We often receive reports of people receiving unsolicited goods. These are goods they haven’t ordered, and the company that sent them is demanding payment for the product.
How does it work?
The company has acquired personal details about a person (e.g. name, email and mailing address) and has sent a product to them they haven’t requested. There are a variety of ways they may have got these details. For example, when someone has entered them on a website under the impression that the details are needed to create an account, or view prices of products. They’ve then received a product in the post that they haven’t ordered and the company demands payment for the product. These people requesting payments can be intimidating, aggressive and even threaten legal action.
What to do if you’ve received unsolicited goods
Under New Zealand law it’s illegal for a seller to send unsolicited goods and then demand payment.
- You don’t have to pay for the goods (unless you deliberately damage or lose them)
- If you don’t want to keep the goods you must make them available for collection by the supplier for a period of ten working days
- After ten working days, if the goods haven’t been collected you may keep them and the supplier cannot request payment or return of the goods
- It’s illegal for the seller to demand payment, or threaten legal action unless they have reason to believe that you have damaged the goods. However, you are not liable unless you lost or intentionally damaged them.
What if somebody has ordered the goods on your behalf, but you didn’t give them permission? You don’t have to pay for them. In this situation you should contact the sender to explain what has happened and arrange for the goods to be collected. Find more information about unsolicited goods on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
Report a scam
Help if you have been scammed or think you are about to be scammed: Netsafe can’t open investigations or track scammers, but we can offer support and advice for people who have lost money in a scam, or think they are about to. This includes letting you know the steps you can take depending on the scam you’re in and giving you advice about how to stay safe in future. You can report a scam to www.netsafe.org.nz/report.
Our help service is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.