item is present when there are more in the box, the receiver can either tell the truth or withhold the truth, and act accordingly. There are no thought police yet, and it would be tough for Alice, Inc. to prove that the other items weren't already in your possession. In short, Alice, Inc. needs to hire smarter warehouse workers.
 
2012-12-06 04:15:22 PM

Priapetic: Generally I'd agree, particularly for merchant transactions. But since consumer protection laws generally assume the seller has disproportionate resources (i.e. lawyers, collection agencies, etc.), knowledge, incentive, and greater ability to withstand loss, the desire to protect the consumer, coupled with practicality may trump restitution/unjust enrichment.


Oh it wouldnt trump those remedies, but they are already incorporated within the standard restitutionary analysis. (sorry, pedantry powers activate!) Essential to a claim of unjust enrichment is that it be "unjust," and this analysis, even when seeking legal remedies, acts much more like equity. Hence the guidance that it is best to just give the company a heads up so you as the recipient are basically ironclad, because if you are a big company in order to prevail in a case in restitution against the little guy is to hope the recipient acts with massively unclean hands and pisses off the court:

ZeroCorpse: They lie, and so I feel that I'd be in a karmic safe zone if they screwed up like this and I told them "nope, I don't have them" if they ever asked about it.

But the law is also on my side in this one, so really, it's all moot. BB has no legal angle here, and so really they'll just end up sweeping through the warehouse and kicking someone's ass out the door... And the person who does this-- ships boxes full of iPads when they're supposed to be shipping ONE iPad?-- That person DESERVES to lose their job because they suck at it.

Again, no karma issues here.

Now, if this were a mom and pop store, I'd return the extras. No question. But Best Buy? F♥ck em.


Yeah - like this guy here. 

/was taught restitution by the reporter of the restatement (third) of restitution, so kicks are being disgorged to me . . .
 
2012-12-06 04:22:04 PM
You're right, it doesn't trump those remedies - poor choice of words on my part.

Teiritzamna: if you are a big company in order to prevail in a case in restitution against the little guy is to hope the recipient acts with massively unclean hands and pisses off the court:


Exactly. And if you're a big company up against a little, little guy (i.e. consumer) who is almost by definition ill-suited to bear the costs of litigation, you better tread very cautiously in pursuing recovery. It better be a big deal to you financially (i.e. hugely expensive merchandise like luxury cars, etc., not a couple grand in iPads) or you'll be the one pissing off the court.
 
2012-12-06 04:43:03 PM

Priapetic: You're right, it doesn't trump those remedies - poor choice of words on my part.


NP, i hope my response wasn't too snarky - I have this annoying need to educate people against their will. It is 95% of the time good-natured (as it was in your case) but it is hard to convey tone on the internet.

Teiritzamna: if you are a big company in order to prevail in a case in restitution against the little guy is to hope the recipient acts with massively unclean hands and pisses off the court:

Exactly. And if you're a big company up against a little, little guy (i.e. consumer) who is almost by definition ill-suited to bear the costs of litigation, you better tread very cautiously in pursuing recovery. It better be a big deal to you financially (i.e. hugely expensive merchandise like luxury cars, etc., not a couple grand in iPads) or you'll be the one pissing off the court.


Yuppers - as I said, in this case it appears that everyone (shocker for a fark story) was a good actor. The recipients did everything right - up to and including thinking of charity for thier windfall. BB acted just like you want a big corporation to - they basically said "it was our bad - happy holidays." What caused my law talking powers to activate was merely the consumerist's facepalmy statement that under the law, anything mailed to your house is yours 100%.

/it does make me think that we should open a service to just randomly mail people hazardous waste as a way of getting rid of it. Sorry, you are on the hook for that Methylethylketone, it was mailed to your house.
 
2012-12-06 04:50:37 PM

Teiritzamna: [...] What caused my law talking powers to activate was merely the consumerist's facepalmy statement that under the law, anything mailed to your house is yours 100%.

/it does make me think that we should open a service to just randomly mail people hazardous waste as a way of getting rid of it. Sorry, you are on the hook for that Methylethylketone, it was mailed to your house.


Cut, jib, etc. Your newsletter, I would like to subscribe to it.

Wait! No I wouldn't... You'll just mail me some toxic junk.
 
2012-12-06 05:43:38 PM

ObscureNameHere: "You enter the 10' by 10' stone floored room. There are four torches -- one in each corner-- that cast a flickering orange light over the pile of iPads sitting suspiciously in the middle of the room on a small pedastal. Exits are North and South. Do you:

a) Walk towards the pile of iPads? (turn to 86)
b) Take the North exit? (turn to 12)
c) Turn around and go South? (turn to 123)"


d) set a bomb near the west wall and try to take out as many Like Likes as possible.
 
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