The Great Boots Barcelona Winner Email Fiasco

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Jason 10 Comments

Have you received an email off Boots today saying that you’ve won a trip to Barcelona? If you are and you’ve already packed your sunglasses and sun cream then we have some very bad news for you – you haven’t won – and neither have the many other folk who received the same email. Look on Loquax, other competition forums and Facebook and you’ll find a few gutted, some irate and other philosophical compers who won’t be heading off to the Catalonian Capital.

Spain Boots

Boots, we understand, have sent an apology email to all people effected and they are posting the following as a standard response to comments:

Due to a technical error an email was sent to some of our customers saying that they had won a competition for a trip to Barcelona. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and I would like to say how sorry I am for the disappointment this has caused you. Many thanks!

Despite this there are the usual calls from some quarters for an investigation by Trading Standards, The IPM, Watchdog and The A Team (if no one else can help, and if you can find them). Actually we made The A Team up! Whilst we can understand the frustration winning emails followed by no you haven’t won emails can cause – it’s important to remember that mistakes can and do happen.

The IPM may well investigate but for the most part will report back that there was a technical hitch. ASA may get involved, but again they’ll report that there was a technical hitch and maybe tell Boots to ensure that they don’t do it again. In other words if you’re expecting any recourse towards Boots for this episode then we think it’s unlikely. It may well be The IPM and ASA don’t even take an interest as a “sorry we screwed up” email has been sent out – i.e Boots have acknowledged the error.

If you are disappointed by the situation then word an email to the Boots PR team and explain to them your disappointment. Be polite, firm but fair. The fact is promoters do occasionally make a blunder – it’s how they atone for their error that’s key. Of course a promoter that repeats the same error should expect The A Team to turn up at any moment.

We do understand some folks will be genuinely annoyed by this blunder by Boots. However, our point is that other than a polite but firm “I’m not happy” email to them there’s actually little accountability. In some ways that is bad – when errors are made there’s no one on hand to say “that was wrong” – on the other hand the free reign competitions and prize promotions have within law (i.e. they’re not regulated) means we have a vast array of comps to choose from.

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  • grevatt

    Did get the winning email. Bit gutted as not won anything in ages! Still, there are other comps to enter.

  • Polarbear

    As the blog says, mistakes happen, its not the first time, it won’t be the last.

    I’m gutted i didn’t get a winning email… 🙁 but there again its a holiday competition and i don’t usually enter holiday comps so i wouldn’t have been entered 😉

    As for the chances of those ‘not so lucky’ winners getting something out of boots, well even the Tax man can’t get any money out of them so your chances are virtually non-existant – at least you got an apology, the Tax man can’t even get one of those. 🙂

    Meanwhile lighten up and onto the next competition???…..

  • oct31sew

    I got one, but thankfully I read the one apologizing that it was a mistake first, so didn’t suffer any disappointment. I do feel sorry for anyone who got this email as their first ever ‘win’, they must be really gutted. On a brighter note, I have just got another one from Boots saying that they have added £10 worth of points onto my Advantage card, so it has worked in my favour!!


    I was lucky enough to read the e-mail offering £10 of points on my Advantage card before I read my “winners e-mail” so I feel £10 up rather than a holiday down

    Like you say, mistakes happen – and I think an extra prize draw and £10 of points is a fairly decent gesture for a genuine mistake

    Will keep trying for that holiday win though… 🙂

  • sheena444

    I thought the £10 advantage points and announcement of a new draw for everyone who got the “winning” email was very generous of them- especially as so many people were affected. It made my day when I thought I’d won though- even finding out it was an error didn’t reduce that happy feeling too much, which was strange!

    I did think some people took it too much to heart though- there were some very aggressive responses on Facebook to the error.

  • Geebee

    I read both emails within moments of each other so I didn’t get disappointed for too long. They sent a very good humoured apology, and the £10 advantage points will help especially this close to Christmas! The competition is being re-drawn so fingers crossed for that!

  • maureenm

    At least for a few minutes I thought I’d had a big win.A lovely feeling!

  • Bigbadbren

    I got one and although disappointed could see the funny side after a traumatic week with family health issues. It put things into perspective and Boots eventual response was quite fair.

  • Emma Craven

    I hoped they would issue a £10 Boots voucher for those like me without an Advantage card…but no! Anyhow, disappointed, but move on – the lesson being only get excited when you know it’s really genuinely happening!

  • penelope09

    I didn’t get the e-mail but know someone who has, who luckily saw apology e-mail first, But have seen some of the responses and the story the Daily Mail did which I felt was a step to far. Boots apology wasn’t great but £10 of advantage points was fair.