Best Buy Sends Extra iPads In Order, Allows Customer To Keep Them For Being Honest

Who says big-box electronics wholesalers don't have heart? On Wednesday, Cosumerist posted the story of a company slip-up that turned into a holiday surprise.

The story begins when a customer ordered an iPad from Best Buy. When the box arrived, however, it contained five of the devices.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, "If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift." However, the customer felt a little guilty about keeping the extra tablets.

Laura Northrup from Consumerist contacted Best Buy's media hotline on behalf of the honest customer, and a representative responded with a surprisingly heartwarming message, which reads, in part:

First and foremost, I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your honesty. That is so rare in this day and age and I sincerely thank you!

We, here at Best Buy, acknowledge that we obviously made a mistake, but in the spirit of the holidays, we encourage you to keep the additional iPads and give them to people in need – friends, family, a local school or charity.

The gift comes from a company that perhaps is not in a position to be giving away any free merchandise. In November, the company's third quarter results were posted -- and they were not encouraging, according to CNET. The company recorded a loss, and its poor sales fueled rumors that the company, locked in competition with rivals like Amazon, may be a sinking ship.

On the other hand, after Consumerist's post ran, the site received word that another customer had experienced the same inadvertent 5-for-1 iPad deal.

In this second case, the box of freebies are currently languishing in a closet, as the person waits for a company response.

Unasked for merchandise is one thing, but unwanted weapons are another. In August, Washington, D.C,. resident Seth Horvitz received a Sig Sauer SIG716 -- a high-caliber, semi-automatic assault weapon -- instead of the flat-panel TV he ordered.

At the time, WAMU reported that while Horvitz's address and name were printed on the box, the intended recipient of the contents was a gun retailer in Pennsylvania.

Holiday Shopping Nightmares 2012