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?