Why Do Stores Keep Sending Me Someone Else's Stuff?

Consumerist reader Valerie is in a bit of a pickle — over the last couple of weeks, packages have been piling up at her doorstep, which would be nice if she had actually ordered them.

Writes Valerie:

Last Tuesday I received a delivery from ProFlowers addressed to someone named Vanda. I didn’t even notice it was not my name on the shipping label until after I’d opened the box to see that the card inside was blank. What was weird about this was was that my phone number was under “ship to” on the UPS label.

I called ProFlowers the next day and explained what had happened, trying to find out who sent the flowers, but due to their privacy policy they could not give me any information.

Two days later we received another package for Vanda, this one containing five pairs of men’s athletic shorts from Old Navy. At this point my boyfriend and I both checked our credit reports for unusual activity but we found none. But I guess who steals your identity and then sends you random gifts in the mail?

Since then we have received four more packages addressed to different people, all with unusual names. Three of them each contained a single pair of socks–two from Banana Republic and one from Old Navy–and the fourth contained two pairs of men’s athletic shorts from Old Navy.

I called Old Navy after the first package of men’s shorts arrived but all they told me was that they could “restrict” my shipping address in their system (which I refused for the time being) and they sent me a return shipping label to mail back the items.

According to the invoices, the packages have been paid for with a variety of American Express, Visa and store credit cards. The billing address (listed as “customer address”) is the same as mine, the shipping address.

This whole thing is so confusing that I don’t even know what the “right” or ethical thing to do is. I would ship all this stuff back to the retailers (except the flowers–no sense in letting those go to waste, right?) but frankly, it’s kind of a pain in the butt. Seeing as it’s all paid for, I’d rather bring it all to Goodwill and let someone get some use out of it. But then I have the fear in the back of my mind that Vanda and her buddies are going to come banging on my door looking for their stuff one of these days?

Valerie also says that she’s recently received packages for two other names than the mysterious Vanda.

Since all of the packages have come from UPS, we have suggested that she try to see what help they can provide. Has this happened to anyone else out there and does the hive mind have any suggestions for Valerie?