Play.com - Cheap but not so cheerful

6 May 2009

When it comes to Internet shopping, Play.com are not the new kids on the block. Jersey based Play have been around for a few years. They have been around long enough to have built up quite a reputation for supplying everything from electronic components to clothing, and certainly long enough to know about packaging.

This however seems to remain a mystery to them. Dispatching a DVD boxed set in a plastic bag or an Xbox 360 [entertainment pack] sent without any padding or external protective packaging seems to be the standard practice, and if a hardback book arrives scored and marked, it can always be blamed on the postal service. Reader Stuart sent us the following pics:

http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/2094/dsc00423w600h6005516920.jpg

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/4844/dsc00425w600h6006313012.jpg

Attached is a photo of a Bret Hart hard back book which was dispatched dispite having a huge score across the front and a Rocky Horror Picture Show DVD boxset which was dispatched in a plastic bag and took a hammering in the post.  They did however dispatch my O.C complete boxset in a cardboard box. There have been numerous [Play items that arrived in poor condition] in the past month but all have been returned for refund/replacement.  Play aren't doing themselves any favours with their poor packaging as they have refunded all the postage costs for items I returned.

And Stuart isn't the only one. Other customer complaints include a PC hard drive turning up in just an antistatic bag and wrong articles being sent. [click link, under comments]

Play.com may advertise the benefits of free postage and packaging, but surely it is not unreasonable for customers to expect the packaging to be fit for purpose and save the pain of sending the package back and resending a new stock, which costs time and money on both ends. All customers want is a little fair play.com.

(Thanks to HUKD reader Stuart for the pics!)

TOPICS:   High Street News

31 comments

  • cooki2222
    never had any problems with play.com packaging. Plus that is clearly not an xbox that was sent it was an entertainment pack that had a controller and two games in it i somewhat doubt play would send an xbox in that . Also the pc hard drive link brings us to the xbox* link again. What about we all complain about the substandard blog posting???
  • Lumoruk
    Never had a problem with play packaging either
  • Colleen H.
    I have to say that I've had lots of problems with poorly packed items from play.com. They seem to have no idea when it comes to delicate items like DVD boxsets. They're also a pain when it comes to getting refunds of postage costs back. They do pay up, but you frequently have to chase them up. I've actually sent them an email of complaint citing your posting, but I doubt it'll have an effect. Which is weird - given the current economic climate. You'd think the last thing they'd want to do is pee customers off or incur unneccesary expense due to poor packaging. Maybe they just claim it all back off the Royal Mail and simply don't care.
  • Bookdiver
    Unfortunately, it is a bit of a lottery what packaging Play send their items out in. I've never had a problem with DVDs, Games or paperbacks. Anything a little unusual, for example gadgets or boxed sets can be sent out in either a large Jiffybag, a large parcel bag or a cardboard box at random it seems. I've had to send items back in the past because the boxes had been horribly crushed. Other than that, I've been using them for years, and will continue to do so :)
  • Deb
    Have to say only ever had a couple of items arrive damaged due to packing, no problems with returns or refunds, getting them to refund postage is a bit of hard work but at least they do give it, some companies dont. Been using Play for a good few years now so fingers crossed it stays the same
  • matt
    i ordered complete oc boxset it came in just an antistatic bag and the courier chucked it over the side gate you can guess the rest
  • Vince W.
    Deb & Matt, what kind of difficulty did you guys run into with refunding postage? We'd love to know, pls send us an email [email protected] In general Play CS seem very reasonable for refunding/exchanging, but it costs everyone extra from manufacturers to their own CS and the customer to deal with this kind of stuff, not just in money but time. cooki222 the complaint on HDD is under the same link. You just have to scroll down to reader comments. I've amended link anyway with a hashtag to jump directly there. I've also updated re: xbox entertainment pack. Thanks for your comments.
  • Amzmalhotra
    Only time I ever had a problem with the Play.com packaging was for.....(yep you guessed it) AN XBOX 360 PREMIUM console. It came by Parcelfarce in a standard thin (M&S carrier bag-esque) postage bag which also contained a Halo 3 game. The outer box of the console had loads of cuts and dents in it but suprisingly the game was fine, I rang up straight away and sent for a new one which thankfully came in a proper box with large bubble padding. My PS3 came fine first time in a proper box from them and the few DVD boxsets Ive ordered have come in proper boxes. The only excuse for them sending the console in a bag may have been that they sent it out 2 weeks before Xmas which would have been a hectic time. They exchanged straightaway though and 5 days later I had a new console. So at least they sort out the problems efficiently!
  • a m.
    Combatting the internet echo chamber, I have never had a problem with play.com
  • me
    Got a tv from them today, took them best part of a week to even dispatch the dam thing! Free postage apparently also means slow postage - was no fault of the courier as they only actually go their hands on it yesterday! Worst thing is the tv has bloody FINGER PRINTS on it!!! So must have been one that had been sent back or something.... either way keeping it as cant be assed to wait another 2 weeks or something for a replacement..... Play are great for dvds, blu rays, games and the like (although had 2 game cases smashed-in in the past) but for anything big i would shop elsewhere....
  • GW
    I received a stack of 100 blank dvds in a huge box which gave them plenty of room to roll about in. I opened the box to find blank dvds all over the place, several with scratches. I sent them an email, including a photo of the mess and they never had the courtesy to even bother replying. I sent another email telling them what they could do with their goods and have never bought from them since. Never will again either.
  • Richard D.
    Well it is nice (although I empathize with the other people who have had problems) to know I am not the only person who has had trouble with play.com. Over the years I have spent upwards of several hundred pounds at Play.com on DVDs, Books, Electronics etc. I have ordered from them since they were first starting out, however the most I will order from them now is a £2/3.99 dvd (or some other cheap item that can't really get damaged in transit) as I have had nigtmares with them in the past. I have had wrong items sent to me (eg. the wrong season of a tv show), items damaged in transit (including collectable items). I have also had 2 major foul-ups where a whole christmas list of presents were not delivered before christmas (after ordering in november) due to it being hard (apparently) to manually authorize an order (a problem I have never had with any other online company). I also failed to recieve a free item that should have come with my order, this was a play.com promotion that was still on offer when I rang up to complain. I did not end up getting my free item, I didn't get an apology and the item I ordered (play.com branded pen drive) practically fell apart after a couple of months (poor quality casing). If it wasn't for them severely undercutting the competition at times, then they would not get any of my business at all. Richard
  • Seán
    Personally, i have only had a few bad experiences with Play.com and none of them so serious, and i have used Play.com for years. Very minor damge on those light cardboard boxes as some others have said, and once had a damaged DVD boxset which was replaced without much bother. I understand things happen, but they really should improve the quality of delivery to save themselves money in the end.
  • Bob
    £600 tv turned up in crumbled and battered box, and the courier had the cheek to drag it down our driveway and dump it infront of the door. I asked him to watch us open it and check for damage before signing (or signing it UNCHECKED) and he literally said "Sign for it now or im taking it back"...twat. Needless to say I told him where to stick it.
  • Steve
    I have had about 50 orders from play never seen any bad packing not saying it doesnt exits but you guys seem to rant about play alot
  • victor m.
    If you don't like the service then don't use them....TWATS Sitting on this tedious blog bitching about it wont change anything !!! :(
  • Tinop
    Not a problem with me, and I bought loads of stuff. Stop looking for nothing guys. You will always find complaining people.
  • Jeffrey
    "If you don’t like the service then don’t use them….TWATS" It's kind of hard to not use them when you dislike the service, AFTER YOU'VE ALREADY PAID FOR AND HAD DELIVERY OF SOMETHING SHITILLY PACKED. Are you some sort of retard? Time machines and ESP do not exist.
  • Darren W.
    I've had similar problems, but for all my music and DVD's I just use HMV for everything now, they are just as cheap, dont get me wrong I'll still compare with play, but if HMV are little more expensive by say a quid or something then I will stlll do it through HMV knowing it will arrive well packaged...
  • Mike
    Not had a problem
  • Ga W.
    Jeffrey i think he is referrign to the people posting who have said they have had problems on more than one occasion yet keep buying from play. You get the same in every buisness , people who complain but then go back to the same shop,pub, etc. My personal experience with Play has been very good and never had any problems with them, maybe a few emails with the suggestion of being able to pay for 'Premium Packaging' for specialist items such as collectables would be a first step, then altought you would pay for the service you would be more assured.
  • Sam
    don't use play much, but my other half very kindly bought me a very limited edition cd box set as a gift a little while ago from play as they had stock - first off they informed her on the day it was supposed to arrive that she wasnt going to get it as they ran out of stock and they'd refund the money, then 4 days later it turned up, in one of those padded envelopes complete with a massive dent in the top of the presentation box. To be honest i dont care too much as its the contents of the box that interest me, but when you're paying £90.00 for something 'extremely limited' and rather special you'd think they'd make the tiny bit of extra effort to make sure it turns up with you in decent condition. My loyalties still lie with amazon and this certainly hasnt helped, although i'll admit its got a lot to do with the fact that i've got amazon prime.
  • Tom
    Its a box. Jeez...
  • AJ
    I've had loads of issues with poor packaging and i've been a customer since the play247 days! Single Blu-Ray/DVD's get the "best" treatment, card sleeves. Box-sets i've had all arrived damaged due to only being put in a padded envelope. Expensive items, external hard discs, sony e-reader and more just put in a plastic bag! I initiated charge-backs on some items as Play were total A-holes about collecting/replacing valuable stuff. Their prices are so good I take the punt still, more often that not they are ok but it's still a high percentage of issue which at the end of the day cost them money to put right. Weird thing was they sent a free case for my ereader in a proper box (charged £1.89 for it) and the £200 e-reader in a plastic bag. The only things i've not had problems with are when items come in an outer box supplied by the maker, why on earth they think a plastic bag is going to protect anything tech is a complete mystery to me!
  • Stolendiagram
    Stuart should consider himself lucky if that's the worst condition his purchases have turned up in. That second photo doesn't look too bad to me - the very minor looking "line" on it could very easily have been caused by play.com's stock provider. Now I'm in no way praising play as god knows I've had enough issues with them in the past - I ordered a Lightsaber from them just before christmas and the box it came in wasn't packaged at all - I considered myself extremely lucky it reached me unscathed
  • chAadi w.
    I’ve had loads of issues with poor packaging and i’ve been a customer since the play247 days! Single Blu-Ray/DVD’s get the “best” treatment, card sleeves. Box-sets i’ve had all arrived damaged due to only being put in a padded envelope. Expensive items, external hard discs, sony e-reader and more just put in a plastic bag! I initiated charge-backs on some items as Play were total A-holes about collecting/replacing valuable stuff. Their prices are so good I take the punt still, more often that not they are ok but it’s still a high percentage of issue which at the end of the day cost them money to put right. Weird thing was they sent a free case for my ereader in a proper box (charged £1.89 for it) and the £200 e-reader in a plastic bag. The only things i’ve not had problems with are when items come in an outer box supplied by the maker, why on earth they think a plastic bag is going to protect anything tech is a complete mystery to me!
  • chAadi w.
    # Posted by cooki2222 | May 6th, 2009 at 5:27 pm never had any problems with play.com packaging. Plus that is clearly not an xbox that was sent it was an entertainment pack that had a controller and two games in it i somewhat doubt play would send an xbox in that . Also the pc hard drive link brings us to the xbox* link again. What about we all complain about the substandard blog posting??? # Posted by Lumoruk | May 6th, 2009 at 5:45 pm Never had a problem with play packaging either # Posted by Colleen Hawkins | May 6th, 2009 at 5:51 pm I have to say that I’ve had lots of problems with poorly packed items from play.com. They seem to have no idea when it comes to delicate items like DVD boxsets. They’re also a pain when it comes to getting refunds of postage costs back. They do pay up, but you frequently have to chase them up. I’ve actually sent them an email of complaint citing your posting, but I doubt it’ll have an effect. Which is weird - given the current economic climate. You’d think the last thing they’d want to do is pee customers off or incur unneccesary expense due to poor packaging. Maybe they just claim it all back off the Royal Mail and simply don’t care. # Posted by Bookdiver | May 6th, 2009 at 5:54 pm Unfortunately, it is a bit of a lottery what packaging Play send their items out in. I’ve never had a problem with DVDs, Games or paperbacks. Anything a little unusual, for example gadgets or boxed sets can be sent out in either a large Jiffybag, a large parcel bag or a cardboard box at random it seems. I’ve had to send items back in the past because the boxes had been horribly crushed. Other than that, I’ve been using them for years, and will continue to do so :) # Posted by Deb | May 6th, 2009 at 6:07 pm Have to say only ever had a couple of items arrive damaged due to packing, no problems with returns or refunds, getting them to refund postage is a bit of hard work but at least they do give it, some companies dont. Been using Play for a good few years now so fingers crossed it stays the same # Posted by matt | May 6th, 2009 at 6:21 pm i ordered complete oc boxset it came in just an antistatic bag and the courier chucked it over the side gate you can guess the rest # Posted by Vince Wong | May 6th, 2009 at 6:27 pm Deb & Matt, what kind of difficulty did you guys run into with refunding postage? We’d love to know, pls send us an email [email protected] In general Play CS seem very reasonable for refunding/exchanging, but it costs everyone extra from manufacturers to their own CS and the customer to deal with this kind of stuff, not just in money but time. cooki222 the complaint on HDD is under the same link. You just have to scroll down to reader comments. I’ve amended link anyway with a hashtag to jump directly there. I’ve also updated re: xbox entertainment pack. Thanks for your comments. # Posted by a masked man | May 6th, 2009 at 7:00 pm Combatting the internet echo chamber, I have never had a problem with play.com # Posted by me | May 6th, 2009 at 8:22 pm Got a tv from them today, took them best part of a week to even dispatch the dam thing! Free postage apparently also means slow postage - was no fault of the courier as they only actually go their hands on it yesterday! Worst thing is the tv has bloody FINGER PRINTS on it!!! So must have been one that had been sent back or something…. either way keeping it as cant be assed to wait another 2 weeks or something for a replacement….. Play are great for dvds, blu rays, games and the like (although had 2 game cases smashed-in in the past) but for anything big i would shop elsewhere…. # Posted by GW | May 6th, 2009 at 8:54 pm I received a stack of 100 blank dvds in a huge box which gave them plenty of room to roll about in. I opened the box to find blank dvds all over the place, several with scratches. I sent them an email, including a photo of the mess and they never had the courtesy to even bother replying. I sent another email telling them what they could do with their goods and have never bought from them since. Never will again either. # Posted by Richard D.K.F | May 6th, 2009 at 9:01 pm Well it is nice (although I empathize with the other people who have had problems) to know I am not the only person who has had trouble with play.com. Over the years I have spent upwards of several hundred pounds at Play.com on DVDs, Books, Electronics etc. I have ordered from them since they were first starting out, however the most I will order from them now is a £2/3.99 dvd (or some other cheap item that can’t really get damaged in transit) as I have had nigtmares with them in the past. I have had wrong items sent to me (eg. the wrong season of a tv show), items damaged in transit (including collectable items). I have also had 2 major foul-ups where a whole christmas list of presents were not delivered before christmas (after ordering in november) due to it being hard (apparently) to manually authorize an order (a problem I have never had with any other online company). I also failed to recieve a free item that should have come with my order, this was a play.com promotion that was still on offer when I rang up to complain. I did not end up getting my free item, I didn’t get an apology and the item I ordered (play.com branded pen drive) practically fell apart after a couple of months (poor quality casing). If it wasn’t for them severely undercutting the competition at times, then they would not get any of my business at all. Richard # Posted by Bob | May 6th, 2009 at 9:34 pm £600 tv turned up in crumbled and battered box, and the courier had the cheek to drag it down our driveway and dump it infront of the door. I asked him to watch us open it and check for damage before signing (or signing it UNCHECKED) and he literally said “Sign for it now or im taking it back”…twat. Needless to say I told him where to stick it. # Posted by Steve | May 6th, 2009 at 9:43 pm I have had about 50 orders from play never seen any bad packing not saying it doesnt exits but you guys seem to rant about play alot # Posted by victor meldrew | May 7th, 2009 at 7:40 am If you don’t like the service then don’t use them….TWATS Sitting on this tedious blog bitching about it wont change anything !!! :( # Posted by Tinop | May 7th, 2009 at 7:56 am Not a problem with me, and I bought loads of stuff. Stop looking for nothing guys. You will always find complaining people. # Posted by Jeffrey | May 7th, 2009 at 9:37 am “If you don’t like the service then don’t use them….TWATS” It’s kind of hard to not use them when you dislike the service, AFTER YOU’VE ALREADY PAID FOR AND HAD DELIVERY OF SOMETHING SHITILLY PACKED. Are you some sort of retard? Time machines and ESP do not exist. # Posted by Darren W | May 7th, 2009 at 10:23 am I’ve had similar problems, but for all my music and DVD’s I just use HMV for everything now, they are just as cheap, dont get me wrong I’ll still compare with play, but if HMV are little more expensive by say a quid or something then I will stlll do it through HMV knowing it will arrive well packaged… # Posted by Mike | May 7th, 2009 at 10:42 am Not had a problem # Posted by Ga W | May 7th, 2009 at 10:43 am Jeffrey i think he is referrign to the people posting who have said they have had problems on more than one occasion yet keep buying from play. You get the same in every buisness , people who complain but then go back to the same shop,pub, etc. My personal experience with Play has been very good and never had any problems with them, maybe a few emails with the suggestion of being able to pay for ‘Premium Packaging’ for specialist items such as collectables would be a first step, then altought you would pay for the service you would be more assured. # Posted by Sam | May 7th, 2009 at 11:21 am don’t use play much, but my other half very kindly bought me a very limited edition cd box set as a gift a little while ago from play as they had stock - first off they informed her on the day it was supposed to arrive that she wasnt going to get it as they ran out of stock and they’d refund the money, then 4 days later it turned up, in one of those padded envelopes complete with a massive dent in the top of the presentation box. To be honest i dont care too much as its the contents of the box that interest me, but when you’re paying £90.00 for something ‘extremely limited’ and rather special you’d think they’d make the tiny bit of extra effort to make sure it turns up with you in decent condition. My loyalties still lie with amazon and this certainly hasnt helped, although i’ll admit its got a lot to do with the fact that i’ve got amazon prime.
  • James
    I've bin with ordering with play for years, never had a problem. I must be lucky
  • Play.com: B.
    [...] a followup to our previous post on damaged goods in transit from Play.com, wo we decided to ask Play for their thoughts. Here is a summary of what their super friend [...]
  • pistol w.
    its only a box dont get a stiffy
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