Ask Miriam | Double Trouble: How Do You Deal With a Shipping Error?

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Dear Miriam,

My husband and I just got a new stroller as a gift from his parents. However, the company shipped two to us. What should I do with the extra stroller?

Signed,


Didn’t need a double

Dear Double,

I had a recent experience with an online order that involved my order getting lost, getting a refund, reordering the item and then the lost order showing up two weeks later. When I contacted the company, they told me to keep the extra, which was helpful, since I’d already invested fully more time in this process than was worthwhile for a set of $10 replacement Tupperware lids.

Even so, I didn’t want to go ahead and keep them without reporting the mistake first, not because I thought the company would be hurt by it, but because I’d rather keep my own ethics as consistent as possible.

I’m sure on some level, you already know the answer, which is that you have to try to return the stroller. But I also understand that the hassle involved in dealing with that inevitable answer is beyond annoying, especially given the context that obviously includes you either having or expecting a baby.

Your first option, is to call the company yourself. Say that you received the stroller as a gift and the company accidentally sent two. Explain that you want to do the right thing by returning it, but since it was their mistake and not yours, they have to make it really easy for you. They have to send a shipping company to pick it up, they have to do it at a time that works for you, they have to do it soon so it doesn’t take over your living room, etc. Then, you’ve done your part and they have to comply if they want it back.

The second, more problematic option, is to tell your in-laws that they have to deal with it. Because it’s going to take some coordination to get this out of your house, having an intermediary actually isn’t going to make the process easier for you, but if they can save you even one customer service call, it may be worthwhile to get them involved. You (or, better yet, your husband) could tell them that they need to share the same information with the company that you would have about when to pick it up, and then hopefully this could get worked out without too much of your time being wasted.

If, after one or two attempts to contact the company, they aren’t responsive about relieving you of the extra, you have some decisions to make about what to do next. At that point, I suppose it would be time to call it your own, in which case it’s yours to give away, to sell, to donate or to save in case the original ever needs replacement parts (definitely a non-zero possibility in light of my own experience with and heavy use of strollers).

You don’t owe it to a probably multi-million dollar company to return a couple hundred dollars of goods that they probably won’t notice anyway, but you do owe it to yourself not to have the awkwardness of a less-than-ethical transaction hanging over your and your baby’s head every time you take a walk. The amount of time you’ll spend dealing with it will hopefully be minuscule compared to the overall lifetime of the stroller, and it’s worth it to know you did the right thing.

Be well,

Miriam

1 COMMENT

  1. There’s also a slight possibility that the grandparents ordered and paid (accidentally) for two. With a big-ticket item they likely would have noticed the total but it’s still worth checking on.

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