"Horrific promotion." "Very disappointed." "Cheap marketing trick." "Lies!" Just some of the responses found online to Uber Eats' offer of a free Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 copy when purchasing fish and chips last Friday.
The highly-publicised promotion - which offered a free copy of COD when you ordered a £7.99 cod and chips from one of three participating Harry Ramsden's resturants while stocks lasted - seemed too good to be true. And indeed it was.
Stocks did not last, despite the promotion being advertised as available all weekend. Uber Eats customers hungry for a deal claim they refreshed their apps constantly only to find the offer marked as sold out or unavailable as soon as it was supposed to go live. Some who did manage to place an order report their purchases were later cancelled or not accepted by the resturants.
Responding to the issues on its Twitter the following morning, Harry Ramsden's stated:
"The anticipation and enthusiasm for the new COD game were demonstrated in the speed at which the promotion sold out in our London and Manchester stores.
"Due to an unfortunately timed technical issue in our Birmingham outlet a small number of gaming enthusiasts were initially left disappointed.
"As soon as we were made aware of the issue, the matter was shared with the team at UberEats and swiftly resolved. #CodForCod #COD"
UBER-EATS/COD;— Harry Ramsden's (@HarryRamsdensUK) October 13, 2018
The anticipation and enthusiasm for the new COD game were demonstrated in the speed at which the promotion sold out in our London and Manchester stores.
Due to an unfortunately timed technical issue in our Birmingham outlet...(part 1/2)
Part 2/2— Harry Ramsden's (@HarryRamsdensUK) October 13, 2018
....a small number of gaming enthusiasts were initially left disappointed.
As soon as we were made aware of the issue, the matter was shared with the team at UberEats and swiftly resolved. #CodForCod #COD (part 2/2) pic.twitter.com/9x2zWOdPXP
I spoke to Harry Ramsden's customer support this morning and asked how exactly the matter had been resolved. The support rep I talked with advised me the deal was an Uber Eats promotion, and that anyone affected should contact Uber Eats instead.
However, I was told there were only 40 copies of the game made available in total - roughly 13 for each store. Where these actually ended up, the chain could not say.
Speaking to Uber Eats on the phone, a company representative advised me to contact the company again via its website. The firm has seemingly only provided customers with canned responses over what went wrong.
"To celebrate the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Uber Eats offered customers a copy of the game for no extra cost when ordering portions of cod and chips - while stocks lasted," an Uber spokesperson said in a statement provided to Eurogamer this morning. "The Cod for CoD Bundle (priced at £7.99) was available in three participating Harry Ramsden restaurants; London (Victoria), Manchester (Castlemore), Birmingham (Barclaycard Arena). The demand from the public was overwhelming and the bundle sold out within minutes.
"We are aware of some customer complaints which we are investigating and will update those customers accordingly."
Looking on Twitter, plenty of people were hooked in by the scheme:
@ubereats @HarryRamsdensUK So I think that we can all agree that we took the bait and were hooked, lined and sinkered and now Harry Ramsden is the wiser.— Tanzim (@yasirtazc) October 12, 2018
What an amazing marketing campaign 😐#codforcod #ijustwantmycod #blackops4 😥😭
@Uber_Support Good job on the fake marketing campaign that #codforcod was. Waited around until @HarryRamsdensUK finally opened on UberEats at about 12:20, placed my order, waited another 20 mins just to have my order cancelled? Utter disgrace and building people’s hopes up.— Zeemex Customs (@ZeemexCustoms) October 12, 2018
#CoDforCOD was supposed to be a weekend deal, but didn’t even last until the stores opened. How? Is anyone’s guess.— vhs dot exe (@VHS_exe) October 12, 2018
Some people, at least, kept their sense of humour about the whole fishuation:
Will you support Eurogamer?