Approximate time to read: 4 minutes
I’ve been a customer of Play.com for many years. I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, with them and have promoted them heavily on this site. However, things have turned sour.
How Play.com treated me
On the 13th July I ordered 2 product, both of which were in stock. On the 19th July I realised that I hadn’t heard anything further about these orders so looked them up on the companies website. Both were showing as “packing” – the Help text indicates that this status usually occurs for up to 24 hours. Next day, sure enough, I received a “despatched” email but only for one item. The other was still “packing”. Next day I sent them an email but, still finding it as “packing” on the website on the 22nd I rang them.
Play appear to use an “off shore” help desk – the line is quiet and they appear to work from a basic script. I told them the issue and they told me that as it was being packed it would take 24 hours. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they were doing something to ensure it got despatched.
On Saturday 23rd I received a reply to my email..
Your order is currently being packed as of 23/07/2011, and should be dispatched shortly.
The status was still “packing” but they’d changed the date on the order to show that this was the status as of the 23rd. When I rang on the Monday (yes, it was still “packing”) I was told it only had that status since Saturday – I corrected them firmly, stating that they’d simply updated the date but in fact it had been packing since the previous week. Again I was told it would be despatched within 24 hours, and they’d left a note for the despatch department to chase it up.
On Tuesday it was still, yes, “packing”. I rang them. They told me it would be 24 hours. I saw red. My voice rose and I angrily asked to speak to a manager. After 10 minutes of being on hold I needed to leave for work so ended up hanging up. They made no attempt to contact me in the meantime – I rang them myself an hour later. Again, I was told it would be 24 hours. This time I calmly asked to speak to a manager. They put me through to a supervisor who told me she would chase it up herself and ensure something happens with the next 24 hours.
Whilst waiting I directed Tweets at Play.com via their Twitter account – the first one to express that I’m unhappy with their customer service, the other to ask if there’s anyone in the UK I can speak to with regard to my issue. The first was ignored, the second one resulted in them directing me to their standard customer services email. When I replied to ask what I did when that didn’t work they took my order ID and investigate it.
And I got a result. After 2 weeks.
The product is….. out of stock. The item on the Play website also now shows it as taking 1-2 weeks to deliver. So they offered a refund, which I’ve accepted, with apologies. I’ve now ordered the same item from Amazon.
How Play.com treated a friend
Maybe this is just a one-off? Or maybe not.
A friend of mine ordered a Christmas present last year from Play. However, when it turned up it was a different product – similar but not what he ordered. He rang their Helpdesk to arrange to send it back. However, he was told that they didn’t have stock of the product they ordered, hence why they’d sent something similar.
So, he wanted his money back. No problem. Would he get his postage back? Yes. Great. He sent the product back and was refunded – but not for the postage. He rang their Help Desk to be told they wanted him to email a copy of his receipt (even though the postage price would have been printed on his returned parcel). He did this but the money didn’t turn up. After ringing them 3 times about this and getting nowhere he gave up, had his Play.com account deleted (you can’t do this via the website) and never shopped there again. He told them he was going to do this on the third phone call but nobody seemed to care – they happily cancelled his account.
Why does this matter?
I know these aren’t one-off’s – a couple of years ago the website Bitter Wallet stated that Play.com missed out on a place in their Worst Company in Britain contest by a single vote
Even if my issue this time is a one-off it doesn’t matter – they’ve had multiple opportunities to resolve this to my satisfaction (which is hardly set to a high bar – send me my product!) and have failed at every opportunity. That’s not a mistake, it’s blind incompetence – they have treated a good customer so poorly and there really was no need for it. After waiting 2 weeks, I am now forced to order the product elsewhere and wait longer to finally get it.
What’s failing from Play.com here is 2 fold..
- No one is realising that they are repeating the same message. If they did they’d realise something was wrong. Repeating the same, incorrect message leads to an unhappy customer.
- They appear to have no way to escalate an issue – all they can is repeat instructions from the website. If it deviates from this, they’re stuck.
I contacted Play’s PR company informing them of this post and giving them an opportunity to respond. I have yet to receive a response from them.