As It Happens

How this Ontarian bought almost $1,000 worth of wine for $0

When Mohammed Asaduallah added four cases of $0 wine to his online basket, he never thought the transaction would go through.

'To be very frank, I really just thought that LCBO had some kind of bug,' says Mohammed Asaduallah

Mohammed Asaduallah purchased nearly $1,000 worth of red wine from the LCBO store — at a price of exactly zero dollars. (Submitted by Mohammed Asaduallah)

Read Story Transcript

When Mohammed Asaduallah added four cases of $0 wine to his online basket, he never thought the transaction would go through.

The Torontonian found the listing through a Facebook group where people share tips about deals at the LCBO, the Crown corporation that sells and regulates booze in Ontario.

"To be very frank, I really just thought that LCBO had some kind of bug," Asaduallah told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

"I thought I would add everything to the cart and it'll give me an error and I won't even be able to process my payment."

He did get an error, but only because the LCBO has a $50 minimum on online purchases. So he added a bottle of whisky to his cart and tried again. This time, it went through.

Asaduallah, who documented the whole thing on Twitter, says the wine would have cost him $940 if it had been listed at the usual price.

The LCBO told As It Happens the listing was due to a glitch on its website and has since been corrected. 

Mohammed Asaduallah found this listing for free wine on the LCBO website via a Facebook deals group. (Mohammed Asaduallah/Twitter)

After he'd placed the order successfully, Asaduallah still figured it was too good to be true. Surely, he thought, someone would catch the error and cancel the order. He went on about his life and didn't think about it.

Then he got an email notifying him that his order was ready for pick-up. 

"I honestly thought that I was going go to the store and they're only going give me the bottle of whisky, and they're going to tell me that there was some kind of issue and I'm not getting wine," he said.

But he figured he'd see this thing through. So he went to the store and gave an employee his order number. The employee disappeared into the back, and Asaduallah says he got increasingly nervous as he waited. 

"A few minutes later, they came back with a small box, and I thought it was just the whisky. I was like, OK, yeah, I guess I'm not getting the wine. And then the person is like, 'Oh, I need to get some help to bring your whole order out,''' he said.

"That's when I was like, oh, wow. This is actually true. Like, I'm actually getting wine."

Mohammed Asaduallah says he was shocked with the LCBO employee brought him his order — 4 cases of red wine priced at $0. (Mohammed Asaduallah/Twitter)

Sure enough, he said, the employee emerged again with a cart full of wine.

"I was ecstatic, but of course I had to, like, play it cool because I didn't want to look too excited," Asaduallah said. 

He was loading his ill-begotten bounty into his car, when he noticed something was wrong: it wasn't wine he'd ordered. In fact, a cursory Google search indicated it was a less expensive brand.

That's when he decided to look his gift horse straight in the mouth.

"I went back into the store to figure out what happened," Asaduallah said. "I don't know what got into me."

Back in the store, Asaduallah explained that he'd received the wrong order. Then the LCBO employee looked more closely at the order form, he said.

"So now that they're finally paying attention, they're like, 'You paid nothing for this ... you can't have it,'" Asaduallah said.  "I was like, 'Well, no, I have it. My order is on it. My name is on the box.'"

The next thing he knew, he was talking to the store manager, who he says informed him the store would have to investigate, and would be in contact when the correct order came in.

"And it just kind of just escalated to a point where it's like, 'Well, we have to call customer support.' And I was like, 'Great, let's call customer support.'"

The representative was focused on getting him the correct wine — something that proved difficult, since it's not a brand they regularly stock.

That person passed Asaduallah up the chain again, he said, this time to someone who works for LCBO e-commerce department. 

"I was like, 'Look, at the end of the day, I'm OK with just walking out of here with this wine,'" he told the e-commerce worker, again baffled at his own audacity to make such a concession on free wine.

'Just give him the wine' 

The $0 price tag became an issue again, he said.

"I'm telling the e-commerce manager that, 'Hey, I have a screenshot of the LCBO page that shows zero dollars. I have a order confirmation that says zero dollars. I have order pickup notification that's zero dollars," he said.

"And then immediately, the tone changed and the LCBO e-commerce manager is like, 'OK, just give him the wine.'"

The store manager seemed taken aback, Asaduallah said, but he let him leave with all four cases.

"To be honest, as soon as I got out of the parking lot, I let out a long scream," Asaduallah said. "I have no idea how I negotiated myself out of my own stupid mistake of going back into the store."

Since then, Asaduallah found out that the wine he got was actually more expensive than the wine he ordered.

Asked for comment, the LCBO said in an email: "While there are some inaccuracies in Mr. Asaduallah's account of our attempts to resolve the situation, we take full responsibility for the error and have worked to ensure that it will not happen again."


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Menaka Raman-Wilms.

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