You order a TV from Amazon, but when the delivery comes, it’s a different TV. A better TV. A TV that costs twice as much as the one your ordered.
Do you keep it?
Nick Memmo did. That’s why he was arrested in a case the Boston Globe calls a “moral Rorschach test” burning up ye olde internet.
The internet is where Memmo turned to find out whether he could legally keep the TV, which was delivered because of a paperwork error.
He said he found the answer on the Federal Trade Commission website.
“If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift,” the site says.
But that actually refers to merchandise that is delivered by companies that have had no permission to deliver merchandise.
The delivery company, of course, figured out the paperwork snafu and asked to swap the TV for the one Memmo ordered.
No sale, Memmo said.
“I hung the TV with no fear in mind,” Memmo said, “because I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong.”
The cops showed up, saw the TV through a window and sought a warrant.
“Memmo clearly lies, refuses to answer his telephone and will likely lie about receiving a summons and will not show up to court,” the police sergeant wrote.
The cops came back again.
“They came banging on the doors with flashlights, and had somebody at the front of the house, back of the house, side of the house,” Memmo said.
He was arrested and led away in handcuffs, leaving only a debate among the legal community.
“Under the Massachusetts general laws for larceny, there needs to be a taking of property,” said Veronica White, a Boston criminal defense lawyer who said she’s never encountered a case like this in her two decades in law. “And it doesn’t seem as though what has happened here is in line with that.”
Others aren’t so sure.
“I just don’t see the defense,” said Steven Boozang, a Dedham lawyer who once defended former New England mob boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme.
He said the big-ticket nature of the item probably obligated Memmo to report the error to the company. “They . . . made a mistake, and he profited from that.”
Memmo, by the way, says he doesn’t have any time to watch TV.