Definitive Answer to an AskMe - A Decade Later March 22, 2019 12:17 PM   Subscribe

10 years ago an AskMe user who had ordered a TV online ended up receiving the wrong order, instead being delivered a much nicer, higher end TV than the one she had purchased. This user came to AskMe inquiring if it would have been ok to have kept the nicer television, leading to a very lively discussion. A decade later, a definitive answer.
posted by The Gooch to MetaFilter-Related at 12:17 PM (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

MetaFilter's own Nick Memmo?

More seriously, it sounds like this guy contacted Amazon (admittedly, not technically the company he bought the TV from) and they told him to keep it. Surely, Amazon should have just paid the drop-shipper for the error, if they're advising the guy to keep the TV. As the customer, if Amazon told me not to worry about it, I'd have assumed they were handling it on their side, not that I'd get be getting arrested and facing jail time. Maybe not so definitive after all?
posted by asnider at 12:27 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]

Several days before his arrest, police attempted to question Memmo. ... “I said, ‘Do I need to hire an attorney?’ and they said I wasn’t under investigation at that point. They were just asking questions. I answered a lot of questions with ‘I don’t know’ just so I didn’t jeopardize myself.”

Memmo is now facing jail time. He says if he knew he would be arrested, he would have paid for the larger TV or returned it.

Memmo was charged with larceny Over $1,200 by false pretense and misleading a police officer.
Welp.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:33 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Reminds me of "We have cameras" (took me a while to figure out that the comment was in response to this question).
posted by exogenous at 1:10 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


The police arresting and charging someone for something is not definitive. Police officers are not notorious for their nuanced grasp of complicated legal principles.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:15 PM on March 22 [26 favorites]


That's a weird story. The TV company said they called him a bunch of times and there's also some indication that maybe BOTH TVs got delivered? Still curious.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:26 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


As the customer, if Amazon told me not to worry about it, I'd have assumed they were handling it on their side, not that I'd get be getting arrested and facing jail time.

Yikes, me too. I recently ordered a sensory toy for my six year old and somehow wound up with a completely unrelated item from the Amazon seller’s warehouse. I hope nobody decides to press charges over an ill-gotten box of pregnancy tea...
posted by eirias at 3:05 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


That's a weird story.

It definitely feels like some pieces are missing from the story, and there are a bunch of contradictions.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:07 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


“I said, ‘Do I need to hire an attorney?’ and they said I wasn’t under investigation at that point. They were just asking questions.

Yeah the police are never the right people to answer the question "do I need an attorney." I love how they charged him with misleading an officer, talk about hypocritical.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:57 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Now that that's settled(?) did anyone ever figure out which old TV sitcom's opening credits featured someone's face being accidentally slathered in paint from a paint roller?
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:24 PM on March 22 [19 favorites]


"The shipping company claims that Memmo signed for the incorrect delivery"

I sign for so many deliveries and most of the slips I sign are basically incomprehensible. Certainly most of them do not have enough information to indicate the size or product number etc for what I am receiving.

I think we'll be waiting for the courts for the truly definitive answer.
posted by Gotanda at 4:35 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


If, at any point in your life, for any reason whatsoever, you find yourself asking "Do I need to hire an attorney?" the answer is YES. At the very least, you need to be asking an attorney that question.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:56 PM on March 22 [11 favorites]


Huh, I always thought you were entitled to keep anything delivered to you by mistake. This seems to suggest I was right. I think the guy gets to keep it, especially if he called Amazon, and even if both TVs were delivered and even if they called to ask for it back. I mean if they called to ask for it back it might be ethical to return it, but it doesn't seem to be legally required as per the linked info.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:09 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


The TV company said they called him a bunch of times and there's also some indication that maybe BOTH TVs got delivered? Still curious.

Uh, which is kind of odd too because there's lots of people who just never pick up their phone, because 95% of the time it's a telemarketer or scammer. And plus it would make more sense for a company that does business over the internet to contact you over the internet.

I mean, they could just claim, "Oh we sent you faxes too!"
posted by FJT at 6:41 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


About every 20th internet order I make 1) never arrives; and gets shipped later, or 2) gets double shipped - I get two shipments; which is usually a phone call and subsequent email confirm to keep both or 3) disappears after being shipped; which means I get sent another since UPS FedEX me or vendor have no idea where it went; and then months later it somehow appears on the doorstep, or 4) arrives ok; and has what I ordered; but also has other things as if the shipper was seemingly wanting to clear out odds and ends that were consuming bin space.

Can not imagine as an adult having a conversation about *Anything* at all with a Police over the phone about about anything save me calling in a crime or a 911 type of call. I'd treat some 'hi, this is the police' phone call as if it was a telemarketer; or some other ruse. Too many police departments; they react to calls; such as the swatting calls; with sudden action based only on what they have been told is going on. Except this seems to be a mail order invoice version of that.
posted by buzzman at 8:24 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Now that that's settled(?) did anyone ever figure out which old TV sitcom's opening credits featured someone's face being accidentally slathered in paint from a paint roller?

Maybe it's the Egg on Head in the credits to Season Three of "Charles in Charge" what rabbit hole
posted by Rumple at 10:20 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


This smells like some amateur figured out how to drop-ship high end consumer electronics and managed to botch their first sale. I just can't believe anyone working at a seller of size would have so much free time and corporate loyalty that they tracked down and filed a police report on one of their own customers. What department would even be responsible for that? Legal? Customer service???

But then again, fucking 2019. Corporations with petty grudges, why not.
posted by books for weapons at 10:33 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's the Egg on Head in the credits to Season Three of "Charles in Charge"

No. No. God bless you, but No!

(This is never gonna be resolved, is it?)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:24 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Was it pink paint?
posted by amanda at 6:38 AM on March 23


It looks like he was delivered two tvs and kept them both.

More importantly...are you sure it was a roller? I think it was a brush.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:18 AM on March 23


It definitely feels like some pieces are missing from the story, and there are a bunch of contradictions.

Yeah, it's Yahoo News after all.
posted by Melismata at 7:34 AM on March 23


Pretty sure Ted Knight and JM Bullock delivered one of the TVs in Season 2.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 12:52 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


uh, I always thought you were entitled to keep anything delivered to you by mistake. This seems to suggest I was right.

From what I've read, the legal interpretation is a little bit more nuanced than that.

If some random company sends you a completely unsolicited package, then it falls under the FTC's definition of "unordered merchandise". You don't have any responsibility to the company, even if they later demand payment.

(The rule was created to deter a common scam: you send an order of e.g. printer toner to an office. Some unsuspecting employee opens it, thinking it was something they ordered and just lost track of. Then you hit them with an inflated bill, and accuse them of theft if they don't pay it.)

On the other hand, if you really did place an order and then they send you the wrong thing, it's treated as a mistake in the fulfillment of a contract. You don't have to send it back at your expense, and you don't have to pay for anything you didn't originally agree to. But you do have to make a reasonable effort to allow the company to fix the mistake at their expense. That means notifying them of the mistake, and making the package available for a return shipment.

In any case, it doesn't seem like we have enough information to definitively say who followed the rules and who didn't in this particular situation. And it's complicated by the fact that there were two companies involved. The guy says Amazon told him he had "nothing to worry about", but did the third-party seller agree with that?
posted by teraflop at 2:08 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


wow one time I ordered a wrap top from some clothing store and they sent me two identical tops instead of just the one and they didn't fit all that well because they were tight on my back chub but I thought I might lose weight and I never did and so I never wore either of them and here all this time I thought the only problem was my back chub and it turns out I've been living a life of crime for like twelve years
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:23 PM on March 23 [16 favorites]


"admittedly, not technically the company he bought the TV from"
"but did the third-party seller agree with that?"


The seller IS Amazon, based on the yahoo article, it was just a 3rd party delivery service. Which, if they went through the trouble of calling the police over this, it sounds like Amazon had them on the hook for the cost of the TV.

If thats the case, that's ... really fucked up. But it's amazon so what else do we expect?
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:29 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I bought some headphones from Amazon, didn't like them, and sent them back and left a 1 star review. The manufacturer contacted me about the review and said that they'd send me a new pair and I could keep the old ones. I wrote back and said, "No thanks. I didn't like them. I already sent them back and got my refund." Lo and behold, they sent me a new pair. WTF?

/me waits for the po-po.
posted by dobbs at 4:45 PM on March 23


There's Title 39, United States Code, Section 3009, but that's specific to items sent by the US Post Office. Is anyone aware of a comparable law that covers non Postal Service shippers such as UPS and FedEx and the like? The fact that the FTC article linked to above makes mention of seeking help from your postal inspector, makes me wonder if it was written with the assumption the Unordered Merchandise would be shipped by mail.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:27 PM on March 23


I just reported that something I ordered from one of those junk Chinese shopping sites never showed up. Their robot gave me a refund and told me that if the product shows up I can keep it. I assume the police are holding the 20g of Cracked Heel Balm Cream For Rough Dry & Cracked Chapped Hand/Feet Heel Skin Care Cream Natural Essence while they set up an elaborate sting operation.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:31 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


The seller IS Amazon, based on the yahoo article, it was just a 3rd party delivery service.

I read it as being a third-party vendor selling through the Amazon marketplace, but you may be right. The wording in the original news story is ambiguous, IMO.
posted by asnider at 9:20 AM on March 25


This story does not add up. Did they get one TV delivered, or two?

If they got one TV, but of the wrong size (86 inches vs 74), I don't see why the police are involved.

If he got two TVs and kept both while ignoring calls from the delivery company trying to recover the larger one, well, I think he had it coming.

Definitive answer? I'm going to rule this an Incomplete .
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:14 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Ooh, interesting. My roommate in college had a TV that apparently was the result of double delivery. That seemed highly unethical to me at the time, but I never seriously considered that they might arrest him for it.
posted by wnissen at 5:19 PM on March 26


We're laughing, but an incident just like this kicked off the nerve-janglingly terrifying film The Video Dead.

(By "nerve-janglingly terrifying" I mean it's crap.)
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:52 AM on March 29


I just reported that something I ordered from one of those junk Chinese shopping sites never showed up. Their robot gave me a refund and told me that if the product shows up I can keep it. I assume the police are holding the 20g of Cracked Heel Balm Cream For Rough Dry & Cracked Chapped Hand/Feet Heel Skin Care Cream Natural Essence while they set up an elaborate sting operation.

Story of my life.
posted by Evilspork at 3:16 PM on March 30


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