If a TV was delivered paid for to our address and we didn’t pay for it, can we keep it?

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If a TV was delivered paid for to our address and we didn’t pay for it, can we keep it?

The delivery guy said well if you didn’t pay for it and they messed up keep it. Now the company wants it back stating that what we did is a felony. Is it?

Asked on April 20, 2012 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is a crime to keep possession of any property knowing you do not have a right to it: whether it is felony or not will depend on the value of the television (crimes of theft are generally ranked by the dollar value of the money or items stolen). You evidently know that this is not your television; therefore, if you keep it despite demands to return it, you will be intentionally or knowingly taking another's property, and hence committing theft.

Since it was misdelivered to you, the company should pay all freight/shipping cost. It would also be reasonable for  you to try to see if they will agree to sell  you the TV at a discount (if you want to do this), since that will save them the cost and effort of freighting it back--but at the end of the day, if they ask for  its return and you refuse, you are stealing it. The delivery person was mistaken, and/or simply wanted to tell what you wanted to hear so he could leave the TV and go.


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