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Unsolicited Goods

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what is the law relating to unsolicited goods sent through the post, or the post in addition to goods the consumer has already contracted to buy; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is the law relating to unsolicited goods sent through the post, or delivered by hand or any other method; and what action the consumer should take if this happens.

The recipient of unsolicited goods—whether sent by post, by hand or any other method and whether additional to goods ordered or not—is under no obligation to pay for them or return them. Further protection was given by the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971, which provides that, after 30 days if the recipient gives notice in writing to the sender, or six months if he does not, the goods may be regarded as an unconditional gift provided that the sender has been given reasonable access for collection. The Act also makes it an offence to demand payment for unsolicited goods, but only in cases where the sender knows the goods are unsolicited and where he has no reasonable cause to believe there is a right to payment. Any consumer who is worried about his position should contact a solicitor or get in touch with his local trading standards officer, consumer advice centre or citizens advice bureau.