cancels order, ships anyway, refuses refund payment for unsolicited goods

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Buran, Mar 4, 2008.

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  1. Buran macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I ordered the midlevel (about $15) iPhone headphone/mic adapter from on 1/15/08 after listed them as a source for such devices. The item was ordered with 2-3 day USPS shipping (for $7.75) requested about two weeks before I'd be heading out on a trip on which I planned to use the adapter. After two weeks went by and I needed the adapter in the next day or so, too late for shipping to be timely, I researched and purchased an equivalent locally and contacted Fastmac on 1/28/08 requesting that the order be cancelled.

    That same day, sales rep Gary Parks responded and informed me that the order had been cancelled and that a refund would be issued. (He also said that I could have requested faster shipping for free, but if they had shipped in a timely fashion when I ordered in the first place, that wouldn't have been necessary, nor would I have needed to find a local place to buy an equivalent item). In a separate email, Mr. Parks let me know that the refund would take up to three weeks to post. No problem; I wasn't in that much of a hurry.

    But then, after Mr. Parks informed me that the order had been cancelled and that a refund would be processed, Fastmac shipped the item anyway. I wasn't expecting to receive anything other than junk mail at the address it was shipped to, so it was thrown away and I do not have the item anymore.

    Here we are a month later and the refund still hasn't posted. Attempts to follow up with Fastmac have been stonewalled by requests to ship back, at MY expense, something I have repeatedly stated I do not have and did not ask for!

    According to USC Title 39 Section 3009, it is illegal to bill for unsolicited merchandise sent through the US Mail; the recipient has the "right to retain, use, discard, or dispose of it in any manner he sees fit without any obligation whatsoever to the sender." As the order was cancelled well before Fastmac put the envelope in the mail, and after the cancellation was entered into their system -- by its own admission -- there was no "prior expressed request or consent of the recipient".

    I have been forced to open a claim with PayPal (I regret not paying directly with my credit card at this point; never again!) and ask them to investigate and hopefully force the refund through; Fastmac's sole response so far to the formal claim is the same as it has been in other communications: that they want the adapter returned at MY expense (good luck finding it now!), and have yet to send the refund -- so my claim is, for the moment, stalled as they continue to fight and refuse to take responsibility for what they admitted was THEIR mistake, and continue to try to push the cost onto me.

    I have also sent a complaint to the BBB and to the CA Attorney General's office, am considering filing a mail fraud complaint with the US Postal Inspector's Service due to violation of Sec. 3009, and have contacted my bank and sent a summary of the whole mess to them and asked if I'm eligible for a chargeback if Paypal won't help, as I did fund the sale with my credit card. Should I also file with the AG of the state I live in?

    The issue is simple. I will not pay for something that they didn't have consent to send. Their rep even admitted they "dropped the ball" and yet they won't fulfill their promise to credit me despite having had a month to come through.

    I am not giving up on this until I have done everything possible. They need to step up and fix their error and issue the promised refund. I don't think it's right to try to make customers cover the cost of a business' mistake.

    What experience do others have with filing a chargeback through a bank when/if Paypal refuses to make things right? Fastmac is claiming that their precious tracking number (for unsolicited mail!) will stop me from getting the refund that is due me via Paypal's claims process. My bank issued me a provisional credit for the money and told me to contact them again before 60 days post-charge passes if I am still not happy with the resolution.

    And so far I'm not happy at all; they responded today to my BBB complaint with basically the same old excuse that boils down to: "send back the unsolicited merchandise you didn't ask for, that by law you don't have to pay for, at your expense, and we'll give you the money that we refuse to refund for a confirmed-cancelled order". I have had to repeatedly state what they're doing wrong and they seem unable to comprehend what I am saying, offering up the same ridiculous excuses as a reason to hold onto my money.

    I also tried to file a mail fraud complaint today (since they still won't make it right; I did give them multiple chances before reporting it to the feds) and the server errored out, so I'll be mailing a complaint in the next day or two.

    Where else can I go to expose them? Salinas (CA) news? Any other shaming organizations? There's got to be something I can do. I know it's not a lot of money but I don't appreciate having money held hostage in violation of law.

    Don't order from Fastmac. They don't deserve your business and will hold YOU responsible for THEIR mistakes.
  2. Cyroceon macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2008
    I am with you, and I feel your pain. However, the hole in your story and the problem with your argument is the item is gone. I'm not saying that, that limits their liability, but I am saying that anyone who is reviewing the situation will inevitably find that they sent a product that was purchased. The product has disappeared and the customer wants a refund. I see your argument saying, but it was already confirmed cancelled, however that does not take into account the fact that it takes time for communication to be relayed throughout a company.

    I think the imminent resolution for this issue will be either a) you take the loss, or b) you take some sort of credit or something. I do wish you the best of luck though.
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Since you threw the item away, seems to me that it limits your options. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time on a $20-$30 item. Just accept your loss and move on and never order from them again.
  4. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  5. Buran thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I already explained that I don't keep junk mail, to forestall exactly the kind of questions that multiple people asked (sigh); why should I waste my time opening mail that I know I didn't ask for? That address doesn't get bills or any such things that I need to actually open and look at so anything that I know isn't something I ordered it goes right in the recycle bin or the trash.

    There is no problem with my "argument" since my cancellation was entered and confirmed before ANYTHING else happened and a fair bit of time elapsed before anything else happened after that; it is not the responsibility of customers to pay the cost of a business' mistake. That's the cost of doing business. Maybe it'll be an incentive to do a better job next time someone gets fed up with ridiculous delays and cancels.

    Read carefully and you'll see that they didn't have consent to send anything, therefore I exercised my legal right to dispose of unsolicited goods sent through the US Mail and that I do not have any obligation to the shipper. I do not care what they think of that. I care that they promised a refund and cancelled my order and now are in violation of the law by using "we sent you something you did not ask for through the US mail" to hold onto the payment they promised would be refunded (if you can't issue a refund, DON'T PROMISE ONE, how hard is that?) and won't deviate from that unacceptable response. I believe at this point they are hoping that I will walk away from their attempt to commit mail fraud.

    I'm not limited in what I can do here. I'm not the one who is in violation of their own word and in violation of the law. They only have one option: issue the refund that was promised to me. I have time to pursue multiple avenues to get what is due me and warn others away from this company. I am not exaggerating but I feel that no one should have to go through this so I am simply telling the truth of what happened to me.

    I am not the type to roll over and submit to fraud. They will spend far more time and effort than that amount of money is worth, and in the end I will get my money by force, thanks to my bank, if trying to resolve it myself fails. Icing on the cake would be a letter to them from the state AG and/or the USPIS telling them that they'd better stop charging for unsolicited/unwanted mailings or face charges for mail fraud.

    I did them a favor by trying to work it out without involving my bank or any other agencies. They had an entire month to issue the refund when they originally promised it'd take three weeks. I was lenient. Now, the BBB and the appropriate government agencies will know, and they may even have to pay additional chargeback fees on top of all that as my bank is backing me up and told me that if I'm still not happy with the responses I get before 60 days elapses after the charge posted, they will act. And having a chargeback on your record is not a good thing for a merchant, nor is the additional fee banks impose when a charge is reversed. Trying to keep that and formal complaints off their record was a favor. Too bad they wasted it.
  6. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    I read your story thoroughly, and I don't think the law you quoted covers you. Unsolicited is not the same as ordered and cancelled. I think between that, and the fact that you threw the item away, means you are SOL.
  7. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    What kind of junk mail comes in package form? I dont see how you couldnt have discerned it probably wasnt junk mail.
  8. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    You can do a chargeback and probably get the money back but your story doesn't make sense.
  9. jamie329 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2005
    I think his story makes complete sense. As long as he cancelled the order before it was shipped (which is what I'm inferring from his post).

    If they ship an order that has already been cancelled, that is unsolicited mail by any definition.

    @Buran, good for you for sticking it to this company. Companies need to learn that to stay in business, sometimes you just need to eat the cost when things go wrong (especially when it's their own fault). By doing that, you will get a better reputation that if nothing had gone wrong in the first place,
  10. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    throwing away a package after placing an order and canceling it without looking at shipper. I guess that does make sense. If it was an accident, it is dumb. If I was the shipper, I'd just say screw it and write it off. But the attitude of the buyer towards the shipper and in his posts is rude ("to forestall exactly the kind of questions that multiple people asked (sigh)". If you post in a forum, don't expect everyone to praise you. If you are trying to badmouth this company, you have failed IMO. If you are trying to clear your conscience, good luck. I am as bothered by having something shipped after canceling as anyone. It is not unreasonable for a business to ship something after cancellations, especially 2 weeks later. Mistakes happen. I'm sure it was the "oops, I threw it away, you're bad, lol" attitude that made them not issue a refund.
  11. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Thanks for the FastMac feedback.

    You may value your time differently than I however posting on these boards, writing BBB, and contacting the Attorney General are worth about $300 of my time.
  12. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2005
    Someone woke up a bit neurotic today listen princess let me tell you what, I feel badly that the company pretty much has the right hand not knowing what the left hands doing. While its unfortunate and thankfully only $23.75 that you lost out of this whole ordeal I'd hate to see how much you whine to the whole world at every end of the spectrum if it came down to something costing even twice as much. My only advice to you is to take this as another life long lesson (one of many more for you I'm sure) and just chuck it up as a loss and never order from ever again, yeah you're out some $ yeah you have the right to let people know that they dropped the ball but really its just a loss so just drop it and don't look back. Because after reading that lengthy post and just imagining you filing complaints to just about every US government office short side of the president himself I couldn't possibly imagine how much more neurotic you can be. Now if you're strapped on cash I'm sure there are plenty of people willing to donate a few dollars to help you out.. ohh but whats this you say? its not the money its the principal.. yep it sure is.. the principal to teach you not to order from ever again :D

    P.S. Feel free to be neurotic with your response to me and how much of an outrage all of it is :rolleyes:
  13. erummel macrumors member


    Jan 5, 2007
    York, United Kingdom
    WOW! All of this flash and fury for $23.75! I don't know about the rest of you, but my time is far more valuable than that. How many hours have been spent in pursuit of this?

    And you are standing on a technicality of the law. It is up to you to prove that the goods were unsolicited. Which they weren't. You ordered them. You don't even have the packaging to prove that they sent it after you canceled. And besides, the law allows time for their 'cancellation system' to take effect, usually 3 business days. Because of your time constraints mentioned in your original post, those three days obviously didn't expire and it's quite possible the item shipped before you canceled.

    Bottom line, you threw the item away. Your excuse as to why has no legal grounds. You might as well have said 'It came in a brown parcel. I hate the color brown and throw away everything I receive of that color'.

    Either way, your foolishness only cost you $23.75. Next time it could be more. I really wish I had your kind of free time as well...
  14. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    Dude. Its 22 dollars. Don't you think calling the Feds is a little extreme?

    Let's just take a deep breath, shall we?
  15. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    The item was sent to you because _you_ requested it originally. Therefore it is not "unsolicited". The fact that you successfully cancelled the order doesn't make a difference. You contacted the company first, you started the whole business relationship, that makes you responsible to take reasonable care of things, even if the goods were sent to you by mistake.

    "Unsolicited" means that you didn't do anything yourself to make the company send the headphones to you. But you did. You ordered them. The fact that you cancelled later does not make a difference to this. "Unsolicited" covers only the case where you have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

    Except by the definition of "unsolicited". Unsolicited = "not asked for". But he asked for the headphones. He later changed his mind, and the company made a mistake sending the item, but he asked for it, so it was not unsolicited.
  16. Cyroceon macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2008
    This is probably the best reply you got thus far. Just learn from your mistake, don't throw stuff away anymore, and walk away. isn't that bad obviously. If anything you just did some free advertising for them on the forum. I am heading over there right now to check out their prices. I'll actually accept the item they send me AFTER I order it. Take care, and seriously, just move on.
  17. saltyzoo macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    It stinks, but it's your problem. You took responsibility for the item (by taking it out of your mailbox) and threw it in the trash. Had you written "return to sender" on it and sent it back, you'd be sitting pretty. Eat the $15, learn your lesson, and move on with life.
  18. Leemo macrumors 6502


    May 7, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    You no longer have the item - therefore you don't have a leg to stand on.

  19. dylangurl21 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2005
    I completely agree with your position. A cancelled order shouldn't be shipped and if it is already preparing for shipment or some ridiculous form of it (thanks apple) you can't cancel your order especially that easily. I can't believe Fastmac is even fighting your case.
  20. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Did you receive any confirmation of your order cancellation? You mention an email explaining a delay in refund, but does it mention cancellation? If not, your SOL because you can't prove the order was cancelled by Fastmac. They can most definitely prove you ordered the item, so you can't say it was unsolicited.

    While I disagree with others who say "who cares - it's $23," I do think you are mistaken to have thrown it away. To determine if something is junk mail, you need to know who sent it. If you saw something from Fastmac, how could you assume it's junk mail since it could have just as easily been the refund check you were expecting. I call BS.
  21. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    By your logic, I could order, 2 30" ACD's , wait two or three days, till I know they're in the system, Cancel the order, & once they get here, say that I can keep them and demand my money refunded. You solicited the order, before canceling it, canceling the order does not un-solicit something. It was your responsibility to send the merchandise back, instead of throwing it out, or more likely giving it to someone.
    Complaining probably won't get you anywhere, and if you pressed me in the same manner, I would've pressed mail fraud charges against you, as you clearly received the goods or services you solicited.

    unsolicited |ˌənsəˈlisitid|
    not asked for; given or done voluntarily : unsolicited junk mail.

    Get over it. Or you may get what you deserve.
    Mail Fraud charges, and slander charges to boot.
    They sent the merhc. You paid for it. You did not send it back. IT"S YOURS!!
  22. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I disagree with the general sentiment of this thread.

    I've never ordered anything from Fastmac, but over the years I've ordered many things from various mail order vendors and the problems that I've run into can be very frustrating.

    What if he hadn't "thrown it away" and just never gotten it?

    He cancelled the order before they shipped it. What more can he have done about it?

    I've received items I didn't order. Once due to a stolen credit card number, another time one company sent me two printers instead of one. Each time I had to go out of my way to resend the item back. It took time and effort. I certainly wouldn't want go out of my way for a situation like this, where it's clearly their mistake.

  23. nhcowboy1 macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Huh? So explain to me exactly how fastmac got this address in the first place? Oh, of course, it's the address you gave them when you placed your order. So are you in the habit of ordering things and having them sent to an address where all items received automatically go in the trash?

    I'm sorry, perhaps I didn't get enough sleep last night . . . the logic here just eludes me.
  24. saltyzoo macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2007
    How do you know that? And therein lies the problem. He has no proof and he "kept" the merchandise. It sucks, but it's his problem.
  25. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Because he said so.

    I'm not looking to argue whether or not he's telling the truth or not. But assuming what he said was true, then I stand by my original post.

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