Zavvi threatens legal action against customers after accidentally mailing them free PS Vitas

Tuesday, 10th December 2013 10:19 GMT By Dave Cook

Online retailer Zavvi has reportedly threatened legal action against customers after it mistakenly sent them a free PS Vita console.

It comes from a letter posted online by Dark Zero, in which Zavvi insists that the recipient contact them with their postal details so that the PS Vita be collected and returned. Failure to do so by 5pm today, December 10 could result in legal action, the company has threatened.

The mix-up occurred when customers ordered a copy of PS Vita title Tearaway at £19.99, only to receive a £169.99 bundle including the game and Sony’s handheld instead.

Zavvi’s letter reads, “We are very sorry to inform you that due to an error in our warehouse we have dispatched the incorrect product. 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.”

Dark Zero cites consumer regulatory guidelines posted by customers, that suggest Zavvi’s threat is unlawful. “The Distance Selling Regulations are very clear on this.” one consumer writes. “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.”

What do you make of the above?

Via Eurogamer.



  1. mistermogul

    “What do you make of the above?”


    Wish I got mine from there instead of Amazon! :(

    #1 1 year ago
  2. matirishhh

    This is a nice freebie! I should have ordered it from zavvi!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

    #2 1 year ago
  3. SamEarl13

    To be fair to Zavvi the fact that the customers ordered Tearaway means they blatantly already had a PSVita in the first place. Although i’d be alright with them being kept, Zavvi is the one at fault here. They really deserve it for their stupidity.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. alterecho

    He should return it.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. ArithonUK

    1stly Zavvi don’t have a legal leg to stand on. They cocked up and sent what amounts to a unsolicited gift.
    2ndly Taking the “hand it back or we sue you” stance just makes them look belligerent as well as stupid. In their position, they should have asked (politely) for the return of the Vita and offer to mail the original game order for free. That at least would be tactful and £20 is a lot easier to write off than £170.

    As it is, any “legal” action they take, solicitors letter, etc. is going to cost them a LOT more than the Vita or the game combined. So if they do pursue it, they are a whole new level of stupid. Wasting money trying to punish customers for their own loss, making further loss in the process and damaging their reputation.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. DrDamn

    Unsolicited does not mean it is legally yours. So Zavvi do have a case, not sure about the approach but just because a company sends you something in error it doesn’t mean you can keep it.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. AmiralPatate

    No matter if they have a case or not, they still look like the bad guys here. And it’s totally their fault in the first place anyway.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. rbevanx

    I would just email them back saying I didn’t get the console with my package, just the game and it’s their problem not mine that their systems made the error.
    How do I know your systems have not made another mistake Zavvi? bla bla bla.

    Then there really is nothing Zavvi can do legally esspecially if they are not recorded delevery which has been the case when I have used them.

    I have no sympathy for them and I think they use loads of loopholes like Amazon to not paying much tax and in the past been useless for me.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Mus42

    I got a “free” PS2 a few years back when a company sent it to me instead of a film I’d ordered on DVD – I never heard anything from them about it but I kept it all boxed for 6 months just in case. Eventually I figured they weren’t going to contact me about it so I sold it on – I never did get that film though :(

    #9 1 year ago
  10. DrDamn

    I had something similar where a company sent me multiple copies of something. At that time if you got unsolicited goods you didn’t have to tell them about it and if they didn’t come asking then it was yours after six months. If you told them and they didn’t arrange to collect within something like 2 weeks it was then yours. If they came asking (as is the case here) then there was a legal obligation to give it back.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. jedieagle

    Well, I did send the Vita back, still didnt get the game, so I sent them a message I’ll contact EU Consumer PA, because i have proof from DHL that the vita has been returned.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. MFBB

    #8 that would be quite a dick move…

    We are making many mistakes aswell in our life and transfer money to the wrong account, drop our wallet, leave our phone on the bar table etc…

    It was a just a mistake and customers should give the console back without making a fuss about it.

    Zavvi gives them a voucher as thanks and thats it.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Cobra951

    @5: Correct. Anything that arrives at your doorstep unsolicited is legally a gift. Their threats are just that, and nothing more. They hope they’ll scare everyone into giving up their new, free Vitas.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. DrDamn

    They are only a gift if they weren’t sent by mistake. These clearly were.

    “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.”

    Though confusingly …

    “Do you have to return the goods?

    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.”

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Joe Musashi

    What, no “Can’t even give ‘em away. LOL!” retorts??

    Internet, son, I am disappoint.


    #15 1 year ago
  16. Cobra951

    @14: The reason for the unsolicited=gift law is precisely to avoid the sort of abuse that this company is threatening, or even worse abuses. Imagine some scammer sending victims something cheap for free, only to to turn around and threaten legal action against the “thieves” unless the goods were returned along with a payment for “liquidated damages”. Legally presuming that everything you get unsolicited is yours, free and clear, sweeps away all such quandaries. It’s one of those common-sense laws, like all leaves that end up on your yard are yours to deal with, even if you have no trees at all, or good-samaritan laws for doctors.

    #16 1 year ago
  17. DrDamn

    They aren’t asking for payment though, they are asking for the goods which were sent in error back. They are also only threatening what they can do legally – which may actually be nothing :).

    Again it’t not unsolicited *gift* when it was sent by mistake, it’s unsolicited *goods* …

    “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.”

    The way they are handling it is bad. But as the letter states they have made several previous attempts to contact them. What are they meant to do? What would you do if you owned a company which made a mistake and sent stuff out to people incorrectly? Ask politely and then give up?

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Francis O

    This is too funny!

    #18 1 year ago
  19. monkeygourmet

    Zavvi sent me a Wii U premium pack for free by accident.

    I asked them if they wanted me to send it back… They said:

    “Don’t worry, it was only sitting around the stock room anyway”…

    #19 1 year ago
  20. TheShoe

    I’m amazed that people would think of keeping something they received in error. When you take advantage of something like this you de-humanize us all. You know they made a mistake and yet you take advantage of it for your own personal gain at the expense of others. it’s wrong. plain and simple.

    It doesn’t matter if they are some multi-billion dollar corporation or some mom-n-pop shop, wrong is wrong, and this attitude of “stick it to the man” is a terrible precedent.

    Zavvi should fully pay for the return of these items and possible offer some gift card as compensation for your personal time and aggravation. If they at least do that then as a decent human being, you should return the item and re-order what you originally wanted. the least you should do is alert them that you received the wrong item; it is up to them what to do next.

    Such a selfish species… Only interested in how we can cheat the system for personal gain; if we don’t like the system, then change it. Given the reach of the internet today and social media, our power to effect change has never been greater in our history. we just can’t think collectively long enough to be useful – it’s all about the individual.


    ok – off my soap box now. what was the original topic?? :)

    #20 1 year ago
  21. DrDamn

    +1 well said.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. Legendaryboss

    Change from Amazon to Zavvi, confirmed!

    #22 1 year ago
  23. Ilovesony

    @19 did that really happen? If so that is hilarious!!!

    #23 1 year ago
  24. matirishhh

    @19 Good one! hehe

    #24 1 year ago
  25. Cobra951

    “What would you do if you owned a company which made a mistake and sent stuff out to people incorrectly? Ask politely and then give up?”

    @17: I don’t know what I would do, to be honest. But that sounds like the most honorable thing to do. Ask politely, perhaps offer some perks in return (in-store credit, coupons, whatever . . .). That would get a good percentage of the goods back, particularly if I pay for their return costs. The rest, tax write-off! Good will intact, if not enhanced.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. illegal Hugs


    The issue here is accountability. If we’re going to “be” adults capable of autonomy, we have to be accountable for our actions. In this case, a poor decision was made that can ruin a company a bit. While many bear the thought of “the man,” any rational person would realize that these notions are a foolish sentiment. It only harms the relationship between people.

    However, they made a mistake and they need to live with the consequences like a grown-up business. We don’t have to “like” anything about it. It’s about what’s right.

    They should be able to keep them, harm or threaten free.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. recoil

    I received one the Vitas and despite my frequent mails with them, still received one of these letters. When I inquired about where my actual preorder was, the one zavvi had no issue taking my money 3 months ago, they won’t give it up til they have their Vita back. I ended up giving them a date and stayed home all day for the courier who they said they arranged. When I inquired who and when the courier was, they didn’t know the name of them or when they would come. And guess what happened next? That’s right, it never showed and now they want me to send a new date and waste my time.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. SplatteredHouse

    @27 Keep it unless they move to claim it? I mean, they’ve messed you about enough already, by the sound of things, haven’t they. If they try to take it further, maybe you could counter-claim against them for loss of earnings. (if applicable to the occasions you’ve considerately attempted to assist them, so far).

    #28 1 year ago
  29. DrDamn

    Use this as a template and adjust for your circumstances.

    Give them a couple of times when you are in over the next week or so. You shouldn’t have to wait in for them. Say you’ve already done that and no one turned up. So then can collect at these times when you are definitely in or you will treat the goods as yours.

    #29 1 year ago

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