Delivery of goods to a consumer who does not recollect ordering
A consumer received a package of some goods from an online sales company, but she didn't recollect ordering them. When she called the company to inquire about the delivery, she was charged for a cancellation fee.
Details of the inquiry
I received a package containing three bottles of beauty cream from an online sales company, but I didn't recollect ordering them. I called the company and told that I didn't recollect ordering them. A responder said, "Product return is possible if you pay 1,080 yen of cancellation fee and cover the return postage." I told that I didn't recollect ordering the goods and I didn't want to pay the cancellation fee or cover the return postage. The responder said, "When placing an order, it's necessary to enter personal data such as telephone number and e-mail address. Your personal data was entered and we received your order." I said, "I can't swallow your explanation, so I want to confirm the ordering data." However, the responder didn't disclose the data.
I'm sure I didn't order the goods, so I don't want to pay the cancellation fee or the return postage.
According to the company, a deferred payment option was chosen for the purchase. Later, a bill will be delivered to me from a deferred payment service provider.
(woman in her 50s, self-employed)
After receiving the inquiry, the local consumer affairs center (hereinafter called "the center") called the online sales company to inquire detailed information of the order, and gained information of the orderer: postal address, name, birthday, time of order, e-mail address, IP address, terminal (type of smartphone), etc. The goods were ordered about two months before the delivery date. The company said, "We received the order and simply shipped the goods. Even if the order was made by someone mischievous or the personal information was misused, product return is acceptable only if the inquirer pay the cancellation fee and the return postage, until a damage report is filed to the police."
The center informed the inquirer of the sales company's response. The inquirer checked the orderer's information against her personal information, and found that the two pieces of information matched. However, the inquirer stressed that she had never thought of purchasing cosmetics, health foods, etc. through the Internet and had never placed an order to the online sales company.
At a later date, the inquirer consulted the nearest police and tried to file a damage report to the police, but the police didn't receive it.
The center informed the online sales company that the center had consulted the police but a damage report had not been accepted by the police. The company told that their response would be the same if a damage report was not filed to the police. Then the center consulted the police again, but the police still didn't receive a damage report. The inquirer called the deferred payment service provider, but she was just told to consult with the online sales company. After that, the inquirer consulted the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (hereinafter called "NCAC").
NCAC heard details of the case from the inquirer and advised her to write down the fact in chronological order to send the document to the online sales company.
NCAC called the online sales company and requested the company to inform the access log and access path recorded on the server. The company said, "We can't check the state before the orderer's access to our e-commerce site." The inquirer tried to check her smartphone access records on the day of order, but it was not possible to see two-month old records.
Because the inquirer insisted that she had never ordered the goods, NCAC thought it was highly likely that the contract had not been concluded. NCAC requested the company to reconsider the way for resolving the issue based on the document.
Later, the company said, "We will exempt her from payment of the 1,080 yen cancellation fee. Still, we would like her to cover the return postage." Because the inquirer insisted that she had never ordered the goods, NCAC requested the company to accept her returning the goods without covering the postage (cash on delivery), but the company didn't accept the request.
NCAC informed the inquirer of the company's response, and the inquirer accepted the result. Then NCAC concluded the mediation.
The trouble was caused by the difference of assertion between the inquirer and the online sales company. The inquirer insisted that she didn't recollect ordering the goods to the company, while the company stated that the order from the inquirer had been registered. The issue was whether or not the contract had been concluded between the two.
In this case, it was not identified why the order from the inquirer had been electronically registered. At that time, local consumer affairs centers across Japan received similar inquiries and complaints from a number of consumers. These incidents might have been caused by malicious mischief or misuse of personal information.
It is difficult for consumers to prevent this type of trouble beforehand. In case of deferred payment, a credit is transferred from a sales company to a deferred payment service provider, and then the deferred payment service provider charges a consumer a price. Even when you are charged for goods/service you didn't order, you may need to negotiate with the sales company to resolve the problem. In that case, don't leave the problem alone.