Here’s an interesting story from Loyalty360, a loyalty marketing industry publication:
After a computer error placed dollar signs in front of Loyalist points, a few Bloomingdale’s customers were surprised to discover some unexpected account balances. And since Loyalist, like many loyalty programs, has many members with a significant amount of points, this resulted in a potentially very expensive glitch.
Bloomingdale’s Loyalist accounts with 5,000 points, for example, immediately became $5,000. For some, this meant an instant monetary boon of up to $25,000, and at least one person was reported to have leapt at the opportunity to embark on a $17,000 spending spree.
Two questions immediately present themselves:
(1) It’s generally considered above-board to jump on mistake fares. Is it okay to cash in on the company’s mistake in this case?
(2) What was the response from Bloomingdale’s–do the customers get to keep their stuff? Read on:
However, it is unclear if Bloomingdale’s can, or will, seek any legal actions or enforce any further consequences for unreturned merchandise. “Bloomingdale’s may have to live with the impact of the error,” Bill Hanifin, Managing Director of Hanifin Loyalty, told Loyalty360.
“Although the Member who cashed in $17,000 of merchandise was most likely knowingly taking advantage of the error, nothing good can come from Bloomingdale’s trying to recover money from customers in this fast moving digital world.”
So yes, it looks like somebody just got a $17K merchandise windfall. The idea that Bloomingdale’s didn’t have cause to get its merchandise back was surprising to me; I would think the legal system would side with the retailer here, but then I’m not a lawyer.
If those of you reading this had had the opporunity, would you have gone on a shopping spree in this case?