I purchased an item at distance (in this case online), this item did not arrive until 2 weeks after the end of the delivery window. Towards the end of that 2 week period the seller was kind enough to offer me a refund, an offer which I accepted. However the original item has now arrived, more than 2 weeks late.

Given that I now have my money and the item, am I legally obliged to do either of the following?

  1. Return the item
  2. Pay the seller the refunded amount

In case it has any bearing on the answer, the item in question has value of the order of £5.


1 Answer 1


You would not be required to do either of the things you state (unless you explicitly agreed to do so). What, strictly speaking, you need to do is to advise the seller that the original goods arrived and ask them if they want to collect them, have you return them at their expense or abandon the goods to you.

(In all likelyhood they will give the goods to you because the cost of them recovering them is to high).

Although I'm not in the UK, I believe the Sale of Goods Act 1979 applies. Strictly speaking, as you have not paid for the goods, they still belong to the seller - but you do not have to pay to return them.

  • I know this is a fairly old post, but the Consumer Rights Act 2015 replaced the SGA 1979 in October of that year.
    – Talisman
    Jun 3, 2018 at 16:08
  • If one offered to give the money back to the seller, would the seller be obliged to let the buyer keep the item in exchange for the money (effectively reinstating the original sale), even if the item had become much more collectable or valued in the meantime?
    – supercat
    Nov 23, 2023 at 17:44
  • @supetcat IANAL but it depends on whether an agreement had been reached before the item arrived. If so, that agreement cpuld be binding. If not, the recipient could simply confirm receipt of the item and that they withdraw their previous request for reimbursement (on the theory that no supervefing agreement was formef, thus the original agreement prevails)
    – davidgo
    Nov 23, 2023 at 18:45

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