Re: a thread discussing legal obligations for a package wrongfully delivered to one's address:

...it comes down to whom it is addressed to. As long as the merchandise is addressed to you, you may keep it. If it is addressed to someone else, then you are obligated to make reasonable efforts to either return it or deliver it to the intended recipient.

What constitutes 'reasonable efforts'? What if I feel I have made a reasonable effort, and the deliverer fails to make a reasonable effort to pick it up? What are my options? What about the 'obligations' of the deliverer? It sounds like I'm being obligated to care for something I did not initiate and have nothing to do with.


1 Answer 1


There is no clear legal answer, and in case the matter goes to court, the jury would compare actions of the parties. For example, shipper could say "mail it back to us" and recipient could refuse, saying "come pick it up in the next 10 minutes". Both parties are being unreasonable, imposing significant obligations on the other party (time and money, in the case of the shipper's demands). In the case where a shipper is responsible for the error, most of the burden is on the shipper, thus the shipper should arrange for someone to recover the package. The question is, what limitations can the recipient insist on – what is a reasonable level of inconvenience that the recipient should bear? For instance, it is not generally an unreasonable inconvenience to ask a person to leave the package in a corner on the porch, but it could be too much of an inconvenience to ask a person to interrupt their dinner in order to hand over the package, and it would clearly be an unreasonable inconvenience to require the recipient to wake up at 3am to hand it over. When jurors have to decide such matters, they think "what would I do in this situation, and people have different views of what constitutes a reasonable inconvenience.

  • 2
    Jurors shouldn’t be thinking “what would I do” they should be thinking “what would a reasonable person do”. Any individual may not be reasonable on certain things or at certain times or in certain places.
    – Dale M
    Feb 21, 2020 at 22:04
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    Nevertheless, that is how people cement the concept "reasonable person".
    – user6726
    Feb 22, 2020 at 0:20

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