Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

    Former MSE Debs
    Real-life MMD: Whose lens is it anyway?
    • #1
    • 16th Nov 12, 10:53 AM
    Real-life MMD: Whose lens is it anyway? 16th Nov 12 at 10:53 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Whose lens is it anyway?

    Six months ago our flat received a parcel with no addressee's name. It turned out to be a camera lens worth 180 (according to eBay), so we thought the previous occupiers would collect it. We emailed the letting agent, but never got a reply. After so long, we're tempted to claim it, sell it, and give some of the money to charity, or would getting rid of it in any manner be morally wrong?

    Click reply to have your say

    Note: Please remember that these are real-life Money Moral Dilemmas and while we want you to have your say, please remember to be nice when you respond.

    Previous MMDs:
    View All

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by Former MSE Debs; 20-11-2012 at 4:08 PM.
Page 1
    • deadrobot
    • By deadrobot 20th Nov 12, 10:17 PM
    • 241 Posts
    • 154 Thanks
    • #2
    • 20th Nov 12, 10:17 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Nov 12, 10:17 PM
    I actually sold an expensive DSLR on ebay last year and it went missing. I managed to claim most of the money back from parcelforce as it was their balls up but I was still out of pocket at the end of it and extremely stressed out! Is there any way you can contact Royal Mail or whoever the carrier was and see if they are missing a parcel, someone could be trying to trace it.
    Failing that I don't see what more you could do about it if there is no return address and no identifying information in the form of a packing slip or invoice. I think if it was destined for the previous occupants they most certainly would have came round to see if it was there.
    I say sell it on, or get into photography .
    • KxMx
    • By KxMx 20th Nov 12, 11:33 PM
    • 7,342 Posts
    • 10,575 Thanks
    • #3
    • 20th Nov 12, 11:33 PM
    • #3
    • 20th Nov 12, 11:33 PM
    I think you are ok to sell it, but could have made more efforts than a single email to reunite it with it's proper owner.
    • thegrifter
    • By thegrifter 21st Nov 12, 6:01 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 25 Thanks
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 12, 6:01 AM
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 12, 6:01 AM
    The fact that you have asked whether or not it is morally right, indicates to me that this is a pointless should already know the answer to that.
    Undoubtedly you could definitely have made more of an effort to get it to the buyer or return it to the seller.
    It's clear that you have opened the parcel, in which case there is almost always a packing slip in with the goods or in this case, given the nature of the goods, I would have expected a receipt, which will almost certainly have included contact information for the seller.
    Someone is out of pocket here, yes it's possibly an insurance company but next time you moan about the cost of an insurance premium think about the camera lens you're about to sell for your own benefit.
    • cwc1899
    • By cwc1899 21st Nov 12, 7:58 AM
    • 16 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 12, 7:58 AM
    Reselling a DSLR lens...
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 12, 7:58 AM
    It is absolutely NOT yours to sell!

    You should NOT have opened it and should have, straight away, taken it back to the post office with 'not known at this address' or 'return to sender' written on it.

    You are a thief by the mere act of opening someone else's mail and think how you would feel if this were your parcel.

  • Sambucus Nigra
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:02 AM
    • #6
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:02 AM
    It is absolutely NOT yours to sell!

    You should NOT have opened it and should have, straight away, taken it back to the post office with 'not known at this address' or 'return to sender' written on it.

    You are a thief by the mere act of opening someone else's mail and think how you would feel if this were your parcel.

    Originally posted by cwc1899
    Depends on whether there was a return address on it, doesn't it?

    And how would anyone know what was in a parcel unless they opened it? Genuinely interested in your response.
    If you haven't got it - please don't flaunt it. TIA.
    • PenguinOfDeath
    • By PenguinOfDeath 21st Nov 12, 8:10 AM
    • 1,257 Posts
    • 7,882 Thanks
    • #7
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:10 AM
    • #7
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:10 AM

    You should NOT have opened it and should have, straight away, taken it back to the post office with 'not known at this address' or 'return to sender' written on it.

    Originally posted by cwc1899
    How were they to know if there was no adressee name on the parcel? Surely if something appears at tour door you don't assume it's not for you if it doesn't have your name on?

    I would probably make an attempt to find out the intended recipient again but not sure what much else could be done - it's unlikely to be a 'a specialist' lens for that price. However it's odd if there's no senders address included either.
    • Gillsx
    • By Gillsx 21st Nov 12, 8:13 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    • #8
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:13 AM
    • #8
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:13 AM
    If there is no sender address then I would say you just sell it. You've done your bit to help it be claimed, but as no one wants it best you get rid. Giving money to charity is a nice idea - not many people would do that.
    • brewerdave
    • By brewerdave 21st Nov 12, 8:28 AM
    • 4,778 Posts
    • 1,988 Thanks
    • #9
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:28 AM
    • #9
    • 21st Nov 12, 8:28 AM
    No return address or name of recipient? Then no dilemma - its yours!
    • alittlemadam
    • By alittlemadam 21st Nov 12, 8:40 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 72 Thanks
    Common Sense needs to be applied here.

    If a parcel arrives at your door unaddressed, how do you know if its yours unless you open it. You opened it and identified that it wasnt yours, however unless there is a returns label identifing the sender how on earth can you return it.

    However you are not looking at gaining anything from it but to sell it and donate the money to charity so in my book everyones a winner.

    The original recipient would by now I would have hoped claimed back a refund of some sort and the seller would have claimed something back from the postal courier. The postal courier would have been covered by there insurance so i wouldnt worry about it.
  • Tulip1
    I don't really think that enough effort has been made to try and contact the previous occupiers. Emails don't always get to their destination. A phone call to the letting agent would probably be more effective.
  • ice_cold125
    did you ask any of your neighbours if they were expecting a parcel? it could have just had the wrong flat number on it.
    • chocaholicmanc
    • By chocaholicmanc 21st Nov 12, 9:17 AM
    • 59 Posts
    • 67 Thanks
    My best friend moved into a house and a few weeks in she found a box of wine (from one of those clubs) in the bushes in front of her house addressed to the previous owner. They hadn't left a forwarding address so she took it inside and left it - assuming they'd pick it up. For the next 2 years a box appeared every quarter. She contacted the wine club the first few times and then gave up.

    We had a lot of wine as gifts for some time after that...

    If you've made an effort (and from the minimal info in your post I'd say maybe try a little harder) to find the owner and return the lens, no one claims it - sell it. I think it's nice you're planning on giving the money to charity if you do (I'd probably treat myself to a little something too...!)
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 21st Nov 12, 9:40 AM
    • 689 Posts
    • 581 Thanks
    As there's no name on the parcel and you're in a flat then I would definately have gone round to others in the flats in case it was just that the wrong flat number had been put on the parcel - doing that shows you're a decent, honest person and if they got something for you in the future or could help you, then they would remember your honesty here and do something for you to - I've had that happen to me before when I lived in a flat and the person said they wouldn't have bothered except for the fact that they remembered I'd done something for them before so they helped me out!

    It's not to late to try now - even though it's 6 months later - why you've waited this long before asking on here I don't know?!
    • jgriggle
    • By jgriggle 21st Nov 12, 10:00 AM
    • 165 Posts
    • 262 Thanks
    If the previous occupant left no forwarding address with you or the letting agent and has not contacted you asking if you received it, and there was no return address on the parcel then yes, keep it.
    • trickycomper
    • By trickycomper 21st Nov 12, 10:07 AM
    • 46 Posts
    • 1,105 Thanks
    DSLR Lens
    Firstly, the lens isn't yours...
    Sending one email without getting a response does not make it yours to sell.
    If the owner does return and ask for it, you have to give it them. "I gave it to charity" is not an excuse. You will just have to pay them for it.
    Go to the estate agent in person and ask for the last tenants details. Call them.
    Owe to Capital One CC - 750 20/08/11
    Owe to Natwest CC - 1,050 01/12/11
    Owe to Tesco CC - 1,000 01/01/12 750
    Santander iPad loan - 450 300 23/01/12
    • janiebquick
    • By janiebquick 21st Nov 12, 10:12 AM
    • 405 Posts
    • 507 Thanks
    It sounds like you have done as much as is reasonably possible to do to try to find the owner. It's odd that there isn't a return address, but that's not your fault. what you really should have done is to return the parcel to the carrier, but that's not always easy. it's yours now, do what you will with it.
  • androm
    The law states you must do everything reasonable to attempt to find the true owner and notify them of what has happened. You are well within your rights to open the parcel to locate an invoice etc with an address on, if there is not one there and you have repeatedly recieved no response from the email address, and you have exhausted all attempts to find details via the carrier and ebay, then the property would revert to being yours. However if you have not done these things, and just sent one email and have other lines of enquiry which could furnish you with the true owners details or return address still remain untried, then it could be considered theft by finding. If you still have a prickly conscience, take it to the police station, get it booked in as found proerty and if unclaimed it will be auctioned and the proceeds given to charity.
    • alanq
    • By alanq 21st Nov 12, 10:38 AM
    • 3,963 Posts
    • 2,568 Thanks
    I find it hard to believe that neither the outside nor inside bore any contact details for the sender.

    As there is no addressee named one cannot be 100% sure that the lens was not meant for the current occupiers. (Close though!)

    I wonder if it could be argued that this could come under the header of "unsolicited goods". If so then the lens belongs to the recipient. _distance_sales.htm
  • rosgrech
    It must have come from somewhere, is there no return address on it, or paperwork inside the package?
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,051Posts Today

4,641Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • I've decided my weekend starts here while the sun's glow is still baskable. So I'm signing off. Have a great weeke?

  • No not correct. The big six do, but you can get fixed tariffs guaranteed not to rise and about 25% cheaper. Just tr?

  • Baaaa! Scottish Power has bleated and followed the herd, today announcing it's putting up energy prices by 5.5%. R?

  • Follow Martin