A frustrated Pixel 3 owner who is owed a refund by Google is now in possession of ten Pixel 3 devices, nine of which Google accidentally sent to the user. Following the unexpected windfall, the user is holding the extra handsets hostage, in a sense, until Google makes right with the refund. So, what exactly happened here?
We only have the version of the story from Reddit user Cheetohz, who says Google refunded $80 on the return of a defective White Pixel 3. The refund only covers the amount paid for tax, and so the user is still owed $900.
Separately, Cheetohz ordered a Not Pink Pixel 3 handset as a replacement for the defective one, figuring that the full refund for the White Pixel 3 would be processed. It hasn't been, at least not yet, according to Cheetohz. However, Google further screwed up by sending ten Not Pink Pixel 3 handsets instead of just one.
Before tax, that's around $9,000 worth of Pixel 3 handsets. The right thing to do, of course, is to let Google know about the error and return the nine additional handsets that were not ordered or paid for. And Cheetohz would happily do that, except that Google still owes a $900 refund on the defective White Pixel 3 that was returned.
"Well, I want to do the right thing and return them. But I'm not willing to do so until my refund is processed properly. If I don't get the proper support here, I'll going to attempt to return the extra 9 phones via $1000 COD. If the shipment is rejected, I'll be selling them to recoup my money that wasn't refunded. Again, not the right thing to do but I've run out of patience and options," Cheetohz explains.
Would the user be in the legal right to keep the phones, should Google refuse to issue a refund for whatever reason? Apparently so, and that would also be case even if Google had refunded the proper amount. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states in no uncertain terms that users are not obligated to return or pay for merchandise that was never ordered, and "have a legal right to keep it as a free gift."
"What do you do when you receive merchandise that you didn’t order? According to the Federal Trade Commission, you don’t have to pay for it. Federal laws prohibit mailing unordered merchandise to consumers and then demanding payment," the FTC explains.
In other words, Cheetohz holds all the cards here. Well, most of them. If Google wanted to play hard ball, it could block the devices from working. It shouldn't come to an ugly conclusion, though—Cheetohz is willing to work with Google (hence the forum post), and a representative from the Pixel team responded to the thread promising to "look into this."
Thumbnail/Top Image Source: Imgur via Reddit user Cheetohz