Consumer Protection – Feature Article
By Ryley Robertson
Unsolicited Goods aren’t that Good
Written by Ryley Robertson
In today’s society, there are many scams that are both illegal and extremely deceptive, and put everyday consumers in unfortunate situations. The act of sending out unsolicited goods is just one of the many scams that have the potential to bring serious stress and frustration to consumers. Unsolicited goods are items and services that are supplied to someone who hasn't agreed to pay for them. Householder don't ask for these products, they simply turn up along with a request for payment. It's not as common as it used to be, but this unsettling practice does still happen nonetheless.
Surprise! Now here's a bill.
One of the main examples of unsolicited goods is when a small company receives office supplies without ordering them along with an invoice for payment. The same applies to services you haven't ordered, such as extra or unwanted work done on your car when you put it in for a routine service. This sales tactic is thought to be morally wrong, and often leaves many people upset and questioning what to do as a result.
With an increased amount of people partaking in online shopping, you may find that you receive something in the post that you haven't ordered. However, this may be entirely due to it being sent to the wrong address, or because the order has simply been mismanaged. What are your rights? What do you have to do when this happens?
Consumer Dave Smith
This is a picture of an ordinary consumer, Dave Smith, who was an unsuspecting recipient of unsolicited goods. Upon receiving a package containing DVDs and a note asking him to pay, Dave succumb to the high-pressure selling tactic and purchased the product even though he didn’t ask for it. This is one representation of how vicious this scam is, and how you can be effected as well.
As part of the Australian Consumer Law (Australian Consumer Law, 2011.), in the incident that you receive unsolicited goods, you are entitled to a number of specific rights that provide protection to the consumer:
You are not required to pay for the goods or services.
The business may recover the goods within three months (called the recovery period). However, if you advise the business in writing that you do not want the goods, then the recovery period is reduced to one month. You cannot unreasonably refuse to allow the supplier to collect the goods during the recovery period.
You may be liable to pay compensation if you wilfully damage the goods during the recovery period.
If the supplier does not collect the unsolicited goods within the recovery period you can keep the goods with no obligation to pay.
You are not entitled to keep the products if the goods were not intended for you (e.g. the packaging was clearly addressed to another person).You are not liable for any loss or damage resulting from a supply of unsolicited services.
Some of the ways to avoid being caught in this unsettling situation are by being on the lookout when you receive goods or services that you have not agreed to pay for. In the event that this does happen, you are under no legal obligation to purchase the product, no matter what high-pressure selling tactics the seller uses. The thing to remember is that you are able to contact the business that has sent the product to you. By doing this you reduce the time that the business has to collect the goods from three months to one month. In this recovery period, if the company does not pick up the product, you are able to keep it and use it as you please.
Aside from Australian Consumer Law,