Ethical dilemma--I love these!

So, I ordered a loveseat and some chairs from target.com. Everything arrived in lovely condition with only one small glitch–they sent me an extra loveseat. Ethical person that I am, I called target. There is no record of me getting an extra loveseat (which I already knew from looking up the order). They didn’t charge me for it. I arranged with the person on the phone to have it picked up. She told me to indicate on the online return form that it was damaged, so I wouldn’t be billed for shipping. I do so, but in the comments section write “this isn’t damaged. It was sent by mistake. I didn’t pay for it.”

Well, as you might have guessed, they refunded what I paid for the loveseat I kept.

What should you do? I am a little tired of spending time on the phone, and part of me says I have done what I need to. On the other hand, I don’t like to steal, and part of me says this is stealing. Interestingly enough, most of the people I told this story to IRL were shocked that I even sent the extra one back and tried to do the right thing.

I say keep the money. You did your best. They messed up twice, it’s not your problem anymore.

Just think about the hypothetical situation where you had signed a contract with your employer that you would never have more than one love seat in your house - Target just made you dishonor that contract by their own failure to properly take your order. By doing so they put your job on the line. Stupid hypothetical, I know, but it illustrates a point - Target couldn’t follow your instructions properly and have inconvenienced you in so doing.

I think I would get a physical address for the billing management and send them a letter explaining the situation. I would specify that they are NOT allowed to just randomly charge my credit card again, but that if they would contact me I would be happy to refund their refund. Then I wouldn’t worry about it until they contacted me.

You could just send them a check, but Og only knows what chain of events that might trigger.

Give me the money for the Loveseat and I’ll make sure Target gets it.

I swear.

Sigh! No one ever said doing the right thing was easy huh Brynda. Of course you want to keep the money or you wouldn’t be on here trying to find someone to absolve you of blame. Only you will know and of course you believe it’s wrong to keep the money too. Do whatever you think you ought homey. Just realize, returning the money will be a turd sift because it’s against the stream.

Donate to local halfway house. Or sell loveseat, donate money to charity.

I think this is one of those issues where it’s going to be more hassle for you AND for Target to try to rectify the situation than to just keep the money. You made a good effort to do the right thing, and through no fault of your own, it still got screwed up.

Donate the money to a worthy cause and move on with your life.

This is exactly what I would do.

You’ve attempted to make things right. If Target is so incompetent that they can’t get things straightened out, that isn’t your fault, nor should you be punished by costing you extra time and effort. How many times in your life has a big chain store like that overcharged you a buck or two without you noticing or given you the wrong change? How many times have you had to argue with a poorly trained cashier to get him/her to do their job properly? How much has all that cost you in time and money?

My wife and I were at Wal-Mart a couple weeks ago, buying a few items, including a couple DVDs. The cashier apparently grabbed both DVDs at the same time and only scanned the bottom one because when we got home, one of the two DVDs wasn’t on the receipt. Am I obliged to drive all the way back to the store to correct her mistake because she can’t do her job properly? I don’t think so – I did nothing wrong and made no attempt to deceive the store.

And here’s another one: My last year of university, I bring a stack of about twenty books up to the register at the bookstore for my various courses. As luck would have it, most of the books had just had a price adjustment which was not yet in the computer system, so the cashier had to scan each item, manually delete the price, and input the new price. This took a long, long time – enough time for me to do some mental math and figure out how many hundred dollar bills to pull out of my wallet to pay for everything. When she was finally done, she turns to me and says, “That’ll be $14.52, please.” Now, most of those books were worth $15 or more each. So did I insist she begin again and go through the whole process because she had obviously miscalculated staggeringly badly? Hell no. If she can’t even process in her own mind that that giant pile of merchandise is worth more than $14.52, how is that my problem? I calmly put my humdred dollar bills back in my wallet, gave her a $20, took my change and my books, and left.

At the end of the day, Target isn’t really going to miss that little bit of money. And if they do, mayybe they’ll clean up they’re own act to prevent a shortfall like that from happening again. In the meantime, I think you’ve done more than enough to ensure that you’re on the right side of the karma ledger. This ins’t a case of stealing, but a case of bad busines of Target’s part. Accounting error in your favor, I say.

I would contact them and try to give it back. If they screw it up a third time then I would throw up my hands and put that money in a safe place because obviously that would be the universe’s way of telling me that I am going to need that cash for something important later on in life.

I’m with redtail. You have an obligation to make sure Target is aware of their error. You don’t have an obligation to spend your whole life chasing them down. Send them a clear letter, laying out the issue, and inviting them to contact you to resolve it.
Then, the ball is in their court and they can decide it’s not worth the hassle, or can fix things.

I think she is down to one loveseat - the one she wanted but that she got for free. But the donation idea is good - I’d set the money aside for six months to give Target a chance to audit their books - then donate the money to a charity - Target is big on local kids charities, you could even find a charity Target likes - since its there money.

I hate to say this because incompetency drives me crazy. But you were wrong here. You knew the total was off and yet you allowed the completion of the sale. Same as shoplifting. The dumb clerk behind the counter should have been able to tell that the register was off by orders of hundreds of dollars, but the fact is you still knew.
Sheesh, that’s like buying a used car for $2,700 and only getting charged $270.

As far as the OP, I think you’ve done enough. If it bothers you make ONE more phone call to customer service or a manager and at least get a complaint on record to cover your ass for any future problems relating to this purchase.

Wait a few days for the whole mess to percolate through Target’s accounting system. Odds are, they’ll notify you of the error, and that they’ve taken steps to “correct” it – you’ll see the charge reappear.

I’m usually on the extreme of the “do the right thing” side of these discussions but even I would say “fuck it” at this point. You did your best.

I would attempt to contact one more time via the means of communication that is easiest for your – phone, email, or snail mail. If it’s phone, I wouldn’t wait more than 5-10 minutes on hold, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to argue with the service rep who wasn’t getting the story. As mentioned, you made them aware of the problem, you’re not obligated to go out of your way.

This. That’s pretty much exactly word-for-word my feelings. The only thing that’s going to get impacted here is the profit margin of the store. And only by a minuscule amount.

It’s just not worth it to them (or to you) to deal with extraordinary situations. At some point the time and resources ( both yours and theirs ) to correct this situation will outweigh the original cost of the loveseat. The more you pester them about it, the more you are stealing from them. Stop now and cut their losses.

You know, I’m getting a little tired of all these “Is it okay if I rip someone off?” threads. If you have someone else’s money that you weren’t intended to have (or have goods that you have not paid what you know to be the asking price for), that’s what you’re doing. The fact that it was some stranger’s mistake or the mistake of a large anonymous corporation doesn’t change that fact. If we were talking about a transaction with a friend, would you even need to ask if you should return the money? Well those corporations are made up of individual people who are all someone’s family and friends, and they’re just trying to make a living too. $10.00, okay, that’s not so bad. But we’re talking hundreds. How much effort does it really take on your part to try again to return it? Five minutes to write a letter as per redtail23’s suggestion and less than a dollar to send it off? Surely knowing you’ve done the right thing is worth that small amount.

I think you need to try again.