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Shortfall in your order

So here’s what Amazon’s conditions of sale say:


Your order is an offer to Amazon to buy the product(s) in your order. When you place an order to purchase a product from Amazon, we will send you an e-mail confirming receipt of your order and containing the details of your order (the “Order Confirmation E-mail”). The Order Confirmation E-mail is acknowledgement that we have received your order, and does not confirm acceptance of your offer to buy the product(s) ordered. We only accept your offer, and conclude the contract of sale for a product ordered by you, when we dispatch the product to you and send e-mail confirmation to you that we’ve dispatched the product to you (the “Dispatch Confirmation E-mail”). If your order is dispatched in more than one package, you may receive a separate Dispatch Confirmation E-mail for each package, and each Dispatch Confirmation E-mail and corresponding dispatch will conclude a separate contract of sale between us for the product(s) specified in that Dispatch Confirmation E-mail. Your contract is with Amazon EU Sarl. Without affecting your right of cancellation set out in section 2 below, you can cancel your order for a product at no cost any time before we send the Dispatch Confirmation E-mail relating to that product. This right to cancel does not apply to certain categories of products and services, including digital products or software which are not supplied in a physical format (e.g. on a CD or DVD), once download or use (whichever is earlier) has begun.

In other words, pretty much the same. I wonder how many of us realise that’s the nature of the contract that we enter into in online buying? Not many, by the nature of this thread (including me before doing this, I might add). Just goes to show that we really should read all those Ts&Cs, perhaps.

Link to Amazon’s Ts&Cs


Like I said above, I think this is standard (and good) practice.

Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt for TWS to have a sentence on the appropriate web page, mentioning the potential consequences of not selecting an early delivery date. Surely that is not too much to ask?


Certainly I was aware of the practice that you mentioned that your credit card doesn’t get charged until despatch (and nor should it be). What was interesting is the wording that your order being accepted is an “offer” to buy the goods. Essentially, your protection against the goods being out of stock at the point of despatch is the retailer wanting to protect their reputation - if it happened a lot, then nobody would buy from them. As a result, they have stock control systems to assign the goods for you at the time that your “offer” (i.e. order) is placed. Sometimes these systems will go wrong, and you’ll get situations when the goods can’t be sent. Wording the contract in this way protects the retailer against such faults, as and when they occur. That’s some way from the interpretation that some have made, that the Society will just accept any number of orders for the n bottles of wine that they hold, and the first n that get despatched are the winners. But if the faults are happening more often, then they’ll need to take action to correct anything systemic that’s going wrong.


I’ve got one due on Tuesday. If you don’t get yours you can probably blame me…


There were also a few cases some 20 years ago, where goods were offered online at a price that was clearly an error because they were far too cheap. Apparantly, in that situation companies can normaly refuse to supply the goods at the clearly erroneous price.

But Kodak, whose lawyers thought they were being smart, put into their T&Cs that Kodak’s acknowledgement of an order created a contract. And as a result they had to let lots of cameras go very cheaply. Must admit I am not sure which legal system it was under, but it might well have been the English one, as it was discussed here.

Anyway, to get to the point… I think some of the wording of TWS T&Cs might be to emphasise that acknowledgement of the order is an “offer” (and thus does not imply a contract).


Excellent. I think this settles it.

English. As I recall customers seeking to buy a camera received an email saying ‘thank you for your order which is confirmed’, or similar, so it was hard to argue there was no contract at the lower price.

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Completely agree. You have very valid reasons for seeking a longer delivery date at times which you’ve mentioned on here before.

There are several reasons why members may wish to defer delivery for a bit…

Trying to consolidate wines into a single order, often whilst waiting for an out of stock wine to come back into stock
Waiting for a TWS van delivery date…in my case I can be lucky or wait a month, which I don’t mind doing, but I’d certainly mind if TWS resold a wine already sold to me in the interim…
Waiting for a bit more space in their home/storage area
Not wanting to put wines into Reserves for a relatively short period (even if they are eligible e.g. odd bottles)

No one has really defined what a ‘distant’ delivery date is…I for one wouldn’t say that anything up to 4-6 weeks is ‘distant’.

Therefore I think that the comments about ‘gaming the system’ are well wide of the mark and a bit uncalled for.


This thread is a somber demonstration on how easy it is to derail a perfectly reasonable query.

Of course it’s not ‘gaming the system’. This statement makes no sense and I believe whoever made possibly it doesn’t fully understand what ‘gaming the system’ means i.e obtaining an advantage over others using the system by exploiting it’s rules.

So can we move past this as i think the OP brings up a good point.

Last 12 months the society has had to deal with Covid and a significant increase in members and trade. I have also had a couple of picking errors for the first time ever.
It was annoying as those wines were subsequently out of stock.
I hope things settle down as i had got used to orders previously being absolutely perfect. However the Society guarantee refund was the most hassle free experience.


A couple of years back I had a different experience. I asked for amongst others 6 bottles of Bilancia La Collina from reserves. I actually didn’t get them but did get 6x2005 Chateau Lafite. It was a big order so I didn’t check before the driver left. After a bit of soul searching I did let Customer Services know. No thanks, no apology for giving me such a moral dilemma, just a very quick pick up!


No response yet to this thread I notice, as promised earlier. I have suspended trading with the Society and left my modest reserves to rest whilst TWS sorts itself out, as it will in time.

Dealing with Seckfords a couple of years ago I wanted to secure a case of wine which was in short supply but had no space in my electric wine store. They willingly agreed to hold it for me for about three months once I had paid for it without charge and delivered it when I was ready. This is what one might expect of a smaller business but would be perhaps too much to ask of a large operation such as TWS. Especially as they seem to be having difficulty, for some members, in doing what they do do.


I don’t want to drag on this subject but I also didn’t get an answer to my email about why I was not offered a substitute for the wine I didn’t get

Isn’t this exactly what TWS Members’ reserves will do for a case of wine? As long as your invoice doesn’t get billed while the wine is there you wouldn’t be charged. I’ve just withdrawn 3 boxes that were all purchased since June (my reserves invoice month) and didn’t have to pay anything.


Yes of course. In fact I have done that myself. I think my mind was running along the current purchases lines and ordering for delivery some way ahead and I had forgotten the possibility of short term use of reserves without charge. Your point surely makes concerns about booking a distant delivery slot rather redundant or have I missed something?

Unfortunately you can only send wine to reserves in the case/limit format it’s sold by TWS or in mixed cases of exactly 12. If you want it any other way you have to buy for delivery.

You also might not see the point in sending to Reserves for maybe 4 weeks or so.

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Hello everyone, thank you all for raising your thoughts and concerns about your orders with us. We have looked at this with our Operations team, and can assure you all that our systems are not set up to oversell any stock. Once you confirm your order, the stock is allocated to you and it is then not available to be ordered by the next member. With regards to the few instances where we cannot fulfil an order taken, this is due only to picking errors or breakages within the warehouse. We are always extremely sorry for disappointment caused and it is unfortunate that these picking errors and breakages do happen, but our stats confirm that these instances are fewer than 2 out of every 1000 orders and, as a business, we are always trying to take steps to further minimise these instances. As always, we really appreciate and value your feedback, either via this Community forum or whether you feedback to our team in Member Services, so thank you again for taking the time to raise these issues with us!


Ordered Tuesday for delivering today.
Stock discrepancy apparently.
So not just limited to picking errors and breakages…

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Possibly the stock discrepancy has arisen from a picking error or breakage? The latter should be reported promptly I expect, but the former might not come to light for some time?

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Also worth pointing out that discrepancies can arise with respect to incoming stock. I have had unopened cases (in one case a cru classé claret) that on opening turned out to be short.