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Misleading xmas magazine subscription gift

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I bought a subscription to 'The Spectator' magazine as a christmas present,

including their offer of a christmas gift of a half-bottle of champagne,

pocket diary, and money-off voucher.

 

This was clearly stated on their website before Christmas.

 

However, on confirmation of the subscription, the gift of champagne and a diary (worth £30-40) have been replaced by the gift of a previously

unrequested paperback book (worth about £10). It seems that they can do this because the 'gift' is subject to availability.

 

Anyone else have any experience like this, and suggest what further action I can take?

 

Are the promises made about gifts worth anything at all?

 

Thanks in advance!

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If it was me in the same situation, then I would write a letter/email to the Spectator / provider of the of the offer, stating that you are extremely disappointed and feel that you have been mislead and that you purchased this subscription only for the fact that it came with the champagne and diary and not the unrequested paperback. If it wasn't for the offer then you would not have purchased it. Tell them that nobody likes to be mislead and that you will cancel the subscription, unless they offer you something of similar perceived value. Wait for them to respond and keep us posted.


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Thank you for that. We did send an e-mail to Spectator in response to their confirming letter which was dated the 20th December. This letter told me that the champagne etc. was unavailable and the book "real life" by Meissa Kite, incidentally one of Spectators columnists was on it's way, so therefore too late to alter gift. I received this letter on the 3rd Jan. and book on the 4th. Apparently the diaries are available to buy but they chose not to send me one. This is clearly how they work and I will not be renewing it next year. It is a christmas present for my son. I didn't buy it for the free gifts but it was an attractive package.

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There is an example of case law on this where a shop sold an item and gave a free gift of a radio.

 

The radio was faulty and the shop said no repair/replacement as it was a free gift.

 

It was decided that the contract of sale included the free gift so that must meet the criteria of merchantable quality under the SoGA.

 

Therefore, if you bought a subscription based upon the perceived value of a free bottle of bubbly then you should get that as it was part of the contract you entered into.

 

Tell them that you are cancelling the subscription because you have not received the advertised incentives which formed part of your decision to purchase.

 

They might not be forced to send you the champers but you are entitled to a refund.

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Unfortunately the T&Cs allow them to do this. They say: "Any free gifts offered as part of your subscription order will be despatched within 28 days of your order being placed and will be sent separately from the magazine. All gifts are subject to availability and should stocks run out an alternative gift may be supplied. Some gifts can only be despatched to UK mainland addresses. If you have ordered a subscription as a gift for a friend/relative, the free gift will be sent to you as the donor of the subscription, not to the recipient."

 

If they are replacing the gift advertised with a much cheaper one, there might be a legal argument that this term is unenforceable because it is unfair under UTCCR, or there is an implied term in the contract that the replacement gift must have a similar value. However I think this is a long shot and a very difficult argument for the average consumer to make. In any event, I think you would probably only be entitled to a better gift not a refund.

 

Personally I would just tell them that I am not happy and will be cancelling at the earliest opportunity.


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Thank you. I think I have reached "the put up and shut up" stage. I do feel a bit cheated on this one. However my son has received the first copy (28th Dec.) but rest assured I will NOT be renewing next year whatever the offer is.

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