When is a bundle not a bundle? When it comes (or doesn't) from B4UDirect.com

22 July 2009

Bitterwallet reader Ian Rigg has a problem. He recently took advantage of an offer with B4UDirect.com which consisted of a Sony Bravia TV with a free 80gb PS3 and the Little Big Planet game, all for just £678.49. The TV was listed for exactly the same price on the website when he placed his order, which more or less meant that the PS3 stuff was free. Smart man.

The TV + PS3 bundle that Ian ordered and paid for

All was going well – payment was handed over to B4UDirect and Ian received a confirmation of his order, which included the free PS3 and game (You do realise this isn’t going to have a happy ending, don’t you?)

Ten days later, Ian’s brand new TV arrived, but without the PS3. Or even the game. Additionally, by this point, Ian says that B4UDirect had removed the PS3 bundle from their website. At first, Ian was advised that the PS3 and game would be dispatched as soon as they were in stock. Fair enough.

Then things changed. B4UDirect informed Ian that they wouldn’t be able to supply the game and that he had two options:

1: Send the TV back and receive a full refund.

2:  Keep the TV but basically forget that all that stuff about the PS3 that was included in the deal. Just forget all that ever happened.

Neither of those options really appealed to Ian, what with him, you know, wanting to play Little Big Planet on his new Sony Bravia telly via his new PS3. Is that too much to ask for?

Ian's order confirmation. Click on image to see larger. Note the quite important stuff about the PS3.

A further conversation between Ian and B4UDirect resulted in a deadlock, with the company refusing to supply him with a PS3 or refund part of the amount that he paid for the TV. The cheeky bastards.

If they had no intention of sticking to the bargain, surely they could have enticed him in with anything - a free racehorse, some stilts, a ten-minute go on Christine Bleakley off of The One Show.

We approached B4UDirect.com for a comment, but as yet they have yet to supply us with one. So crimefighters, you’ve only got one side of the story at the moment.  And let’s be blunt, it seems like a fairly one-sided story at the moment.

If any of you have dealt with B4UDirect and have had a similar experience, let us know. Meanwhile, we’ll wait for one of their people to get in touch with us and we’ll see how they plan to weasel their way out of this one.

TOPICS:   Games


  • Dave S.
    10 minutes? I only need 5 minutes with Bleakley thanks, with time left...
  • MrRobin
    B4UDirect are in breach of contract. Loss of bargain or something like that I believe it's called in legal terminology. they haven't got a leg to stand on but are just hoping you will drop it because it's a hassle. If they still don't get back to you, send an invoice for the cost of a PS3 and the game along with a letter advising that interest will start to accrue on the amount (8% + 0.5% BBR). Then send a final demand with threat of court action, state that they will be liable for court costs if they lose (which they will). Then take them to court.
  • thepearce
    MrRobin has it pretty much spot on. He hasn't got what was offered and paid for. If they can't send him a PS3 then they'll need to either source one from elsewhere or return enough funds for him to buy one. I had the same a few years ago when I bought a TV which was on offer. All was fine until they found the had no stock remaining. In the end they had to pay for a suitable alternative from Argos. Just send a Letter before action if you get nowhere soon and then do a moneyclaim online.
  • thepearce
    * actually it was the difference in what they had charged me (say £50) and the price of the TV elsewhere (say £90). Basically you should not be put a financial disadvantage due to their failure to supply.
  • dvdj
    Tough one. If they had just refused to send the itme and said that it was a misprice then they could get away with it fine as they're well entitled to do this. The fact that they've sent out part of the order is strange... I think they're probably within they're rights though sadly.
  • dvdj
    And the confirmation e-mail means jack. They are still able to refuse to fullfil an order even after confirming as that's not when the contract is drawn up.
  • MrRobin
    dvdj, a contract is formed when the money is taken from the customer. A contract definitely stands when the supplier starts to supply some of the order! Some companies send automated emails upon receiving an order saying that they have started processing it but it does not form a contract yet (and they can therefore cancel if they like). At this stage it is still an invitation to treat. When the company takes payment then it is accepting the order and a contract to supply has been created.
  • manofsteel1982
    @ dvdj the contract is finalised when the company accepts payment for the items. You are right that by what you say about the conformation email though but as soon as they take the money from you they also enter the contract detailed in conformation email. So balls in Ian Rigg's court
  • Martin
    @dvdj When the contract exists depends on what their terms and conditions say - it could be that it exists from when they send out the confirmation. It would almost certainly have existed by the point they delivered the TV and said that the PS3 would follow.
  • cowbutt
    IANAL, but my understanding is that by taking payment (and furthermore compounding it by sending part of the order), B4Udirect have accepted Ian's offer and established a contract. If I was him, I'd pursue it vigorously. :-)
  • Martin
    @MrRobin, manofsteel1982 Too many amateur legal experts on this site ;-)
  • Ben
    Wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court, regardless of what everyone else has said. The contract would have been created when they took payment. The law states, however, that if the company are unable to fulfil the contract, they are allowed to offer a full refund on the goods. Loss of bargain doesn't come into play when the company have offered a full refund on the total order. You people really need to check up on your retail legalities...
  • Martin
    @Ben I think that would only apply if there was something actually preventing them from fulfilling their obligations (like Sony stopped making PS3s and they couldn't obtain one to sell on) rather than them just deciding they didn't want to abide by the original contract.
  • Rick G.
    Agreed with Ben. There is a loss of Bargain, but the only damages that could be received would be to put the customer back in his original position, not worse off. A full refund accomplishes that. Still, sucky customer service on behalf of B4U
  • Martin
    There could be more recent cases to contradict/clarify this, but surely this applies: "The are three possible measures of loss. The first is loss of bargain. The second is wasted expenditure or reliance loss and the third is a claim in restitution. The normal measure for breach of contract is loss of bargain. This measure of damages is intended to place the injured party in the same situation, as far as money can do it, as if the contract had been performed Robinson -v- Harman(1848)." http://www.atkinson-law.com/cases/CasesArticles/Articles/Breach_of_Contract.htm
  • Mary f.
    Terms & Conditions -- http://www.b4udirect.com/statics/terms.htm 5. Availability Please note that we will honour your order while stock is available. In the event where one of the products ordered is not in stock, we will contact you in less than 15 days as of your order date to inform you how long it will be before we are able to deliver the product. If there are certain products that are temporarily unavailable, we will send the available products and will pay the shipping fees for the rest of the order. We will offer you a replacement for an unavailable product, a product of equal price and quality. If you choose to refuse, we will reimburse the unavailable product. If you wish to return it to us in the conditions outlined in (right of retraction – satisfied or reimbursed), the fees will be covered by us. 10. Right of Retraction - Satisfied or your money back B4U Direct allows you 7 days to return a product that you are not satisfied with. You can return the product within this time period, at your own expense, accompanied by your invoice and a completed and signed return goods voucher. We request that you send us the merchandise by registered post and that you purchase insurance with the carrier for the value of the merchandise. This is notably necessary should they lose or damage the goods. Shipping fees remain the customer’s responsibility. The present right of return only applies to products that are returned in their original, complete working condition (packaging, accessories, user guide etc.). Any product that has been damaged, or is not in its original packaging, or has packaging that has been worn beyond simply opening the product, will not be refunded. All photos stored on a digital support (memory card, hard drive etc.) and sent back to B4U Direct by the User will not be kept. The deadlines mentioned above are effective as of the date of reception of the order. You can request a returns authorisation by contacting us first via the contact us section, goods sent to B4U Direct without any prior authorisation will be returned at the customers expense. nothing about when the contract is formed :(
  • Jack
    They took the money and dispatched the item, and notified him that he'd get a PS3 and game dispatched to him, as soon as this happened, the contract is signed and they need to fulfill it. Had they said it was a mistake from the start, or not taken the money then it would have been a different story. Although they have offered a full refund, which I think is good of them since it is now a used TV, it is not an ideal option. Surely it would save them time an effort if they offered him say £100 to see if he's happy with that, and perhaps some vouchers. Its a difficult one for the company, but they are in the wrong here and bad customer services, there has obviously been a mixup.
  • Terry G.
    It really doesn't matter what B4U (or anyone else) puts in their T&C's. As mentioned above a contract is normally formed when the following have been fulfilled. Offer (do you wanna buy this stuff) Acceptance (yes please) Consideration (here - have some cash) The company appear to have broken the contract by failing to supply the goods outlined in their offer. I reckon though, the best he can hope for is a full refund (including the cost of returning the TV - which isn't mentioned in the article) Loss of bargain may be legally, morally correct - but flipping hard to prove - especially if they are being awkward buggers.
  • manofsteel1982
    @ martin also too many arseholes on site as well! No wait it's just you! This isn't the case of you'll get the ps3 free for buying the tv if we have any left, the item description shown in the picture is for a tv, ps3 and game for £678.62 they have not fulfilled the complete order. Maybe should have returned tv when they offered to take it back?
  • Bwah h.
    Item ordered invitation to treat. Payment taken offer accepted. Agreement made contract formed. Item sent out partial performance. Mr Rigg is entitled to the PS3 and the game as this is what the contract is for. Mr Rigg does not have to accept anything but complete performance Bolton v Mahadeva. Keep fighting Mr Rigg
  • Rob W.
    Well, I'd tell them the TV has been damaged on its surround or something- big scratch- so they don't want it back- Then they cannot resell it without taking £200 off as a second. It would be just as financially viable then to send out a PS3 and be done with it.
  • Andrew
    I'm surprised no-one has used the F word yet. This can't go really go down as an honest mistake, that should, and most like must according to law, have been caught before accepting the money for purchase. This does rather seem to be bait-and-switch, offering a deal and then reneging on part of it in the expectation that a good percentage of those involved won't bother to pursue a refund. Contact the company and imply that their may be a case for involving Trading Standards (subtlety !) and see what financial recompense they will supply for your loss of time. If nothing comes of it; Citizen's Advice, Trading Standards and Small Claims court (in that order) are all relevant solutions. These people seem, on the evidence presented, to be either incompetent (at best) or fraudulent (at worst) and neither is conducive to providing consumers with any degree of trust.
  • Martin
    @manofsteel1982 Lose the attitude. It was a joke. I was referring to myself as well!
  • Dave S.
    When do I get my 5 minutes with Bleakley?
  • Marty P.
    I would hope that the gentleman paid by credit card. Card scheme rules dictate that he is in entitled to get his money back as he did not get all that he paid for. I would contact the card issuer and say that he did not receieve the goods he has paid for and ask them to claim the money back from the retailers bank.
  • Wayne
    @ Dave Smith After i have given her the best 15 seconds of her life!!!
  • debbie
    can someone just tell us what happened in the end? Did he get his money back, did he get his PS3? Come on the suspense is killing me. LOL I would have pursued it as far as I could but never mind!!!!

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment