Zavvi May Have Been In The Legal Right To Demand Consoles Back

This situation began with Zavvi sending customers who had pre-ordered Tearaway, a Vita title, the console bundle which contained the game in error. It was a huge mistake by Zavvi, but quite a fortunate one for those customers. The situation escalated last week when it emerged Zavvi had sent threatening letters to those same people demanding the return of the Vitas.

Now Jas Purewal, writer behind the site Gamer Law, has looked at the issue and has found that Zavvi were likely in the legal right to do so, though it should have been handled better. The confusion about the situation came from a misinterpretation of the Unsolicited Goods & Services Act of 1971,  and the Distance Selling Regulations, which states a company cannot demand payment or the return of an item if it was received unsolicited.

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However, Jas has pointed out that the goods sent to the customers weren’t unsolicited. The customers had solicited the business of Zavvi and due to an error of the company’s part the wrong item had been sent. This means that customers had been “unjustly enriched” according to legal terms, and in effect were obligated to return the item.

However whether it was worth Zavvi doing this due to the massive public backlash is another story. After all I’ve seen people say they won’t use the company again due to the threatening tone of the letter, despite the mistake being theirs. It may have been better for Zavvi to admit the mistake and write it off as a lesson, offering better training for staff, instead of laying the blame on the customer.

So Zavvi were in the legal right, but it probably wasn’t worth the PR nightmare.

Source: GamerLaw

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13 Comments

  1. What happens if the recipient has opened and used the Vita?
    Surely zavvi cannot sell it as new any longer?

    • Yeah, I mentioned this before too. They don’t deal in used goods as far as I’m aware.

      I’d have opened everything – then perhaps called their customer services departments and haggled over a “significantly reduced” price. ;)

      I’m guess by their tone and approach that there was probably a lot of units. Anyone know the amount?

      As cam the man says, they could have put a good spin on this and taken it on the chin…then who knows, everyone might have started to order Killzone Shadow Fall in the hope of getting a free PS4 bundle :)

  2. “unjustly enriched” I like that!

    Shame its never a 2 way street. Ever.

  3. It’s pretty clear Zavvi were right. I’m sure if it were a few tens of units it wouldn’t have enough worth the negative press, but could have been many thousands.

    But the story doesn’t end there

    Some guy on Twitter made his mistakenly received PlayStation Vita available for Zavvi to collect when they initially asked, but they continued their inept customer service causing him massive inconvenience. He’s deleted his Twitlonger ‘blog’ about it now, UK it was an unbelievable chain of events.

    A complete cluster fuck for even those that tried to comply before it got too the legal stage

    • I saw that too, total nightmare. He should have left that blog up in my opinion and spoke to Zavvi customer services or management. IF Zavvi didn’t have enough problems anyway, it will lose a lot of UK customers out of this.

    • Looking at the UK sales charts, I don’t think Zavvi sold “many thousands” of copies.
      Didn’t it only sell 14k copies in the USA in November?

  4. Zavvi should have took it on the chin, they would have increased their customer base instead of reducing it.

  5. I think this has been read wrong. Zavi are lawfully correct in that they can ask for the product to be sent back, but it doesn’t mean the recipient has to. It depends how you want to read the regulations.

    • “It depends how you want to read the regulations.”

      To me, that is hilarious. If Zavvi continues down the legal route, a defence of ‘I decided to read the rules in a way where I could keep it…’ would be laughed out of court.

      A million people could read rules in slightly different ways. The only opinion that matters is a Judge’s.

  6. Personally I think isn’t it a bit morally wrong to keep the Vita? As nice as it is to get free shit, you didn’t pay for it.

  7. I’d wager it was a hell of a lot of units they mistakenly sent. There’s currently over 1000 eBay listings for new Vita’s vs just over 200 used.

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