Online retailer Zavvi has been forced to apologise after wrongly telling customers they had won a VIP trip to the Champions League football final in Madrid.
Customers were told they were the winners of a competition that included two return flights, tickets for the final Champions League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, a two-night stay at a four-star hotel in Madrid, and a £250 prepaid card.
The entertainment and clothing company partnered up with Mastercard for the competition. Customers were told they had 48 hours to claim their prize.
Football fans said they had booked time off work and told family members they had won but were dismayed to learn the email was sent in error.
Luke Wallace, 23, a shift manager at Pizza Hut, said he panicked the moment he saw the email telling him he had won. “My girlfriend supports Liverpool, so I called her and said we got tickets for the final and to book time off work. She just said: ‘omg!’” Wallace said. “I thought I won so many brownie points.”
The euphoria did not last long. As Wallace was browsing Twitter, he saw a tweet from Zavvi saying there had been a technical error. “I just felt embarrassed that I got my girlfriend’s hopes up for nothing,” he said.
Jack Spence, 20, an administrator living in Edinburgh, said he was not sure the email was real, but noticed it came from the same email address that Zavvi had used to contact him previously. “I messaged my brother telling him to get the passport ready, we’re off to Madrid,” he said.
When he realised the email was sent mistakenly, Spence said he felt sick. “I had this gut-wrenching feeling in my stomach,” he said, adding: “I had to text my brother and tell him. It was truly devastating.”
Tom Nanni, 30, had booked time off work and told his brother to do the same when he received the email. “We had such a bad Christmas together and we moved house so I thought this could be our celebration of things getting better,” he explained. Once he realised the email was sent in error, Nanni said: “I texted my boss to say I’m not going to need that time off.”
It remains unclear how many people were emailed. A spokesperson for Zavvi said: “We’re extremely sorry to have got our loyal customers’ hopes up, however due to human error a mistake was made with our mail-out and unfortunately there is only one winner of the tickets.”
A spokesperson from Mastercard said: “We are extremely disappointed with today’s events and our sympathies go to the many people who were wrongly contacted by Zavvi in connection to their competition. We have asked Zavvi to clarify how they are resolving it as a matter of urgency.”