Zavvi gets red card from customers over football blunder
Online retailer Zavvi has apologised after telling customers they had won a VIP trip to the Champions League football final in Madrid.
Joyous winners took to social media to announce their news - and dismay on learning of the error.
What Zavvi called "technical issues" meant its entire subscriber list may have been told they were winners.
Zavvi, which emerged out of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, sell music, DVDs, clothing and homeware.
A competition, in partnership with Mastercard, was offering two adults an all-expenses two-night trip to the much-anticipated Champions League final between Liverpool and Spurs.
Supposed winners received an email addressed to them personally using their first name. It read: "We here at Zavvi would like to wish you a huge congratulations as you have been chosen as the winner of our Mastercard competition, winning a VIP trip for two adults to attend the UEFA Champions League Final Madrid 2019."
The sister of one recipient tweeted: "Oh my God, my brother has just won this amazing prize!! We're going to the Champions League final!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH @zavvi!!!!!".
It is unclear how many people were emailed. The Liverpool Echo newspaper reported that among people getting the Zavvi emails were hundreds of Liverpool fans.
But after news seeped out on social media of multiple winners, Zavvi tweeted: "Apologies, we're aware of the problem regarding the recent Mastercard Competition. We seem to have had some technical issues and we're currently looking into this."
However, it appears that this tweet has now been taken down from Zavvi's twitter feed.
News of the "winners" came soon after Spurs reached the final on Wednesday after one of football's most amazing semi-final comebacks, against Ajax. That followed Liverpool's equally sensational comeback against Barcelona the night before.
The two remarkable games and an all-English club final has sparked soaring demand for tickets.
Social media lit up with people expressing their immediate delight, followed by disappointment.
Rob Kirkpatrick told the BBC that he was on his way to work on Thursday morning at 10:34 BST when he received the email from Zavvi.
Mr Kirkpatrick contacted Zavvi via the website to ask if the email was fake, and he was told that while the email wasn't fake, it had been sent to everyone who entered the competition.
Zavvi said it would not be able to confirm whether he had won until it had conducted further investigation.
"I feel angry and frustrated. I could have cried when I got the email, as I was just looking at flights last night just to go over for the experience and be with other Liverpool fans because I knew I couldn't get a ticket to the game itself because I'd missed the ballot," Mr Kirkpatrick told the BBC.
At about 17:00 BST, Mr Kirkpatrick received an email from Zavvi apologising and offering customers a 15% discount code to use on the website.
"I just think they should have handled it a little bit better," he said. "It's just very disappointing, I know it's a mistake and mistakes happen, but it's a huge mistake."
One tweet said: "I received this email from the actual @zavvi email address and lost my mind shaking buzzing... Devastated isn't the word I'm actually distraught."
Another said: "This is horrible. Me and my brother have already sent in our holiday requests to work and I've cancelled a weekend in Edinburgh when this arrived. I thought at first it would be a scam but checked the email address was genuine."