Two cameras I didn't order. Don't know who sent them. Now what?
October 5, 2006 10:47 PM   Subscribe

I just got two digital cameras at my door. I didn't order them. I don't think I know who did. What next? more inside

I came home and found two packages from on my doorstep. I opened them, and found they had digital cameras in them. I did the obvious thing, and checked my credit cards -- hadn't been bought off them. I got a hold of, and they were able to tell me the name of the person who bought them, and where that person lived.

These had no signature needed, and were left by my apartment door. The front door of my building is not locked, and these were in an unsecured area.

I don't think I know this person. However, a google search came up with a phone number for someone with the same name, in the right city. Should I call this person? The police? (For what it's worth, I am in the same city as the person who ostensibly sent the package.)
posted by printdevil to Shopping (19 answers total)
I think the right course of action here is to work with to return them there. Worst case scenario: rightful owner is refunded, but doesn't have his/her cameras yet.

It's not really a police matter, and there's no way for you to know that the person you found via google is the right person.

The odd thing here is, though: how the heck was your address found? requires you enter a shipping address, as well as a credit card billing address.

Strange indeed.
posted by twiggy at 10:53 PM on October 5, 2006

The purchaser may have used a stolen credit card and then shipped it to your home, knowing that it would get dropped off at the door and hoping that he was able to pick it up before you did.

It's a possibility, but even in that case it should be up to to handle it. But just be careful to lock your door to make sure the alleged thief doesn't come looking for the cameras.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:17 PM on October 5, 2006

My suggestion is to call the shipping company (UPS?) and tell them about the mistake. They can, and probably will, then return the packages to, or will try to locate the true recipient.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:50 PM on October 5, 2006

If you recently moved to that apartment, this person might have lived there before you and might have neglected to change the shipping address in his profile to reflect his/her address change.
posted by shoos at 12:04 AM on October 6, 2006

Wait - you said that gave you the name of the person who ordered it and where they live? So, presumably if you do a search on that person's name in the city for the address you were given, it should come up with a phone number at that address? I presume that wouldn't process an order for somebody if the billing address/name didn't match the card, so presumably the person whose name they gave you is the actual cardholder.

This sounds definitely like Kickstart's situation describes. I would suggest verifying that the person whose credit card was used actually knows about the purchase, and if they don't, return them to Otherwise, arrange with the purchaser to pick them up. But I would make VERY sure that you contact the right person:

"Hi, I was just wondering, is this John Johnson of 15 Johnson St? Did you recently make a purchase on Uh huh... it ended up at my house. Could you verify for me what you ordered again?"

And if they didn't make an order, you can tell them to check their credit card history and call the credit card issuer, and if they DID, you can just arrange to get it to them somehow.

Personally, I'm impressed that you're asking this. So many people on AskMe are way more ethical than I am. No signature confirmation? Left outside my door? Nobody sees me pick them up? Helloooo ebay auction! "I'm sorry, there was no package here when I got home... if it was just left outside the door, ANYBODY could have taken it!" :)
posted by antifuse at 2:18 AM on October 6, 2006

A similar situation happened to another mefi user. See this thread.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:23 AM on October 6, 2006

Don't deal with the person directly, just ask to call you if they eventually want the cameras back. I'm sure they can make a note in the file for the purchase saying that you'l be happy to return them if they want.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:44 AM on October 6, 2006

My partner's card number got stollen a few months ago. The theives bought airline tickets and an online fax service. Very oddly, the tickets were extremely cheap, from some agent that specializes in student fares.

In South Africa, the banks send you an SMS (text msg on the cell phone) for every transaction (or for bigger ones, you can set a limit). I got the SMS on a Saturday morning.

I was very interested in figuring out where the number was obtained. The fraud unit for FNB (First National Bank of South Africa) was utterly useless. They were nasty and rude and uncooperative.
posted by Goofyy at 5:12 AM on October 6, 2006

Was your name on the box, or the other person's? I thought if you received something in the mail you didn't order, you could keep it. Isn't that some kind of law? I remember as a kid some kind of PSA about that.
posted by Spoonman at 5:46 AM on October 6, 2006

If they were mailed to you, you might be justified in keeping them. Always remember it might not be the right thing to do, but....

"You have cameras"
posted by gregschoen at 6:52 AM on October 6, 2006

This reeks of credit card or identity theft. I'd start by calling the police and asking what they think. They are there to help and are pretty good at giving solid advice.
posted by kc0dxh at 7:11 AM on October 6, 2006

Call the shipper and let them worry about doing the right thing. Your only other obligation is to resist the tempation to take naked pictures of yourself reflected in your kettle before handing the cameras over.
posted by pracowity at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2006

I'm with those who think it's credit card/identity theft, and your only role is that you happen to have an unmonitored delivery address.

If it happened to me, I'd call the online store again and let them know what I think happened. I'd return the package only if they pay for pickup delivery -- which they probably will.

You don't say whether you described the entire situation to the store. If you did and whoever you spoke to didn't suspect fraud right away? That's really not good.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:45 AM on October 6, 2006

I also agree with those who think its identity theft.

I would advise to run a credit check and see if they're any unusual activities like credit inquries or anything else that could suggest that somebody is trying to open an account with your name.

After that I'd go straight to the police. Situation has a good probability of foul play.
posted by aznhalf at 10:52 AM on October 6, 2006

You don't say whose name is on the box - I'd be surprised, somewhat, if you opened a box not addressed to you. I'd have called UPS and been done with it.

If they ARE addressed to you then I'd say you've done the limit of your due diligence by calling If they don't give enough of a crap to resolve the issue right then then the hell with them. I'm strongly opposed to stealing but I'm also opposed to wasting a bunch of my time because of a slothful organization with poor process control. They're the ones making money off sales, not me, so if they don't care to do it well who am I to demand they improve? I'm not a stockholder. If it's your address but not your name I'm still somewhat of that mindset. How hard should you be expected to work to make this right?

One thing I would say is that for SURE I wouldn't hand these off to anyone other than UPS to take back to Maybe it's a simple misdelivery, maybe it's credit fraud - you can't know because you didn't place the order and give them an address. If it is something malicious you don't want to be involved in any way that's going to cause doubt if the cops/FBI/SecretService (who handles fraud like this that isn't involving the US mail?) come knocking on your door.
posted by phearlez at 11:27 AM on October 6, 2006

Return them to Don't they have free returns? Usually, packages include a return label on them that you can stick back on the box. The company should not have disclosed the information of the buyer or the address of that person. Do not contact the person who bought them.
posted by hooray at 11:47 AM on October 6, 2006

A bit of clarification might help, were the packages actually addressed to you or were they addressed to this other person? Also, did it have your address listed? I ask because in my neck of the woods, our mail carrier is constantly mis-delivering packages of my neighbors to me. Totally wrong address and To: information, yet they end up in my box. Usually we just stick them back in the mailbox with the flag up and a note indicating that it was delivered wrong.

If the packages don't have your address and were mis-delivered, I would contact UPS and have them pick them up.

If the packages have your address on them, I would give one more chance to take them back (on their dime, natch) and after that, I would just enjoy my new cameras.

At the end of the day, you should only have to work so hard to help a company that doesn't seem to be going out of their way to help you. They shouldn't be giving out the other person's contact info, they should be sending you a return shipping label so you can drop them off at UPS and be done with it.
posted by quin at 4:01 PM on October 6, 2006

I'm not sure I understand why you don't just send them back. Surely that's the right thing to do.
posted by redheadeb at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2006

Another vote for sending them back to Don't get involved with trying to get it to the right person. It's not your responsibility, and even if you feel it's the nice/right thing to do, it's best (both logistically and legally, regardless of whether it's identity theft or not) left up to the company who sold it.
posted by AlisonM at 8:52 PM on October 6, 2006

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