Return the parcel at my own expense or keep the doubled-up items?
November 9, 2011 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Should I return these items from Urban Outfitters like the store has requested and pay $60 for postage or keep the items? As I see it they've helped me out by sending another lot of the same items since the parcel appeared to be lost in the post, but what it boils down to is that I - the customer - will have to pay extra because my parcel took longer to arrive to expected.

I live in Australia, and I bought an order of clothes from Urban Outfitters a few weeks ago.
It was sent off but appeared to be lost in the post so I emailed UO and asked what they could do about it. They elected to send the same items over again, and requested that I return the original parcel if it does end up arriving
Both parcels arrived, but to return the parcel would cost me around AU$60 - around US$60. This is almost half the cost of the order itself!
Return shipping is free within the United States but not for myself.

What do I do? Do I keep the parcel (dishonest I know but I get the feeling they aren't too fussed about it because they haven't sent me any emails regarding it, and I don't see them putting time into researching whether parcels from weeks ago have arrived or not) or do I send it off?
I don't really have a need for doubles of all these pieces of clothing though.
Is that even stealing?
posted by radof94 to Shopping (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
E-mail them to ask if they will pay return shipping if you receive the package twice. If yes, return the package. If no, it got lost in the mail and you donate the items to a local shelter.
posted by jabes at 3:47 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

They should have provision to send you a link to a prepaid shipping bill that you can print and affix to the second package.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:50 PM on November 9, 2011

Sorry, I mustn't have described it properly but I have actually received both packages already.
I know they were trying to help me out but I can't help but feel like I've been ripped off a little if I have to pay to return the package.
I will check if they can send me a prepaid shipping bill, but my fear is if they won't send me a prepaid shipping bill I would have brought this case to their attention again and they may push harder for me to pay to return it myself
posted by radof94 at 3:53 PM on November 9, 2011

You acted in good faith in reporting the items lost -- you weren't trying to cheat the company -- but now you're in an awkward position given the cost of returning the products. I concur with jabes -- I would email the company, ask if they would pay for return shipping if the lost parcel were eventually found, and if they aren't willing to, I don't see a problem with keeping (or giving away) the items.

This is kind of an unusual set of circumstances, so I wouldn't consider it stealing in this case to not send the stuff back. With the cost of postage, I don't see much advantage for either party to send it back. I imagine the company would just view it as a "cost of doing business" mistake.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:54 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I imagine jabes suggested you ask them in the hypothetical ("if I receive them") so that if they say "no, you have to pay shipping" you are still free to do as you like and they won't hound you to return them.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:56 PM on November 9, 2011

I would seriously doubt that a big outfit like Urban Outfitters would punish its customers for mistakes like this. Email or call their customer service and politely ask for instructions on returning the package at their expense.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:57 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I saw that you actually received them, but I think e-mail cagey-ness is a good tactic in this case.
posted by jabes at 3:57 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Call the company and tell them what happened. They will either send you a shipping label or tell you to forget about it. Your continued business with them is what matters most. They will not do anything that might upset you like making you pay the shipping fee.

Most people probably would just not do anything but it sounds like you are like me and it would bug you to feel like you were stealing (which you aren't). One quick phone call will make you feel much better.
posted by myselfasme at 4:06 PM on November 9, 2011

It sounds like they have no way of telling whether the first package has been delivered or not.

I assume that you are looking for the ethical outcome, but don't want to pay for return shipping because you consider that to be unfair.

So, there are three options:
1. You keep both packages.
2. You send the package back to UO at their expense.
3. You send the package back to UO at your expense.

You don't want to opt for 3., because you will incur a loss. So don't put yourself in the position of having 3. as your only option, i.e., admitting to UO that you have received the first package, when there is a possibility that they will insist you send the package back at your cost.

Therefore, jabes has it. Ask UO if it will pay for return shipping 'in the event' that package 1 arrives. If they agree, you are at option 2 - fine. If they don't, you are at option 1., with a clean conscience.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:06 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just wasn't sure how well the tactic would work as the original order was sent around a month and a half ago and I wouldn't expect a lost in post item to arrive so late, but maybe I'm wrong to think that.
I guess I'll send them an email then, thanks for your advice
posted by radof94 at 4:06 PM on November 9, 2011

Doesn't help your current situation but it case it happens again in the future, check your rights regarding refusing delivery of packages (a quick google suggests you can do it but it wasn't an official source). In the UK you don't have to accept a delivery and it gets sent back to the sender at no cost to you (my postman told me the sender had to pay for it but I don't know if its true, he quite miffed at me refusing it but it wasn't my fault the package was 3 weeks late)
posted by missmagenta at 4:08 PM on November 9, 2011

Honestly, it's not worth your time to email them. They're not going to pay for the shipping, especially if the items in question cost what you said. Their actual value is less than $60 since you are paying 75% markup on most clothing items.

Relieve your conscience and donate them.
posted by erstwhile at 4:09 PM on November 9, 2011

I'm fairly sure that in Australia the laws regarding refusal of packages are much similar, but unfortunately I wasn't home when the parcel came and one of my family members signed for it.
I just contacted them and they have said they will not send me a prepaid slip, but they can reimburse me if I use the cheapest shipping method to send to them.
I'm beginning to think that it'd be best to donate them though.
posted by radof94 at 4:28 PM on November 9, 2011

The one time I ran into this, the company credited me for the shipping. But...are you shipping internationally here? I'm kind of confused on that, and that might change things.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:36 PM on November 9, 2011

I've had to get lost packages resent several times, occasionally to have the original show up eventually (including a Harry and David fruit basket that got lost in the mail for a month before showing up, yuck). In those cases, the company has always said "do what you like with the second one, these things happen and we won't charge you." As far as I'm concerned, UO's request for you to send it back on your dime is crappy customer service. If it was an Etsy seller with limited stock, I could understand that, but Urban Outfitters is not hurting for inventory or money.

Donate the extra stuff, or sell it and pocket or donate the cash. If UO persists, write them a diplomatically disappointed email about how their request is unreasonable and dumb.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:05 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you still refuse the package? If it is still sealed, take it to the Post Office and ask them to return to sender.

Or, you could even say that there is no such person at that address, and to please return it to the rightful owner. I have had packages returned form Australia after shipping via USPS, and I have not incurred any additional expense.
posted by reeddavid at 5:55 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

You could try to obliterate all of your name and address and all bar codes, leaving just the return address, then drop it into a post box anonymously. Or just donate to charity.
posted by CathyG at 12:02 PM on November 10, 2011

I emailed UO and asked what they could do about it
Email them again.
posted by theora55 at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2011

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