Unsolicited goods

Have you ever received a product that you had not ordered? This is called an unsolicited shipment. This is illegal. The company cannot put you under any obligation to pay for an unsolicited shipment without proof of order. If the company is of the opinion that you have agreed to the shipment, the company has the burden of proof.

The European Consumer Centre provides legal advice free of charge regarding ‘unsolicited shipments’ and mediates in disputes if you and the company cannot agree on a solution. Our website offers information, tips and template letters to help you take steps.

 

Unsolicited goods, ECC Netherlands

Good to know

What is an unsolicited shipment?

An unsolicited shipment is a shipment of a product you have not ordered and for which you have not concluded a valid purchase contract. A company may not simply send you a product with an obligation to pay for it. This is illegal.

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Should I pay for an unsolicited shipment?

If you receive an unsolicited shipment, you have no payment obligation. The company cannot hold you to a payment obligation because you have not entered into a purchase contract.

If you dispute the agreement and the company states that a sales contract was agreed, the company has the burden of proof. The company must provide evidence of how the agreement was concluded. We recommend that you do not pay until proof has been provided.

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Is it mandatory to return an unsolicited shipment?

If you have received a product that you did not request or order, you may keep it. If you prefer to return the product, please contact the sender. The shipping charges to return the product are charged to the company.

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I am receiving follow-up shipments after a ‘free’ trial package. Can I terminate the shipments?

Unless you have explicitly agreed to follow-up shipments after ordering a ‘free’ trial package, you have no payment obligation. Send the company a letter or email indicating you do not wish to receive any more products. State that you will not make payment, as you have never entered into a purchase contract. Please use the sample letter unsolicited shipment for this purpose.

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I am receiving unsolicited follow-up shipments after a ‘free’ trial package via social media. Do I have to pay for these?

If you are offered a ‘free’ trial package via social media, for example for diet pills, vitamins, energy pills, facial masks, food supplements or any other product, and you then receive follow-up shipments for which you are asked to pay, you have no payment obligation. Sending unsolicited follow-up shipments is a misleading trading practice. You are allowed to keep the products, however.

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I approved of follow-up shipments, but I want to terminate them. How can I do that?

If you explicitly approved of the follow-up shipments, such shipments are part of the agreement you concluded with the company. The company has the right to hold you to that obligation. Carefully read the general terms and conditions to see how and when you can terminate the agreement.

If you concluded the contract online less than 14 days before, then the rules for distance contracts apply. This means you may be entitled to the cooling-off period. The follow-up shipments can often be terminated with immediate effect in such cases. Send a message in writing, using our template letter ‘cooling-off period’.

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The company is sending reminders for an unsolicited shipment. Do I need to pay?

If you receive reminders for an unsolicited shipment, you have no payment obligation. Do not be intimidated! Pursuant to legislation, you have no obligation towards the company unless you explicitly agreed to the shipment.

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The company is threatening to send a debt collection agency, but I never ordered anything. What do I do?

The company has the burden of proof. The company must provide evidence of a valid sales contract. If the company cannot demonstrate your agreement to receiving the shipments, you have no payment obligation. Even if the company threatens to send a debt collector. Do not let them intimidate you!

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I am receiving threats from a debt collector for an unsolicited shipment. Is attachment of salary an option if I don't pay?

If you have not agreed to a shipment, the debt collector cannot impose a payment obligation. The company will first have to prove that a valid contract was agreed.

You can use our template letter ‘unjustified payment transaction’ to ask the debt collection agency for clarification. You can state that you expect that any further debt collection actions will be suspended until this issue is cleared up.

 

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I paid for an unsolicited shipment. Can I get a refund?

If you have not ordered a shipment, you have no payment obligation. If you paid because you thought you had an obligation, you can request a refund. The company has an obligation to fully refund you.

If the company does not respond to your request and the company is established in another EU member state, Norway or Iceland, please contact our legal specialists.

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How can I prevent receiving more unsolicited shipments?

Use our template letter ‘unsolicited shipments’ to inform the company that you wish to stop receiving shipments. You can edit the letter to reflect your personal situation. Send the letter by email or by post and keep a copy for your records.

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