Mistakes are an unfortunate element of day-to-day life. It’s inevitable that we’ll get things wrong on a regular basis, so all that we can really do is try to learn from our slip-ups and attempt to move on. In the case of online retailer Zavvi, though, it’s hoping to recompense its errors by threatening customers with legal action. This is probably not the best public relations enhancing move that the UK-based online outlet has ever made.
The sorry incident starts with a selection of innocent consumers ordering a £19.99 copy of Tearaway for the PlayStation Vita from the online store. Some of those shoppers were sent one of the shiny new hardware bundles instead, which retails for around £149.99. That’s a costly blunder for the organisation, but the story should probably stop there. Unfortunately, as already alluded, it seems that it’s opted to threaten legal action against the abovementioned customers should the package not be returned.
“We are very sorry to inform you that due to an error in our warehouse we have dispatched the incorrect product,” an initial email noted. “We are contacting you in order for us to arrange a collection of the incorrect item which is on the way to you. If possible, please keep the parcel in its original packaging ready to hand back to the courier.” We suppose that that’s not terrible, but it gets worse.
The company sent out a second message earlier this week, which hinted that it’s willing to play hard ball. “This is our final notice to politely remind you that you did not order, or pay for, a PS Vita and if you fail to contact us by 5PM (UK time) on 10th December 2013 to arrange a convenient time for the PS Vita to be collected we reserve the right to enforce any and/or all legal remedies available to us,” it said. Ahem.
Eurogamer.net has been doing some digging on the legality of the matter, and reports that consumers may have no obligation to return goods sent out in error. As such, it seems that Zavvi is merely hoping that the vague threat of legal action will force worried shoppers to comply. In fact, What Payment even suggests that a demand to pay could be considered unlawful. However, the Citizen’s Advice does counter that in some cases you may be obliged to return mistakenly received items.
It’s a bit of a grey area, then – but we suspect that this whole story is doing little other than giving Zavvi’s image a bit of a black eye. We appreciate that there may be a substantial loss of cash here, but the parcels were sent out in error, so perhaps the retailer should just take this one on the chin and move on. These veiled threats don’t exactly paint the store in a particularly positive light, do they?