Zavvi Sent Free Vitas By Mistake, Threatens Legal Action

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Zavvi Sent Free Vitas By Mistake, Threatens Legal Action

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Zavvi's customers are relying on Distance Selling Regulations, but that may be a mistake.

UK retailer Zavvi mistakenly sent some of its customers free PlayStation Vitas last month, when it sent out the devices as part of a Tearaway offer, when it only meant to send the game. As soon as the error was discovered, Zavvi asked for the Vitas, but most of those who received them didn't send them back. They believed that they weren't obliged to, but now Zavvi's threatening legal action if they don't comply.

"We have tried to contact you on numerous occasions to give you the opportunity to return this item to us (at our cost and at no inconvenience to yourself) but to date you have refused to do so," reads the Zavvi correspondence. "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 December 10th 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."

Zavvi's customers have been relying on Distance Selling Regulations, which state that, if you have been sent unsolicited goods, you can treat them as an unconditional gift and dispose of them as you see fit. Under those regulations, the recipient isn't obliged to pay for the goods, and any attempt to demand payment is unlawful.

But it may not be that simple. The Citizen's Advice Bureau says that the situation's a little different if goods are received by mistake.

"If goods are sent to you by mistake, you need to contact whoever sent them to let them know and ask them to collect the goods," says the CAB. "You might get goods sent by mistake if they are meant for someone else or you've been sent duplicate or extra items on top of what you ordered."

Goods sent by mistake are not defined as unsolicited, and remain the property of the seller. If Zavvi hadn't noticed and left the Vitas in the customer's possession for some time, that might make a difference, but it seems clear that Zavvi didn't do that. Those 'free' Vitas may have to go back; it could be unwise to hold on to them.

Source: MCV

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Well frankly they should send them back, they didn't pay for it and even if the company made a mistake the law is pretty clear.

I reckon I may be fairly unpopular on this thread for this view (well, gamers are the most self-entitled pricks of all the major entertainment consumers, and I say that as an avid gamer myself), but I'm firmly on Zaavi's side here. They've made a mistake, owned up that they've made a mistake, and have got in touch through the proper means and methods with customers to try to fix the mistake. They've given plenty of opportunity to customers to send the Vitas back and the customers have refused, and if the law is on Zaavi's side (which it appears to be) then they have every right to pursue legal action to reclaim their property. If I was one of those gamers who had ended up with a free Vita by mistake I would still be on Zaavi's side, because the law is fairly clear and even if it's a mistake they are doing the correct thing in the correct way to rectify it.

Let the shitstorm commence...

I agree Trivun, They sent out Vita's by mistake, the buyer presumably received the free gift intended to be sent and has no right to claim the Vita.

And it's not as if Zaavi are doing anything evil while trying to get them back, they are paying for postage of the device back to them and even being flexible with offering a time preference to the receiver for pickup.

My thoughts on the buyers unwilling to send them back are that they have already opened/unsealed/used the free Vita's they received and are worried about the consequences for not returning them in the state they were sent out in.

Zaavi is right but like Trivun said gamers are self-entitled pricks where depending on wich side benefits the most it goes from "Deal with it" to "We demand to be pleased" with no inbetween

i had a similar issue a couple of years back where i was sent a pc by mistake. never entered my head to keep the freaking thing when its obviously a mistake

Just to let everyone know, it's Zavvi with two Vs, not two As. In all fairness, it is a daft name.

Anyway, while I'm sure it sucks to have to send them back, if the law is on Zavvi's side, then that is what should be done. And most of the people that would've been involved in the Tearaway offer would already have a Vita anyway, I'm assuming?

So when I made a mistake, however small it is, I am fucked beyond all belief and am in for a year long fight. I accidentally sent to much money to a company once, took me several months before I said fuck it and just charged back the entire amount. The only people that cared was the bank and not because they gave a shit about me, but it meant more money in my account for them.

I didn't have the money to go into a big old legal battle over the fact these pricks can legally put in their TOS that if you accidentally send to much money it's now theirs. So to "correct" my mistake I had to basically become a "wanted man" in another country.

However if a company makes a mistake I have to pat it on the head, tell it everything is okay and correct their mistake for them? I bet you 500$ that they don't even refund you the goddamned shipping costs that it would take to send the thing back or if you deliver it in person wouldn't even validate your parking.

Now on should Zavvi get their Vita's back? Of course the law is clear, you got shit by mistake it's not yours. Shut your whining, send it back to the rightful owner. Unless you make Zavvi sign a TOS that it is of course because TOS can bypass any law apparently!

Ok, it looks like legally they're in the right here. I still feel like they're being a wee bit dickish about the matter though.

Just how many are we talking here? I'm assuming quite a whack due to it getting coverage?

100% agree that the correct thing to do would be to send them back, but I was always under the impression that legally there's no way to reclaim the devices beyond asking politely. I'm possibly getting this confused however with the old Chance card from Monopoly, "Bank error in your favour, collect £200". :p

Andy Shandy:
-snip-

Your avatar is amazing.

I'm on whatever side the law is on. But the law isn't clear. So for now I'm taking the "customer is always right" approach, because, well, that's just the way these things work. If it does turn out they're in the wrong, then more power to Zavvi, but not a minute before would I make any presumptions of the legality of holding onto those goods.

If Zavvi has a legal leg to stand on, then they'll get duly compensated. Let's see how it pans out.

1337mokro:
So when I made a mistake, however small it is, I am fucked beyond all belief and am in for a year long fight. I accidentally sent to much money to a company once, took me several months before I said fuck it and just charged back the entire amount. The only people that cared was the bank and not because they gave a shit about me, but it meant more money in my account for them.

I didn't have the money to go into a big old legal battle over the fact these pricks can legally put in their TOS that if you accidentally send to much money it's now theirs. So to "correct" my mistake I had to basically become a "wanted man" in another country.

However if a company makes a mistake I have to pat it on the head, tell it everything is okay and correct their mistake for them? I bet you 500$ that they don't even refund you the goddamned shipping costs that it would take to send the thing back or if you deliver it in person wouldn't even validate your parking.

Now on should Zavvi get their Vita's back? Of course the law is clear, you got shit by mistake it's not yours. Shut your whining, send it back to the rightful owner. Unless you make Zavvi sign a TOS that it is of course because TOS can bypass any law apparently!

Laws are almost always massively dominantly Pro business, especially here in the states, the EU tends to have much better consumer protections. But even there companies have a lot of weight to throw around when it comes to ensuring they don't end up on the short end of the stick.

I'm with you, if you send someone something with their name on the package, it is a gift. If the company then wants to no longer do business with the customer that is their right to do so.

I'm surprised they don't do this the secure and subtle way, you charge their credit cards for the price of the Vita and then wait if anything comes back, in that case even if it doesn't everything got covered.

I honestly don't understand how anyone in their right mind would think its ok for these people to keep the vitas. Seriously, Zavvi has been polite and they are firmly in the right here. What on earth is wrong with some people...

Andy Shandy:
Just to let everyone know, it's Zavvi with two Vs, not two As. In all fairness, it is a daft name.

Damn. Thanks! Adjusted.

Andy Shandy:
And most of the people that would've been involved in the Tearaway offer would already have a Vita anyway, I'm assuming?

This is what I was thinking too, but you'd be surprised at what people are willing to do just to get something free it seems.

OT: While it sucks for those who thought they were getting free stuff they really should send them back. They are paying for the postage to return it so it's not like the customers will lose anything by returning it. It will be interesting to see if this will lead to some lawsuits or not. Yay, Christmas cheer.

Karloff:

Andy Shandy:
Just to let everyone know, it's Zavvi with two Vs, not two As. In all fairness, it is a daft name.

Damn. Thanks! Adjusted.

No worries! I know it was one of the things spelled wrong a hell of a lot, until it finally stuck that it was two Vs. Just one of those words.

1337mokro:
So when I made a mistake, however small it is, I am fucked beyond all belief and am in for a year long fight. I accidentally sent to much money to a company once, took me several months before I said fuck it and just charged back the entire amount. The only people that cared was the bank and not because they gave a shit about me, but it meant more money in my account for them.

I didn't have the money to go into a big old legal battle over the fact these pricks can legally put in their TOS that if you accidentally send to much money it's now theirs. So to "correct" my mistake I had to basically become a "wanted man" in another country.

However if a company makes a mistake I have to pat it on the head, tell it everything is okay and correct their mistake for them? I bet you 500$ that they don't even refund you the goddamned shipping costs that it would take to send the thing back or if you deliver it in person wouldn't even validate your parking.

Now on should Zavvi get their Vita's back? Of course the law is clear, you got shit by mistake it's not yours. Shut your whining, send it back to the rightful owner. Unless you make Zavvi sign a TOS that it is of course because TOS can bypass any law apparently!

If a company sends something by mistake, whatever the item, it should be returned or the person that received it must notify the company about it, if you "send too much money" you're an idiot, that's pretty much basic legal procedures.

Hold your horses there...

See, different countries, different laws.

Here in Brazil (I'm an attourney) they would have been legally entitled to keep the goods.
If you receive something you didn't order, the law calls it "free sample".
Our law here is pro-consumer. And it works this way because:

A) These goods aren't gonna make much of a difference to the company (they could file it as "damaged" or "lost" in their balances, as they do with several units every month, as part of their business) and, in the end, it was THEIR mistake.

B) The law is in place to avoid that companies send you unrequested things and then charge you for them afterwards. Believe me, if such law didn't exist you would receive tons of unrequested stuff on the mail, and you would have to return it or pay for it.

Now, about "if you received it by mistake, you have to return it". Yes, you do.
But what consist a mistake is if, for instance, you received something mailed TO YOUR NEIGHBOUR, or to someone else.
In that case, someone DID pay for the product and was waiting to receive it. The goods had a destination and went astray to your house.
In THIS CASE, you HAVE to return it.

But if company A send you something you didn't order, send it to YOUR HOME, in YOUR NAME, then, by brazilian law, it IS yours to keep.

Legally? Yes, Zavvi is within their right. No arguing that, really.

Personally? Bad business. Straight up, bad business. You made a mistake. Now, at the very least you're inconveniencing your customers by making them send it back. Not something that looks good on you. Then you make it worse by threatening litigation because YOU screwed up? Ouch, expect your PR to be in the toilet.

My recommendation would have been to suck it up and say "Hey! We done fucked up! Keep the Vita as a gift." This would have been lauded as great customer service. Instead, you have egg all over your face, and massive PR dump to boot.

Is it moral? Maybe, maybe not. But you have to understand how consumers think. You don't inconvenience your customers by your mistakes, and you sure as hell don't litigate because of it.

If they had done this to me, they could offer up compensation for my time and expenses in returning the thing too. Because there's more than shipping involved. I'd have to take time out of my busy life to go traipsing through crummy weather to a post office.

And whether the accidental clause covers this or not is not "clear", despite what some people have said. These people were informed they were getting a gift, it's not certain whether they had any idea the gift exceeded accidentally what they were to receive.

It's a very dumb move on their part though, inconveniencing their customers and threatening them with legal action like this. I would never bother to shop there again if I ever had in the first place.

Grabehn:
If a company sends something by mistake, whatever the item, it should be returned or the person that received it must notify the company about it, if you "send too much money" you're an idiot, that's pretty much basic legal procedures.

You make a mistake: You're an idiot.

Company makes a mistake: You're a jerk for existing and should inconvenience yourself and waste your time free of charge because the company is infallible.

The eagerness of people to shit on others and praise businesses is just mind boggling.

Big_Boss_Mantis:
Hold your horses there...

See, different countries, different laws.
ou didn't order, send it to YOUR HOME, in YOUR NAME, then, by brazilian law, it IS yours to keep.

From what I remember from law school, it's the same in the US as well. If you receive it addressed to you then it's yours no questions asked.

We have tried to contact you on numerous occasions to give you the opportunity to return this item to us (at our cost and at no inconvenience to yourself) but to date you have refused to do so

To me, going to the post office is a huge inconvenience. They're only open work hours and the closest one is so far I have to drive there. Not sure how it is in the UK but if I have to take time off work because you fucked up that's not really fair, is it?

If they want them back they can schedule a personal courier to pick it up at peoples houses at a time of their choosing.

While they may be within their rights to demand the devices back it does seem to be a particuarly boneheaded action. Surely the cost of pursuing legal action against multiple parties will vastly outweigh to value of the devices if they were to be recovered. Particularly seeing as at this point, most of the recipients likely have opened the packaging/used the dvcs so they can no longer be sold as new. To say nothing of the negative PR suing your customers will incur.

Shocksplicer:
I honestly don't understand how anyone in their right mind would think its ok for these people to keep the vitas. Seriously, Zavvi has been polite and they are firmly in the right here. What on earth is wrong with some people...

Totally agree. If i'd gotten one then i'd either have contacted them right away to send it back or asked if i could buy it at a small discount to save them the trouble of sending me a return lable.

SkarKrow:
Well frankly they should send them back, they didn't pay for it and even if the company made a mistake the law is pretty clear.

Maybe it's not that clear-cut. If they sent an item to one person and it was received by another due to a postal error (and that person didn't surrender it), that would be theft under the law. Under common law, sending something completely unsolicited is a gift. I'm not familiar with the exact provisions of the Distance Selling Regulations, but I suspect this isn't going to be as clear-cut as Zavvi would like it to be.

walrusaurus:
While they may be within their rights to demand the devices back it does seem to be a particuarly boneheaded action. Surely the cost of pursuing legal action against multiple parties will vastly outweigh to value of the devices if they were to be recovered. Particularly seeing as at this point, most of the recipients likely have opened the packaging/used the dvcs so they can no longer be sold as new. To say nothing of the negative PR suing your customers will incur.

Not really, many such cases not only award the damages but also the cost of the legal fees incurred . SO in short they'd have to send back or remit paymet for the Vitas, their own legal fees and Zavvi's legal fees.

Seriously though, send it back, or perhaps maybe discuss alternatives.

I don't do anythng for free, and I imagine that some of the people who received a Vita by mistake feel the same way as I do. Zavvi are the ones who made a mistake and they are the ones who will have to fix the problem. People obviously aren't allowed to use the Vitas once they have received the letter which mentions that the item in question was mailed by mistake, but nobody is required to send it back.

There's something very upsetting about the idea of someone just derping along, minding their own business, and then end up being threatened with legal action because something was mailed to them.

No one stole these things.

Trivun:
I reckon I may be fairly unpopular on this thread for this view (well, gamers are the most self-entitled pricks of all the major entertainment consumers, and I say that as an avid gamer myself), but I'm firmly on Zaavi's side here. They've made a mistake, owned up that they've made a mistake, and have got in touch through the proper means and methods with customers to try to fix the mistake. They've given plenty of opportunity to customers to send the Vitas back and the customers have refused, and if the law is on Zaavi's side (which it appears to be) then they have every right to pursue legal action to reclaim their property. If I was one of those gamers who had ended up with a free Vita by mistake I would still be on Zaavi's side, because the law is fairly clear and even if it's a mistake they are doing the correct thing in the correct way to rectify it.

Let the shitstorm commence...

No they are not. They are just the most avid about their industry perhaps only rivaled by the comics books industry or WH40k Tabletop players (...overlaps!?).
But you're right, they should send them back. Unsolicited or not it's sort of dickish to call it a gift. I mean if you accidentally left your wallet with these people would they call it a "gift" if they took it? No, so why are they calling it a gift here? Greedy British people! Never seen that before.

hm

on the reasoning side here, no matter how many butts there exist in the world, their presence does not lessen your own buttness if you also make the choice to be a butt

the things we percieve as truth are sometimes just there to make us feel better about ourselves

Here's the deal, they got sent by mistake. Plain and simple, and for those who are decent enough to give them back, good on ya, but the rest that didn't go back, there shouldn't be any legal action. If I accidentally ship something to the wrong address with my business, I am out that component, and I still have to ship another one to the correct address, there is no legal loop hole for small businesses to get their shit back, so why should large corporations get theirs back?

To make it a bit more on topic: The same can be said if I accidentally let a disk or component slip into a box that I ship to a customer, I'm not going to get that back, unless that customer just happens to be one of the few honest people left and decides to let me know.

I've got to side with Zavvi on this one, as other people have already pointed out they are in the legal right. Now I also wonder that if the people were to send money to Zavvi for the Vitas would they be able to keep them?

Mr.K.:
I'm surprised they don't do this the secure and subtle way, you charge their credit cards for the price of the Vita and then wait if anything comes back, in that case even if it doesn't everything got covered.

I don't think its legal for them to just charge a credit card. And I don't think it would do much to the recipients anyway. They'd just contact the credit card companies and tell them they never ordered any vita and have the charge removed.

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