/ Shopping, Technology

Should Zavvi customers return their ‘free’ PlayStations?

Zavvi sign

How would you feel if you received something for free and were asked to return it? Zavvi accidentally sent shoppers game consoles and then threatened legal action if the customers didn’t return them.

It was an unfortunate mistake when, last month, Zavvi sent some customers PlayStation Vitas instead of the video game they’d actually ordered. The trouble is – there’s a rather large price difference between the two, with the console priced at £169.99 and the game at £19.99. Customers in receipt of the goods probably thought Christmas had come early!

Zavvi has sent the customers who chose to see it as an early gift from Santa a letter threatening legal remedies if they don’t return the offending console.

Santa comes early for game fans

Some customers believed that legally, they did not have to comply – claiming that the Distance Selling Regulations say that if you are sent unsolicited presents, you can treat them as an unconditional gift and do with them as you choose. But is this true?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is no. If you have received goods by mistake, you are not legally entitled to keep them under the Distance Selling Regulations. According to our lawyers, in any legal action, the ruling is likely to be that the item should be returned because it was sent in error.

So, even if it seems like Zavvi has turned Scrooge, if you do have a PS Vita, you may need to send it back.

Honouring pricing mistakes

This is not the first time shoppers have benefited from technical errors. Back in March, some hopeful bargain hunters had to return items to Debenhams after an online price glitch online meant hundreds of items had a discount of 99%. Tesco and Next have also tripped up with accidentally advertising products at heavily discounted prices.

You’ve had mixed views on this issue in the past – Sandra Whitehouse was concerned that someone had to be held accountable:

‘I do not think they should have to honour a pricing mistake. Nobody should profit from someone else’s mistake. Someone somewhere is going to be in trouble for this surely, let’s be fair.’

But Tulip Bicycle disagreed:

‘I think they should honour a pricing mistake once they have taken your money, even if they realise before the goods have left their warehouse.’

So where do you stand – would you return an item that was sent in error? Does the value of the item affect your judgement call? And does a retailer’s response to situations like this affect how you view their customer service?

Comments
Member

How would you react if you had sent someone something in error? Exactly. You know a mistake has been made when you receive the wrong item and providing the vendor makes arrangements to collect the goods then it is only honest that you should return it. Good vendors will make a goodwill gesture.
I had a bathroom light delivered – broken on two deliveries, resupplied without question each time and survived the 3rd attempt. Then a fourth arrived by mistake, also intact. I contacted the seller who suggested I kept it – made a gift of it to a friend.

Member
Graham C says:
13 December 2013

Receiving something that you did not order it is quite simple Keeping it is Theft

Member

Not sure many people will agree with me here. But this is what i feel……..

If it’s a large company I would keep it. But if the company was small I would send it back as they may need the money more.

Member

I don’t see how the size of the company makes it any less dishonest. I had 2 cases of wine delivered by mistake from the Sunday Times Wine Club (I think). I told them I hadn’t ordered them. Much as I despise Rupert Murdoch’s empire I didn’t have the heart to defraud them.

Member

Legally it’s a gift. There is no harm in keeping them. This is what the legal team said on the radio yesterday.

This is why I would keep the gift….BUT….if it was a small company i would feel bad as they might need that money to keep going so i would send the gift back.

Member

According to the intro above, legally it is not a gift. Morally it is not a gift. No-one meant to give it to you. So it is not yours. If you transferred money into the wrong account, would you be happy if it was kept?

Member

The Radio yesterday made is clear. If a company sends you something you have not ordered it is a gift. You can hear this on the BBCNews website. I wont post the link as it will take time to show.

“If you transferred money into the wrong account, would you be happy if it was kept?”

This is nothing to-do with this blog post as money between two people is nothing to-do with a company / business….but, if someone put money into my account that was not for me i would give it straight back. I would NEVER keep money from a person if they made a mistake. Just like if someone (not a company) sent me a item in the post i would send them it back as they made a mistake.

Member

“Some customers believed that legally, they did not have to comply – claiming that the Distance Selling Regulations say that if you are sent unsolicited presents, you can treat them as an unconditional gift and do with them as you choose. But is this true?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is no. If you have received goods by mistake, you are not legally entitled to keep them under the Distance Selling Regulations. According to our lawyers, in any legal action, the ruling is likely to be that the item should be returned because it was sent in error”

Member

Which? sometimes make mistake, the BBC sometimes make mistakes. At the moment I am going off when I have heard from the legal team on the BBC Radio show.

If it turns out I am