Retailer Zavvi broke advertising rules when it mistakenly sent a mass email congratulating all the recipients on winning VIP tickets to the Champions League final, a watchdog has ruled.
Zavvi’s competition in May to win tickets, flights, hotel accommodation and a £250 prepaid cash card did not go to plan when many fans received exactly the same email informing them that the luxury prize was theirs.
Social media feeds lit up as customer after customer reported receiving “huge congratulations” from Zavvi for being “chosen as the winner” of a VIP trip for two to see Tottenham v Liverpool in Madrid.
However, recipients’ excitement was dashed when Zavvi tweeted out an apology, referring to “some technical issues”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 57 people who received an email congratulating them on winning the prize challenged whether the promotion had been administered properly.
Zavvi told the ASA that the email for the competition winner was incorrectly sent to its entire opted-in marketing database in a one-off technical issue which it was “unable to anticipate and which may have originated from human error”.
The retailer said it promptly issued an apology and offered a 15% discount code to all customers who had received the incorrect email as a gesture of goodwill and to address any disappointment.
The ASA said: “We acknowledged Zavvi’s explanation that the problem was caused by a technical issue and that they had acted to notify email recipients of the error through social media and by contacting recipients directly via email.
“However, because the promoter had claimed consumers had won a prize when they had not, we considered they had given consumers justifiable grounds for complaint. We therefore concluded that the promotion had not been administered in accordance with the CAP Code.”
The ASA added: “We told Zavvi that if they intended to run similar promotions in future, they should ensure that they did not claim consumers had won a prize when they had not and avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.”
A Zavvi spokesman said: “We note the ASA’s ruling and would like to again apologise to our loyal customers for the error.”