Business Halacha: Shipping Costs for Returned Items


appliancesQuestion: I bought a 220V fridge for aliya and shipped it in my lift. I also bought some smaller, universal voltage appliances (shaver, disc player.) at the local electronics store. If they are found defective after unpacking in Israel, who bears the shipping costs of the items?

Answer: Although the seller or manufacturer must refund or replace the item, they are not responsible (according to halacha) for the incurred shipping costs. Nor are they responsible for the additional shipping costs of the new fridge or for the fact that customs authority may not allow the item in without taxation. If it is no longer worthwhile for the customer to import the fridge, he can ask for a refund rather than replacement. [U.S. law, however, does seem to allow for some consequential damage.] Only if the seller was aware of the defect and that the person was planning to take it overseas is he responsible for incidental damage caused, based on the concept of garmi, directly caused damaged.

On the other hand, the shipping costs to return the defective fridge from Israel is the seller’s responsibility. However, if the buyer didn’t notify the seller that he intended to take it overseas (as with the smaller appliances), then he must return them to the seller. (C.M. 232:21)

{Business Halacha Institute}

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