I ordered something on Ebay, paid for it and received it within a week. A week later I received the exact same item from a completely different vendor than the one I ordered it from. Trying to be honest, I contacted the second vendor and explained that they sent me this in error, thinking they would send me money to ship it back, but they only asked my name and address. This all happened in October 2021. Today I receive a certified letter addressed to me saying:

You recently made a purchase for $xx.xx on October, 20, 2021(I never did), per order #xxxxx. You received the item on October 28, 2021 via USPS through tracking number xxxxxx.

You kept your entire purchase after creating a chargeback for Card Absent Environment. You failed to withdraw your chargeback, chose not to refuse delivery, and failed to return the items.

We would like to resolve this issue amicably. Please forward $xx.xx (the cost of your order) within fourteen days. If we do not hear from you by January 21, 2022, we will promptly file a lawsuit in small claims court.


XXXXX Laguna Niguel, California

I called the company and they said someone else ordered it, whose name I didn't recognize, and said I would need to pay for the scope or pay to ship it back to them.

I feel like they should pay for the shipping, given that I never ordered it. I contacted them initially trying to do the right thing and now they threaten to sue me? Is this just an empty threat so they can recoup their money?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated.


  • 1
    Of course, anyone can sue you in any court by filing papers and paying the fee for doing so. I assume that the true question is whether they would have a valid basis for doing so.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 10, 2022 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


If someone sends you something that you did not request, that is "unordered merchandise", and under US law, can be treated like a gift meaning that you do not have to return the goods or pay for it. Under the circumstances that you describe, this is not classic unordered merchandise. The vendor simply has to claim (and prove) that you did order the merchandise, which could be done in small claims court. What is unclear at present how any person could, out of the blue, decide to send you the same thing a week later. Innocent error is one possibility (slip-up by either party or some communication error by Ebay), as is fraudulent skullduggery (credit card fraud). The point is that the vendor would have to prove that you did indeed order the goods, so if they want to avoid paying for shipping (if we are still talking about a non-litigious response), they would need to provide compelling proof that you did indeed order the goods. This almost certainly will involve Ebay's tech staff (who would be in the best position to say where the order actually came from). So, yes, you could be sued in small claims court, and it really depends on how strong their proof is that you ordered the goods.

  • 1
    Just to add to this, in civil litigation its a general rule that you have to put all your cards face up on the table. So if you ask them for proof that you purchased the item they can't withhold it and then ("Tadaa!") produce it in court. In the meantime you should send them a letter asking for their evidence, and giving the full story from your end (including that phone call). State clearly that you never ordered the item from them, nor did you create a chargeback, and assure them that you will testify to that effect in court. Jan 11, 2022 at 15:54

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