Refunded lost item surfaces, what now?
July 26, 2010 5:34 AM   Subscribe

An item that I ordered many months ago, that was determined to be lost by the USPS and the value refunded to me finally arrived. What do I do?

An item I ordered shipped from the USA with USPS that I ordered 4 months ago and had given up all hope on it ever arriving, just arrived. Two months ago I reported it to the seller as having never arrived, and they initiated an investigation with USPS. USPS reported it lost, and so, probably though the seller's insurance, I was refunded.

Is the seller's insurance likely to chase me to get their money back, or will they just wear the cost?
posted by Joe Chip to Shopping (10 answers total)
Did you sign for it, or was it just left for you? What is the value of the item?
posted by Menthol at 5:35 AM on July 26, 2010

This has happened to me before, and my mother.

The package was insured to be delivered in a timely fashion. It was not, you were refunded, end of story.

The insurance company wrote off the cost when they paid out. It's a closed case to them - and it should be to you as well.

posted by cmetom at 5:48 AM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, all is well here. You have been compensated for your inconvenience. I'd say, let it rest.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:04 AM on July 26, 2010

They almost certainly wrote it off, as did the USPS -- the fact that they declared it lost makes me believe that it probably wasn't sent via a tracked shipping method. So you are probably fine.

From a moral/karmic standpoint, whether you contact the seller and pay them back the refunded amount is up to you. It is possible that they just ate the cost of refunding you; it's not necessarily a case of insurance having been involved. Personally, I'd at least offer to back back the refunded amount if the item was still useful, and it was from a small business to whom the gesture and the amount would be meaningful. If it was Amazon/BestBuy/etc., the hell with them.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:07 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

When this happened to me (with monoprice), they asked that I mark it "return to shipper".

I had already opened the package though, because it didn't have the company name on it, and when I told them that, they said to keep it. I would have shipped it back, but not on my dime.
posted by smackfu at 6:54 AM on July 26, 2010

Contact the seller and tell them that the package arrived. If the item is no longer useful to you due to the lateness, ask them how they would like it to be returned. If you want the item, ask them how to pay for it.
posted by davey_darling at 7:44 AM on July 26, 2010

I can see how some may think you "deserve" to keep this, but I vote for contacting the seller to find a solution you are happy with (if any). If you really think you were "damaged" by the vendor/shipper not delivering on time (like it ruined your wedding or something equivalent), then do whatever you want. (I'm not judging) You did not pay for this item (since you were refunded), it does not belong to you. For that reason I would contact the seller and offer to have it picked up by UPS or whatever.
posted by kenbennedy at 9:47 AM on July 26, 2010

I'd say it depends on the item and its cost to some extent. Is it handmade, unique, or worth enough that shipping it back is a reasonably viable option? A quick email to the seller saying "so this happened; Happy send it back to you if you cover the shipping" probably will result in them telling you to keep it, but that's really their choice to make, not yours.
posted by zachlipton at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2010

From an ethical standpoint you'd do well to contact the seller and ask them what they'd like done with it. In some cases they'll just say keep it. In others they'll issue a pickup order with a shipper, or instruct you on how to fill out the shipment order.

I've bought from monoprice too and mistakenly ordered the wrong items (a toslink fiber audio cable). It was my mistake. But monoprice just said keep 'em and we'll send you the right ones instead. Now that's customer service done right. I was willing to pay for new ones and shipping but they said it wasn't worth the hassle and expense to deal with sending them back. As a result I've bought quite a few more cables from them and recommend them to others.

Life's a balance, do the decent thing and ask the vendor what they'd prefer you do with it.
posted by wkearney99 at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2010

I think whats "right" here is different for different people.

You should think:

What would I want to happen had I been the seller in this situation? Go from there.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:17 PM on July 26, 2010

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