If someone orders a lot of food, lets say over $500 worth of food. Then when the food arrives, the person denies ordering it (they used an email which to order it which is anonymous) and say they do not want the food. Do they still have an obligation to pay for the food? This is taking place in the Netherlands

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    If only this was asked on Worldbuilding.SE with a reality-check tag... Ain't no company going to send you $500 worth of food using COD. – Mazura May 28 '18 at 2:10
  • what does COD mean? – user477465 May 28 '18 at 3:12
  • cash on delivery - though I suppose the question still stands: what if you don't sign the (credit card) receipt? – Mazura May 28 '18 at 3:22

That is illegal.

I don't think it would be theft, as it sounds like the person ordering hadn't actually taken control or possession of anything not belonging to him. But I could still imagine a variety of other laws imposing criminal penalties, such as a criminal mischief statute or something like that.

Using a fake email address and denying it would probably make it harder to get caught, but it wouldn't make the transaction any more legal -- if anything, I'd expect it to make it more illegal, because now you're seeming to get more into fraud territory.

This is based on U.S. law, but I'd imagine there are analogues in the law over there as well.

  • And how would the police or law enforcement be able to identify the actual person? Let's say the name, email and address used was for Person A. For example, the email address was something like "personA@_______.com" and the address was person A's place of work, and the name was obviously person A. However it was person B who is doing all of this and person B created the email address anonymously using a VPN – user477465 May 27 '18 at 22:32
  • I couldn't really comment on how the police conduct that investigation, but I think it's safe to say that the average computer user will not be able to adequately cover his tracks if the police want to unmask him. The more relevant question, in my mind, is whether the crime is serious enough to motivate the police to use the tools at their disposal. – bdb484 May 27 '18 at 22:37
  • That's a great point, thank you. Do you think if this crime is repeated several times, the police would be motivated to use the tools at their disposal? – user477465 May 27 '18 at 22:39
  • I think the likelihood would increase every time it happened. – bdb484 May 27 '18 at 22:41
  • Lets flip that around - what if someone using said fake email address ordered food for someone else? The person receiving the food (and the bill) would deny the transaction also, but they aren't doing anything illegal. – Shadow May 28 '18 at 0:34

If they really ordered it, they entered into a contract, and you have a claim against them for damages suffered because the contract was breached.

This would be a civil claim, not a criminal claim, in the Netherlands.

However, if you're delivering an order that was sent anonymously, you have no way to prove that the person at the door is the one who ordered the food - and the onus would be on your to prove that it was.

It could become a criminal act under a number of laws ("oplichting", "fraude", etc.) if intent can be proven but that's not easy - and you first have to get the police/public prosecutor interested in the case.

It's quite comparable to someone ordering in a restaurant and not paying the bill, which is notoriously hard to prosecute criminally in the Netherlands. (Search for "eetpiraat" - dinner pirates) As a restaurant, you usually can only try to enforce a civil claim through the civil courts.


Of course they do

By ordering the food they entered into a contract where the provider would deliver the food and they would pay for it.

  • But what if they claim they didn't order it. Let's say they ordered it via email, and created this email anonymously, then ordered the food and said they didn't order it because they're being set up... I'm writing a story and I wanted to know what the scenario would be like – user477465 May 27 '18 at 21:08
  • You are now asking a question about fraud, evidence and proof – Dale M May 27 '18 at 23:32
  • @user477465 Then there's not much anyone can do. A common (at least in the past) way to screw with people was to order pizzas for them. People who were really hated by someone with a lot of time on their hands could end up having a dozen free bibles at their door along with a road literally jammed with pizza delivery guys and plumbers. – forest May 28 '18 at 1:16
  • @user477465 - A story eh? Ok, call somewhere and place an order for $500 worth of food. When you find a place that takes you seriously w/o giving them a valid credit card number, please give me their number ;) – Mazura May 28 '18 at 2:06
  • @user477465 You implied in your question that they actually did order it (by using an e-mail address that is "anonymous"). – Brandin May 28 '18 at 8:29

Such an act would be basically unprovable, due to the anonymity of email.

I suspect the first thing the seller of the food would do is blacklist that house. Too bad if they weren't the one who placed the order. Especially if it happened more than once.

Afterwards, they might restrict what orders could be placed via email in general. Or for orders of a certain value (or any order if they're feeling paranoid) requires a mobile number. They could then call this mobile number to confirm the order. After confirmation in this way, if deny the order at the door, they at least have something to trace.

In Australia, all purchases are protected by the ACCC, so if the food arrived in poor condition, or differed significantly from what was advertised, then they would have the power to refuse to pay. Naturally, if they did this they would also void their right to the food. But if the food was delivered in an acceptable condition and matched (at least mostly) what was on the order, then none of those rights would apply. Perhaps the Netherlands have something similar?

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