Today I received a cookbook in the mail I never ordered.

Title explains it all. My question is do I have to send it back (and pay postage to do so) or can I keep it since I never requested it in the first place? They want to charge me $25 bucks - but I didn’t order it nor do I want to pay postage to send it back - can anyone tell me what my options are?

Contact the seller.

Depends on the laws of the jurisdiction in which you live. Lots of countries have laws which forbid inertia selling of this kind. In those countries, you would be allowed to keep the book.

If you’re in the US, you’ve just received a free gift.

Thanks Susan - that’s what I wanted to do but husband says if someone sends you something unsolicited in the mail you get to keep it and owe nothing. My husband, just having gotten off of freaking probation recently is, needless to say, not a “go to source”. :wink:

I just don’t want to pay for something I never ordered to ship it back.

I’ll call them tomorrow - we’ll see what they say.


I don’t understand - if they sent it to me without me asking for it it’s FREE?

Come on! Really?

Happened to me twice.
I called the seller (Food & Wine) and they apologized for the mistake and would make sure it didn’t happen again. When I asked about shipping the book back they said to just keep it as a gift or toss it if I didn’t want it.

Sarcasm doesn’t translate well over the internet, and I can’t tell if you’re sincere or not. But this was my understanding as well, that it’s yours to keep.

In the US they can not legally charge you for something you did not request. So if you are sent something you did not order it is free.
If a company sends something in error they have legal remedies to retrieve the item but none of them involve the mistaken recipient spending time or money on their behalf. Ie they can’t expect you to pay for return shipping or even ask you take it to the post office, if they want it back they have to send an agent at their expense to retrieve it.

Totally sincere! Wow - I did not know this! Thank you, everyone!

As I recall the US law, you do not need to return at your expense nor pay for it, but you cannot use it or resell it – if you do, you are considered to be liable to pay for it as you have enjoyed its value.

If the seller turns the billing over to a collection agency, they are obliged to present evidence that you ordered the book by some overt and legal action on your part. Failing that, they have no case and will back off as soon as you demand evidence of a legitimate debt.

Yes, in the US, that is exactly how it works.


In the UK it would be up to you to write (I imagine an email would do) to the seller saying something along the lines of :Dear Sir, I have today received xxx from you without ordering it. Will you please arrange to collect it at your expense within the next 14 days or I will feel free to dispose of it."

My point being that it might be a mistake and you should give the shipper an opportunity to put it right.

Do you just totally make stuff up and post it?

Are you sure you didn’t order it? I ask because I ordered a cookbook (a great deal) once and paid for it. I didn’t notice that the fine print explained that by paying the reduced rate I was agreeing to accept other offerings they thought I’d like, either paying for or returning them.

It’s a fairly common scam inflicted on businesses, who often deal with a lot of vendors. Someone will deliver something like printer paper, completely un-ordered, and later the business will get an inflated invoice for it. They are hoping that the person who handles the invoice will just assume that someone ordered it and will pay without any fuss.

Where are you getting this nonsense from? The USPS website says,
"Unsolicited Merchandise

A company sends you a gift in the mail — a tie, a good luck charm, or a key chain. You didn’t order the gift. What do you do? Many people will feel guilty and pay for the gift. But you don’t have to. What you do with the merchandise is entirely up to you.

If you have not opened the package, mark it “Return to Sender.” The Postal Service will send it back at no charge to you.
If you open the package and don’t like what you find, throw it away.
If you open the package and like what you find, keep it — free. This is a rare instance where “finders, keepers” applies unconditionally.

Whatever you do, don’t pay for it — and don’t get conned if the sender follows up with a phone call or visit. By law, unsolicited merchandise is yours to keep."

I remember public service commercials on TV in the early 80s from the post office saying you did not have to pay for and could keep unsolicited things sent to you in the mail. There must have been a wave of scams trying to get people to pay for things they didn’t order.

That was a pretty cool quick blurb – a person in a parka, living in an igloo, opened a box and got an electric fan. The announcer said he could keep it, and he grinned and said, totally sincerely, “Gee, Thanks”