Ads for a promotion for the online retailer Zavvi, seen in April and May 2019, in which participants were required to use a Mastercard on the Zavvi website and enter their details for the opportunity to win two tickets to the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid:
a. The Zavvi website, www.zavvi.com.
b. The Zavvi Facebook page.
Fifty-seven complainants, who each received an email stating that they had won the promotional prize, but who were later told it had been sent to them in error, challenged whether the promotion had been administered properly.
TheHut.com Ltd t/a Zavvi said that entry to the promotion was live between 23 April and 6 May 2019 and that to qualify for entry, customers needed to both use their Mastercard to pay on their website and also enter their email address on the competition landing page. Zavvi said that they selected one winner at random after the promotion’s end date from those who had entered. For the promotion in question, Zavvi said the email platform they used for sending marketing and promotional emails incorrectly linked the email for the competition winner to the entire opted-in Zavvi marketing database. They said that appeared to have been a one-off technical issue which they were unable to anticipate and which may have originated from human error. On becoming aware of the issue, Zavvi said they acted extremely promptly so that within hours of the incorrect email being sent they had: contacted the genuine winner; posted a message on their website which notified customers of the error and which confirmed that the genuine winner had been contacted separately; put out a tweet which confirmed that they were looking into the issue; and issued an apology email to all customers who had been sent the 'congratulations' email. In that email, Zavvi offered all of the customers who had received the email a 15% off discount code as a gesture of goodwill and to address any disappointment.
Zavvi therefore believed that they acted promptly and efficiently on becoming aware of the problem. Following the promotion, Zavvi said they temporarily stopped using their existing platform to communicate with competition winners and that a new approval process had been implemented before winner notification emails were sent.
The winner notification consisted of a personally addressed email which contained the subject “Congratulations, you’re our Mastercard competition WINNER!” and which stated in the main body “We here at Zavvi would like to wish you a huge congratulations as you have been chosen as the winner of our Mastercard competition, winning a VIP trip for two adults to attend the UEFA Champions League Final Madrid 2019”. The ASA therefore considered that each recipient of the email would understand they had won the promotion. We understood that only one recipient had in fact been chosen as the promotion’s winner. The CAP Code stated that promoters must ensure that their promotions are conducted under proper supervision and make adequate resources available to administer them. Promoters, agencies and intermediaries should not give consumers justifiable grounds for complaint. 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 ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 8.1, 8.2 (Promotional marketing), 8.14 (Administration) and 8.19 (Prize Promotions).
We told TheHut.com Ltd t/a 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.