So I ordered a package with a company (a Chinese company), after it not arriving and reaching the deadline I got a full refund (490 USD). The day after I received the money, I bought the same product locally for more money.

2 weeks after the refund I received the package that I got a refund for anyway.

I already contacted the company and we are currently figuring out what to do with the package. Either buying it with a discount or shipping it back.

But out of curiosity, If I decided to keep my mouth shut to the company and keep the package. Would that be Illegal? Would it be considered theft or fraud?

Thanks in advance,


PS: I have no clue on what tags I should add to this, but seeing that I ordered the package online, I added the online tag.

  • Why would lying to the company about keeping the package not be fraud? Lying to monetarily benefit - by whatever dictionary you look in - is defrauding someone. Ordering online or from a compnay in another country makes no difference. What is your point? Feb 5, 2018 at 14:39
  • 2
    @BlueDogRanch Who said anything about lying? The package was lost and I got a refund after the 2 month deadline. Two weeks later the "lost" package shows up. So what I am asking is if i do not tell the company (I am currently already talking to the company) about the package, would it be considered fraud/theft or illegal. Seeing that I did not lie about anything.
    – Granny
    Feb 5, 2018 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


It is their property, so keeping it without permission could well be seen as theft. I think you are obliged to make reasonable attempts to notify them you have their property before using it or selling it. Just like if someone left the item at your house after a party.

If they want it back, however, it is at their cost, you should not be out of pocket for their failure to deliver within a reasonable time-frame; you may find they've already claimed the cost of the product from the courier and don't want it back.

You are well within your rights to offer to buy it from them, and them to accept or reject that offer, this is a separate contract to the original sale.

  • Thank you! That was the answer I was looking for, it totally makes sense that its their property. From what I read online alot of people said, you are not obliged to pay or send it back because it was their fault for not delivering it on time. But I already thought this was both illegal and unfair.
    – Granny
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:02
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    A lot of the comments probably reflect the fact you are unlikely to get in legal trouble for keeping the item (depending on it's value, and the tenacity of the seller, and whether or not you signed for the delivery); that's a separate issue to the legality!
    – JeffUK
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:04
  • So what you are saying is that its for ethics, seen as theft and wrong but legally its not really common to get in trouble if you keep it.
    – Granny
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:05
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    Both legally and ethically it IS theft to keep someone else's property without permission. I don't know how common it is for you to be pursued for it. If I sold something, refunded it , and had proof it was received, I would want it back unless the item was worth less than the delivery cost, I'm sure you would too!
    – JeffUK
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:09
  • Oh sorry that I understood you wrong. I would also like for a customer of mine to handle a relevant problem by working things out together. Thank you for you answer.
    – Granny
    Feb 5, 2018 at 15:13

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