Coordinates set for consumer backlash disaster!
Last month Zavvi accidentally supplied some customers who had pre-ordered Vita title Tearaway with the Tearaway hardware bundle that includes a Vita console.
At the time it asked customers if they'd be kind enough to return them – a request that the vast majority laughed away, believing that they are under no legal obligation to do so. So today's news that the retailer is threatening said customers with legal action if they do not return the hardware certainly comes as surprise.
We write further to recent email correspondence that we have sent you regarding your attempt to purchase PS Vita game Tearaway from our Zavvi website on or around May 10th 2013,” a letter published on DarkZero stated.
As you are aware, as a result of a technical error, you were not sent Tearaway (priced at approximately 19.99) and instead were sent a PS Vita (priced at approximately 169.99). This was an error on our part and we apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused you.
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.
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 arrabge 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.”
As What Consumer points out: "The Distance Selling Regulations are very clear on this. If you've been sent unsolicited goods, you are entitled to treat them as an unconditional gift and do with them as you choose. You are not required to keep them for any amount of time and you are certainly not required to pay for them. Any attempt to demand payment (by threatening means or otherwise) is unlawful."
UPDATE: The CAB states the following under the section 'You've received goods or services you didn't ask for':
"You have no obligation to return the goods to the trader or allow the trader to collect the goods. However, it would be reasonable for you to contact the trader to explain what has happened and give them a chance to collect the goods from you."
There is arguably a certain amount of ambiguity, however, with the CAB adding:
"The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations say you have a right to keep goods delivered to you that you didn't ask for. But 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. 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.
"If you receive goods you have not ordered and which haven't been sent by mistake, you can treat the goods as an unconditional gift and you can do what you want with them."