Play.com and their ridiculous returns policy
To avoid the rush on the high street, I decided to do much of my Christmas shopping online last month. Aside from being convenient, the prices online were often a lot cheaper than what the high street could offer anyway. It was a no-brainer.
All of the websites that I used kept to their pre-Christmas delivery promises – even when ordering in the last minutes of the last shopping day. And whilst all were very efficient in processing my sale and dispatching my items, the same cannot be said for the returns procedure of one particular online retailer – Play.com.
For my sister, I bought an Archos tablet PC, which we later decided would probably see little use. This iPad-like computer had lots of functions, but she had a netbook, a digital camera and an iPhone, so we decided to return it, get the money, and shop for something else.
Logging into my account on Play.com, the returns process was surprisingly simple. It was just a case of selecting the item from a history of purchases, providing a reason for return and then waiting for a returns authorisation, which would arrive “within 1 working day”. Where a customer simply changes their mind about a purchase, the returns postage is not covered by Play.com, which I think is fair enough. Only where the item is not as described or where there is a fault will the company reimburse you.
After making the returns request on 29 December, I checked my email on the following day – but nothing. Play.com had not contacted me within the 1 working day. I assumed that delays would be inevitable following the busiest time of the year for all retailers, so I decided to give them a couple of days more to contact me.
Two weeks later and still without the all-important returns authorisation, I decided to make contact using the company’s premium rate 0845 number (Incidentally, if you do you ever have the need to contact the company, instead use the cheaper geographic number – 0207 760 3349). After much holding, I was transferred to an offshore call centre, where the worker claimed to “understand” my frustrations and was “sorry” for the inconvenience, albeit in very broken English. No explanation was given for the delay and arrangements were made for the computer to be collected by a courier chosen by the company. The cost of the return (£9.95) was to be deducted from the refund amount.
The package was collected by DPD UK and delivered to Play.com within 24 hours and signed for on the morning of 13 January by a chap known only as Alan.
Another two weeks on and I am still without my refund, still without any contact from the company and still quite frustrated at this tedious process. Another telephone call proves to be a waste of time. I am told that my return has not been received at the warehouse and that nothing can be done until it has been. Despite me insisting that the call centre worker speak with the courier to confirm it had been delivered, she wouldn’t. Instead, she offered to put a trace on the package and to ask that somebody contact me with an update within 24-48 hours. That was 24 hours ago.
So far, the process has taken 28 days, and I am still no closer to getting a refund from the company. Clueless offshore staff prove to be a waste of time, trying to get hold of somebody in the UK who properly understands my frustrations is impossible and the promised “we’ll respond to your email within 1 working day” isn’t exactly guaranteed.
Don’t waste your time or your money with this shoddy company.