Don’t be massively mugged by a massive mug from Sports Direct

Last week I was mugged by a mug. And a magazine. I didn’t order them yet they arrived along with some items I had ordered. Sports Direct automatically add the ridiculously sized and extremely ugly mug to your order along with their own magazine full of their own adverts and charge you £1 for the privilege.
I was fuming when I realised I had fallen for, what can be rightfully called, a scam. Not only was I annoyed at myself for not checking my online basket before paying, I should have known to check it as the exact same thing had happened to a friend a few weeks earlier.

The issue was even reported on by BBC Watchdog last autumn. It featured companies, including Sports Direct, who automatically add items to your basket hoping you won’t realise. The programme explains that some websites are purposely designed specifically to confuse you so you don’t know what they have added until it arrives at your door. Watchdog show how companies are able to use human psychology to confuse you when shopping on these websites so that you ‘miss’ little boxes that have been automatically checked for you. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here. It’s scary stuff.

This a screenshot of the checkout page showing the mug and the magazine that has automatically been added to my basket. Seems obvious when it’s circled but I managed to miss it. You need to manually remove these items, if you realise, so that you don’t get charged. There is an option to return the mug and magazine to get a refund but it will cost more than £1 to post the items back.

Look how stupid the mug is compared to a normal sized mug.

Look how I’m struggling to even lift the mug for this photo

I weighed the mug and it is double the weight of a normal mug. 600g to be exact.

No wonder they are having to sneak them in to people orders. Who in their right mind would buy one of these mug out of choice?

Thankfully (and rightfully so) a law is coming in around June 2014 to prevent companies automatically opting their customers in for optional extras. But until then, be extra vigilant when you are shopping online and double check your basket before hitting the confirmation button.






PS. I have decided to use the mug as lifting weight. I could do with another if anyone has one…?

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.

  • Yes we were stung by this too

  • This is so annoying, I can see how some people wouldn't notice it 🙁

  • I have one you can have :/

  • Don't tell me I actually paid for the shagging thing! When mine arrived I presumed it was a hideous free promotional mug, I bet I paid for the just as awful, pack of cards that arrived the time before too.

  • They used to send you those mugs for free, I have a couple but they are so big, that amount of tea or coffee makes me feel sick! x

  • OK, I have to admit that I'm slightly baffled. Presuming you know how much you're expecting to pay for the item(s) you're ordering, and how much they are charging you for the post/packing, do you not know how much you're expecting the basket total to be at the end of the transaction? Surely the extra pound on the total should flag up as different to the amount you were expecting? I've had budget hotel chains do this with cancellation insurance, and even a charge for "confirmation of booking sent by text" – but I picked up on it when the amount was wrong as the final stage of checkout…?

  • Hi Robyn, trust me, I am slightly baffled too! I am so aware of these sneaky methods yet still fell for it and I was so angry with myself when it arrived in the post and found out I had fallen for it. When I made the order I looked at the red figure (total) and must have presumed the difference was just the delivery charge. I know the delivery charge I selected plus the cost of the item doesn't add up to that red figure but for some reason still accepted the price. Like the Watchdog clip shows, it must be something to do with human psychology and I just missed it. For the actual order I had made I had several items in my basket (around 6) so maybe that is why I didn't notice the wrong price total. I staged the order for the screenshot in this post with only one item in the basket.

    I have just recreated the scenario with several items in the basket and they sneakily put the mug and magazine within the other items, not on the end!

    Jenni x

  • Are you sure they were free? Haha x

  • Oh no! I am pretty sure you will have paid for them 🙁 At least you know for next time 🙂 x

  • I nearly ended up with that very same thing as I've just ordered some new trainers and joggers for my son for P.E, when I was checking out I said that's not right and I was already going through paypal at this point, my son said oh check the basket I saw this on watchdog! How sneaky! I'm glad they will put a stop to it soon. x

  • What a great post haha! I agree.. that is an extremely stupid mug! xx

  • I love that the product information says "Free Mug" when you clearly have to pay £1 for it!

  • Sadly, I quite like the big mug. I drink vast amounts of coffee and would save me time getting up from my desk. I would still have been annoyed though.

  • It's actually worse if they used to be free, because people are entitled to assume that it's still the case unless it's made clear that this is not the case!

  • I love that on the product details it says "Free Mug" when clearly you are paying a pound for it!

  • Anonymous

    This happened to me when I bought a pair of trainers. Even worse the handle had broken off the mug so it wasn't even a free mug just a bigger parcel with more packaging.

  • Now thanks to you, I didn't pay for the monstrosity! Whilst ordering from Sports Direct, I noticed they had added the giant mug at the promotional price of £1 to my order, I clicked the box to remove it, the order arrived, complete with the massive mug and classed as a free gift, I wasn't charged, I may use it as a paint kettle for mixing paint.

  • Gatis

    So nobody likes the mug? I saw that it was added to my basket, and i actually decided to keep it. It definitely a slimy practice, to sneak things in to costumers order, but the mug it self is awesome! Quickly became my favorite mug. Ordered two more.

  • Anonymous

    They are still doing it!! I have just placed an order and didn't notice tte additional mug and magazine until they sent the confirmation email! I have had one of these mugs once before and thought it was free – it went straight to charity! I hate being duped into paying for something I don't want – it is very sneaky. Not impressed. Hopefully I will remember next time!!

  • I guess the law never passed as they are still at it! Just received this guff…

  • I guess the law was never passed, they ar still at it! Just received a stupid mug and magazine…

  • Anonymous

    Hmm.. I've just found out they're still at it.

  • Anonymous

    Send it back. Use the parcel2go's free first parcel (up to ten pounds) to fire it and the stupid magazine right back to them.

    If enough people force them to do it, and they have to pay for them all to be unpacked, and for disposing of the packaging, they'll soon stop it!

  • Anonymous

    (forgot to add – the promo code at parcel2go is OFFERFREE)

  • Anonymous

    I've ordered from SD 3 times in the past couple of years and got a mug every time, and every time have specifically requested for it not to be sent. This time I even put it on the delivery instructions. Got an email today saying it's definitely free so don't worry about returning it! Will put all 3 in a parcel2go package – thanks for the tip.

  • Anonymous

    I've just been mugged off too. It is now 2 pounds for the mug and magazine!

  • Anonymous

    It's June 2015 and still they add the mug and magazine to the basket, which means they ave found away around the new law

  • Anonymous

    They haven't found a way around the law – they are breaking it.

  • Anonymous

    January 2016 and I just realised when I got the confirmation email that I am paying £1 for a magazine and a mug I didn't ask for. So annoyed with myself as at the point of paying I thought it was slightly off!

  • I have also been caught out with the mug and magazine scam, but i did notice straight after I had order, so went straight back to my order to amend it but Sports Direct do not allow you to amend your order, to cancel it you need to fill out an on line form stating why you want cancel it.

  • John Magner

    The law has passed, it’s in the Consumer Contracts Regulations, see this website:

    Please report this to Trading Standards, they are making alot of money by scamming many customers. Trading Standards probably won’t act on the odd complaint but if more people complain then it will become a priority for them.