Domino’s Pizza customers are passionate about the product – and one New South Wales man has received widespread praise from fellow pizza eaters on social media after he won $1200 in court to compensate for a delivery order he placed in April 2015 but which never arrived.
On ANZAC Day last year Tim Driscoll ordered three pizzas, two garlic breads and two bottles of soft drink from Domino’s but the food never appeared. He told The Daily Telegraph that after a year of going backwards and forwards with the company over a refund for the order, he took the “extreme step of going to court” and filed a claim for breach of contract.
Yesterday Driscoll won $1203.27 to cover his legal costs and the his $37.35 pizza order.
Other Domino’s customers have since congratulated him on the win.
“He won, you lost. Domino’s will have to pay up,” said one Twitter user.
Australian justice system has its shit together.
“Man whose Domino’s pizza delivery never showed awarded $1200” https://t.co/tsuYUcIX4I
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) October 5, 2016
Domino’s did not appear in court. According to The Daily Telegraph the chain has accused Driscoll of wasting the court’s time and plans to appeal the decision.
Reports say that Driscoll, a personal injury lawyer, initially filed a claim for $9000 in damages to “teach them a lesson”.
TressCox Lawyers partner Alistair Little says that while there’s no specific law around when a refund has to be given, businesses should keep in mind that these issues should be resolved in a timely way.
“You need to make it [a refund] reasonably promptly – what the court would regard as being reasonable,” Little told SmartCompany.
“In this case there was no refund paid – you could [frame] this as a breach of contract or a breach of consumer law.”
Australian consumer law requires businesses to honour implied terms of a transaction – like the service of delivering a pizza when it is ordered, says Little.
“The biggest failure here is the fact they didn’t deal with it,” says Rohan Harris, principal in corporate and commercial practice at Russell Kennedy Lawyers.
“Sure, we’ve all had pizzas not delivered from time to time,” Harris told SmartCompany. But the matter would have been resolved before court if “someone was there who could just deal with these things”, he adds.
Driscoll told The Daily Telegraph that he also intends to take the matter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which oversees compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.
Lawyers have told SmartCompany that while resolution processes are important in this case, businesses should also understand the difference between a breach of contract, in which an individual can take action against a business for something that has been done to them personally, and a breach of consumer law, which can be dealt with by the ACCC after a complaint is lodged.
“In many cases a breach of contract can also amount to a breach of Australian Consumer Law – if someone’s got a complaint they could go through both avenues,” says Harris.
“The kicker is that the Australian Consumer Law can also be used as the basis of the ACCC to take action, and the ACCC has a range of other remedies available to it.”
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises told SmartCompany that pizza vouchers were offered to Driscoll at the time of the incident but it was clearly “not enough” to resolve the complaint.
“We are disappointed and embarrassed to hear that we have let down a pizza loving customer,” a spokesperson said.
“At Domino’s if a customer is not completely satisfied with their experience, we will replace and or refund their order. Obviously in this instance we have failed the customer and we will work on making the necessary improvements to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
*This article was updated at 12:10pm on October 6, 2016 to include a statement from Domino’s Pizza Enterprises.