This couple keeps receiving free items from Amazon—but they want it to stop

Coming home and seeing that a package you ordered from Amazon has arrived is one of those small pleasures that can make your day. However, one couple from Acton, Massachusetts, has been inundated with packages from the online retailer. The problem is—they didn’t order them. Since October, Mike and Kelly Gallivan have received more than 20 unordered and unwanted packages from Amazon.

The packages have been filled with mostly inexpensive items, such as a plastic fan that plugs into a USB port and phone chargers. Although the Gallivans found the mysterious packages amusing at first, it has now become more of a nuisance that they prefer would stop.

“At first it was kind of weird. Then kind of funny. Then kind of creepy,” Kelly told The Washington Post. “We don’t want this stuff. Some of it’s trash; some it’s pretty good stuff. But we just don’t want this stuff and, it’s just an uncomfortable feeling that we keep getting these things.”


Flickr | Global X

They contacted Amazon for help, and they were told that the items were paid for with a gift card, but that they don’t have a sender’s name or address. The Gallivans have so far not been charged for any purchases, but they’re starting to worry that all the packages are part of a scam that will come to harm them in some way.

So far, they have been unable to crack the code and discover why they’re receiving these packages or who is responsible. The Gallivans even enlisted the help of Boston Globe consumer advocacy reporter Sean P. Murphy, who began to look into the matter on their behalf. Amazon gave statements that they investigate all such inquiries and that they are taking steps to ensure problems like this don’t occur.

Meanwhile, the packages are still arriving at the Gallivan residence. One possible explanation for the mysterious phenomenon is something called “brushing,” which refers to the practice of an online seller purchasing their own products through fake buyer accounts they have created. They ship the products to a real address, and then the seller writers a positive review of their items from the fake buyer.

“The positive reviews are like gold,” retail security expert Brian Kilcourse told CBS News.”People are always looking for a new hole in the structure at Amazon to be able to put more fake positive reviews.”

The Gallivans suspect they might be the victims of such a scam, which they beleive likely originated from a guitar accessory they previously ordered from China.

“We investigate every report of customers receiving unsolicited packages, and thus far our investigations have shown very few reviews submitted associated with these shipments,” Amazon said in a statement to ABC. “We will continue our ongoing efforts to prevent abuse and will ban all vendors and reviewers who abuse the reviews system.”

Here’s hoping they get to the bottom of it soon, and that the Gallivans only receive packages they actually ordered!

Have you ever received an Amazon package you didn’t order?

About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

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