Man who had $110,000 winning bet rejected by TAB has right to take claim to Disputes Tribunal

A punter who had his $110,000 multi win rejected by the TAB because of a “technical malfunction” has the right to take the matter to the Disputes Tribunal, Consumer New Zealand says.

In the early hours of May 2, Corbin Nepe placed a $14 live bet on a six-leg English football multi bet at long odds of 7869-1.

After each result came in, he soon realised he had won a whopping $110,175.91.

The TAB initially deposited the winnings into his betting account. But that money was later taken back by the betting agency after Nepe had tried to withdraw it.

Last week, TAB general manager Simon Thomas told the Herald on Sunday they voided and refunded all bets that were placed during the “technical malfunction” which occurred between 2am and 6.15am.

At the time, Nepe disputed the TAB’s claims of a malfunction and asked them to provide evidence.

However, Nepe wasn’t happy with the evidence provided.

In a statement to the Herald, Consumer NZ says the customer could take the matter to the Disputes Tribunal if they were not satisfied with the evidence and response.

“The key question we’d ask in this case is whether the TAB took reasonable care and skill to prevent the ‘technical malfunction’ from occurring.

“If you’re a company providing an online betting service, then you need to ensure your systems are up to par. If it was shown the company had mucked up, it should wear the costs of its mistake.

“The customer can ask for information about what went wrong. If they’re not satisfied with the response, and believe there’s a case to answer, they could consider taking the matter to the Disputes Tribunal.”

The TAB offered Nepe a $100 bonus bet following the incident, which the Herald understands has been used.

Despite this, Consumer NZ says action could still be taken by the customer if they considered the compensation was insufficient.

“If a company misled you about your consumer rights, you’d have grounds to pursue action against it, even if you had accepted the compensation.

“If you considered the compensation wasn’t sufficient, you’d need to make it clear in agreeing to the company’s offer that you intended to chase it for further payment. The company would then need to decide whether it was going to provide the compensation on this basis.”

According to the TAB’s terms and conditions, they can void and refund any bets where a “pricing error is so substantial that it cannot reasonably be attributed to an error in judgment on behalf of the TAB”, and/or that a “demonstrable technology or software malfunction” had occurred.

Smith and Partners senior solicitor Nathan Tetzlaff told the Herald on Sunday last week terms and conditions are typically an enforceable contract.

“Terms and conditions will sometimes address what happens when something goes wrong, whether that is a failure of technology, or some mistake or negligence by the provider.

“If the service provider and consumer agree to terms and conditions that give the provider an ‘escape clause’ if something goes wrong, then as long as the provider follows that clause carefully and it doesn’t breach the law, then they may be able to rely on this.

But that might not necessarily protect them.

Tetzlaff says there are three steps a consumer can take if they are not happy with the company’s response.

“The end result can be a very disappointed consumer. In this sort of situation I would initially conduct a three-part assessment.

“The first step would be to consider whether the situation is genuinely covered by the particular clause in the terms and conditions.

“The second step would be to consider whether it is lawful for the provider to rely on this particular clause in all of the circumstances.”

“The last step is to ensure that the service provider can actually prove that the situation is covered by the clause. In the case of a failure of technology, I would request proof from the provider to back up their claim.”

On Friday, Thomas said the agency “regrets the inconvenience caused by the serious technical issue which impacted our website in the early hours of May 2”.

“The scale of the technical issue which enabled bets to be made with the knowledge of the live scores of events, that were all but over, was unprecedented. We are confident all possible steps were taken to minimise the impact and that the bets were legitimately voided.

“We would be happy to discuss the issue with Consumer New Zealand should they request any further details.”

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