As detailed in the Washington Post earlier today, a 38-year-old man named Seth Horvitz received a package from a third-party merchant on Amazon this week that wasn’t exactly what he wanted. Last week, Horvitz ordered a 39-inch Westinghouse high definition LED television. However, the package that he received didn’t match up to the typical size of a box containing a large flat-screen television. After chasing down the UPS driver to check for another package, a disappointed Horvitz returned to his home to open the mystery box. Thinking that the box could potentially contain parts that went along with the Westinghouse set or parts to a TV stand, Horvitz was definitely stunned to find a black, 37-inch long, 7.6 pound Sig Sauer SIG716 assault rifle.
In an interview with DCist, Horvitz stated “When I brought it in and opened it, I was totally shocked. Items get mixed up sometimes, but never on this scale. I didn’t think I was getting into a gun/electronics dealer.”
The assault rifle hadn’t directly come from an Amazon warehouse, but rather a merchant listed within Amazon’s purchasing system. Horvitz immediately contacted the third-party merchant, but didn’t get an immediate response. In addition, Amazon wasn’t claiming any responsibility for the mix-up since the retailer only processes the payment for the third-party merchant.
Horvitz’s wife definitely wasn’t interested in keeping the rifle within their home, so he looked for a way to return the rifle to the original owner. Since assault rifles are illegal to own or transport within Washington D.C., Horvitz’s next call was to the Metropolitan Police Department. The MPD sent out two officers to meet with Horvitz, inspect the rifle, confiscate the weapon and start a investigation into finding the person that shipped it into Washington D.C. Basically, it would have been illegal for Horvitz to take the rifle back to a UPS store to ship it back to the merchant.
After the police officers left with the SIG716, Horvitz immediately reversed the charge on his credit card claiming that the HDTV never arrived in addition to filing a complaint with Amazon. According to Wired, the invoice within the box listed the rifle value at $1,560 and was addressed to a gun store in Pennsylvania.
In addition, Horvitz noticed that there were two UPS labels on the box. One of the labels was directed to the Pennsylvania store while the other listed Horvitz’s address. While it’s possible that a single merchant could have fixed both labels on the same box, there’s also a chance that Horvitz’s label was removed from the Westinghouse box and attached to the package containing the assault rifle.
While Amazon has also launched an investigation into the mix-up, it’s unlikely that Horvitz will attempt purchasing another product through a third-party merchant on Amazon. Regarding the whole ordeal, Horvitz stated “I wanted something that would be good as a computer monitor, that would be good for movies too.” Horvitz attempted to leave a one-star review for the product describing his situation, but Amazon rejected the review likely due to Horvitz’s lack of hands-on time with the actual television.