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crankywithakeyboard's avatar

What about mail delivered to wrong house?

Asked by crankywithakeyboard (649 points ) June 3rd, 2010

Our mailman lately has been making at least one wrong delivery per week. Well, the other day a package was wrongly delivered and my husband told me but left it out on the front porch. We forgot about it and didn’t bring it in.

Then there was a huge, huge rain storm last night. At literally 2:00 am we remembered and brought it in. The box was falling apart a bit (I did not open it) and it seems that whatever is in there was well packed with lots of plastic lining and that it is something light (hopefully not electronics or something).

I will drive it over to the right people (that’s how far wrong the delivery was) later today but I’m wondering if it were damaged, what would my liability be, if any?

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16 Answers

BoBo1946's avatar

Had the same problem and contacted the post office via their website. This might help.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5037141_file-complaint-post-office.html

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I don’t see how you could be held liable for damages. All you did was not touch something that didn’t belong to you.

BoBo1946's avatar

again, talk to the post office…seems they would be liable!

perspicacious's avatar

Next time, leave it for the postman to pick up the next day. You can write “addressee unknown” on it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You did the right thing. Isn’t that how you’d like to be treated?

perspicacious's avatar

I’ll add, anytime you take possession of something like that, you are responsible for what happens to it while in your possession. You bring upon yourself the “reasonable man” standard of care that is used in negligence claims. If you had left the item outside your door, you would bear no responsibility. If it’s damaged it likely happened while outside, but you could now have to prove that.
This is my opinion, not legal advice.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@perspicacious has a good point. If you had left it completely untouched you would have been bulletproof. Now, having touched it, you may have to prove that you didn’t damage it.

Merriment's avatar

You aren’t going to be held liable for anything. You didn’t ask for it to be delivered to your house. The mailman made a mistake. Damage from leaving it outside is not your problem as at no point did you accept responsibility for the package.

It’s very nice of you to forward the package because technically you could keep it. The customer will contact the company they purchased from to report never having received it and get a replacement and the post office and that company would have to work out settlement for the loss of the original package.

JLeslie's avatar

You did nothing wrong. If something was left at my front door I might not know for days. I never use my front door, and I cannot see if something is left there when I drive up my driveway. If it were me I probably would not drive it to the other persons house, that is very nice of you (I would brink it to a close neighbors home). I would try to call the other person if it were easy to get their number or I would call the post office and let them know the item was left at your home and it is not addressed to you. Since it is not in your mailbox the postman might not notice a note you wrote on the box, because he may not go over to the box. If it is Fedex or USPS even more reason to contact them, because they will not return to your home unless there is a delivery.

I wouldn’t worry. I think whatever you do, your good intentions are apparent.

janedelila's avatar

Merriment, it is NOT true that you can technically keep it. It is a crime, and people have been prosecuted for it. When someone complains they did not get their package, the mailman says “well, I delivered to…” and then invesigation, police, etc.

Merriment's avatar

@janedelila- technically “they” would have to

A: Figure out where the hell they actually left the package.
B. Prove that the occupants of that home actually took the package (it was left unattended outside and anybody could have taken it from the porch)
C. Prosecute
D. Get a conviction

It’s not going to happen.

If the item were so valuable as to be worth all that fuss they would never have left it on a porch rather than having the recipient sign for receipt of said item.

Is keeping it the “right” thing to do? No. That should be reason enough not to keep it. Not scare tactics of highly, highly unlikely prosecution.

janedelila's avatar

Look in the newspaper. Look online. Anywhere. People have, and will continue to be, prosecuted for this. My father is a postmaster. Mailmen have memories…

JLeslie's avatar

@Merriment Wow. I cannot believe someone would actually feel entitled to keep it. I would not think of it even if it were the law. Someone is waiting for that package.

Merriment's avatar

@janedelila – I know when my own purchases have been misdelivered into the mists there is no hue and cry or knocking on the doors of all the possible homes that it could have been misdirected to. Instead it is handled as a loss between the shipper and the delivery company. Is this right? Maybe not. But just like credit card companies have come to write off fraud charges without seeking to prosecute the criminals due to the relative costs vs the likelihood of recovery, it is rare for anyone to be prosecuted for keeping a blender. Again, I’m not saying it is the right thing to do…just that knowing it’s the wrong thing to do should be enough deterrent without bogeyman stories of unlikely prosecution.

@JLeslie – Wow. I know, right? I can’t imagine having to worry that I would be prosecuted for not taking the package in the night it was delivered to my home in error.. but there you have it, strange shit happens:)

chubbychu's avatar

Merriment, I like the way you think and write. It was so nice to read your response that I had to sign up to give you a “great answer” star.

Merriment's avatar

@chubbychu thank you for that lovely compliment, you’ve made my day!

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