Littlewoods has become the latest retailer to fall foul of a runaway online voucher campaign.

The home shopping brand, which had distributed a £25-off discount code to “a small group of specific customers”, ended up having to recall cash from thousands of bargain-hunters when the promotion went viral.

A spokesperson told the BBC:

“A £25 discount code was created for a small group of specific customers.

“This code was then circulated, without our authorisation, through a number of websites resulting in around 3,000 customers obtaining a discount for which they were ineligible.

“As a result, in accordance with clause 2.3 of our online terms and conditions we have re-charged this discount back to their accounts and have written to them individually to explain.”

Littlewoods is not the first company to be caught out after failing to close loopholes in online discount campaigns, and won’t be the last. Hamleys and Sainsburys are also recent victims, so it is in good company.

The firm said it was within its rights to recall the cash from shoppers’ bank accounts and that Trading Standards was “satisfied” with its actions. But clearly, the mistake will have caused a level of brand damage.

The BBC said it mirrored Threshers’ widely-publicised discount ‘mishap’ last year – except that that is believed to have been a fiendishly clever marketing trick to boost sales in the run up to Xmas.

Littlewoods said it was “looking at a number of ways of ensuring this doesn’t happen again.”

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