LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

QLD Debt Collectors Chasing Me for Incorrectly Sent iPhone?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by HarrietBlack, 20 September 2016.

  1. HarrietBlack

    HarrietBlack Member

    Joined:
    20 September 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I was browsing through potential phone plans and one company seemed to have a pretty good deal going, but I wasn't sure I would be able to get approved due to a poor credit history.

    I entered a few details on their website as an enquiry and I received an email the next day stating that I needed to supply 100 points of ID and a payslip or bank statement. I was unemployed at the time and didn't have a bank statement, so I ignored the email and thought nothing more of it. Later that same day (only 24 hours after my online enquiry), a package was delivered to my house with a brand new iPhone.

    I immediately called the company up and explained that a phone had been delivered to me. The operator checked and advised that it was not meant to be sent to me and that I would need to send through the identification and payslip details, etc., if I wanted to keep it.

    I still have another phone so I continued to use it while the new one sat in its box and I waited for any contact from the phone company. I had no contact from them for 2 months when they sent me a bill for $54. I then contacted them and advised that I'm not paying a bill for a phone I haven't used and was not meant to receive.

    I have since contacted them several times and eventually they sent me out a return satchel so I could return the phone. They have also sent a letter stating that if I do not return the phone in the exact condition it was delivered to me - I would be liable for the costs.

    I have just moved house and had every intention of sending the phone back, and I have just noticed that it has a very thin crack under the screen. I'm worried if I send the phone back now - I will have to pay $1600, even though I can't afford that and never signed a contract or gave them information other than name/address/email.

    I have received 2 emails from debt collectors demanding payment of $1600 but also the most recent bill the phone company sent me which has a due date of 7 days time so the $1600 isn't even due yet but debt collectors have contacted me.

    I'm so worried that I will have a default against my name or have someone come into my workplace.

    Please help! Any help or information is appreciated.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 May 2014
    Messages:
    2,174
    Likes Received:
    258
    They have a legitimate claim if you keep their property. Get rid of the claim by sending the phone back. Recommend you take photos of you packaging the phone in their satchel and posting it.

    Return the phone asap, with a letter (keep a copy) saying you have returned the phone they sent you by mistake. Tell them at no time did you request a phone or intend signing up to any plan. Also say you are not responsible for any costs or damages they incur as a result of their mistake.

    See what happens from there and post back with a response if they are still hassling you.
     
  3. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 June 2016
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    4
    Rod is correct, the law surrounding your situation is limited and you are by no means compelled (by law, that is) to return the phone, nor are you definitively liable for the cost of the phone, however, giving it the trusty "sniff" test, I am sure you would agree that if you were able to keep and use the phone something would not "smell" quite right.

    The letters of demand from the debt collector are invalid since, as far as I can tell, you did not incur a "debt" per se, you simply gained possession of the telco's handset by accident. Ignore the letters, they are a bluff, and if a default was placed on your record, you should contact the ombudsman or seek legal advice - you may be eligible for damages, etc. Nonetheless, I am certain the default would be removed if appealed.

    Out of interest, did the letters state that "legal action may be taken" or did they state explicitly that a default would be placed on your credit file?

    Send the phone back, they will likely not mention the crack since they (should) know it was their mistake to begin with. Post here again if they take any further action once the handset is returned and I will gladly comment.

    Regards
     
  4. HarrietBlack

    HarrietBlack Member

    Joined:
    20 September 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you both so much, Rod and DMQC. I am sending the phone back first thing tomorrow along with a letter and I will take a video of me packaging it up. I will post back if I receive any other contact from them, but hopefully that will be it!

    DMQC I just checked the letters and they don't mention anything about legal action. They just state that if I don't pay the $1600 in full within 72hrs then 'further action may be taken to recover the debt'.
     
  5. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 June 2016
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hi Harriet,

    Further action would likely be "legal" action, however, it is worth noting that there is no mention of a default. I presume this is intentional given a default could not be placed on your credit file for this "debt", so no need to worry about a default.

    I would not stress about recording yourself, just send it back at your earliest convenience and express your disdain for the threats and inconvenience you experienced as a result of their mistake.

    Personally, I would have kept the phone and asked for evidence that I owe the amount; it would appear that they would not be able to support their claim - play them at their own game I say.

    Anyway, good luck Harriet, let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

    Regards
     

Share This Page

Loading...