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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10231
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My daughter ordered a new washing machine on line. 2 were

Customer Question

My daughter ordered a new washing machine on line. 2 were delivered! One remains unopened in the middle of her kitchen a month later in spite of asking the company to collect it. What can she do please?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Why haven't they collected it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They said that they had no record of two being dispatched.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I hope has to look at this for you.

Does she have anything in writing from them that says they have no record of having two delivered.

At this stage in time, she cannot simply dispose of it because it doesn’t belong to her because they have made a mistake. They may not have the records but clearly, 2 were dispatched even though the records only show one.

She knows it doesn’t belong to her and hence, if she disposes of it pockets the money, it is theft.

There are a few ways of dealing with this. It needs to be in writing. She needs to give them notice under the Interference with Goods Act 1977 that if they do not collect the goods within the next 21 days, they will be disposed of at auction and the proceeds sent to them less any disposal costs including carriage. It needs to mention the statutory provision and the say where the goods are being held. Here is some reading on the subject which relates to goods left in a property but the effect is the same.

alternatively, arrange for transport back to their warehouse and then pursue them, through the Small Claims Court if necessary for the cost. Not particularly attractive and that’s why I have suggested what I did in the previous paragraph.

Make sure that she sends the notice by recorded delivery and then she has proof of what’s been sent. She can then list the item on eBay or suchlike, less any fees and commissions and less a nominal amount for her trouble in arranging the sale.

She could sell it locally she wished to provided she makes sure that she gets a reasonable price for it. If she locks at how much others sell for on eBay, then advertise it locally for the same price and if they do discover that this was indeed sent in error, at least then if they decide to take your daughter to court, she has an excellent defence.

She would probably be entitled to deduct some money in respect of the storage of this and although there is actually no contractual arrangement between them for the cost of the storage, she actually has a claim against them in common nuisance.

What can’t be done of course is sell it and keep all the proceeds. She could put the proceeds in a tin box under the bed and keep them there with all the other proof and documents, but what he can’t do is spend them. She does however need to give them notice, regardless, under the Tort Act.

Of course, this may never come out but it’s not a risk worth taking.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This has been helpful. I will give my daughter the information and hope the washing machine is soon removed from the middle of her kitchen! Thank you
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

I was pleased to be able to help you. Please don’t forget to rate my answer positive so that I get paid. Thank you.