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Are you ready to Play?
Member Name: sandemp
Date: 09/01/05, updated on 25/08/11 (298 review reads)
Advantages: Good range of CDs, DVDs, Games,etc.
Disadvantages: Too easy to spend too much
I know I have, and I get great pleasure from buying 99% of my DVDs from on-line stores, and from one shop in particular, that is Play.com.
Play was recommended to me by my Dad, and that's as good a reason as any other for a first visit. What impressed me, however, were the prices, on average DVDs are at least £2 cheaper than on the high street and sometimes us much as half the price, plus everything that you order is delivered free.
Play.com is based in Jersey, which means it does not have to pay VAT on items they sell. They can therefore pass the savings on to you, the consumer.
The rules for this have changed slightly, with many Jersey/Guernsey based companies now charging VAT on items over £18, however I've ordered from Play upto the value of £30 and not been charged. But be aware, that customs do have the right to charge you VAT on some items.
The website is well designed, and works equally well using Internet Explorer and Netscape. The home page features links to all the various products they sell and special offers that are running as well as a very good search bar and links to your account, basket, checkout and their international site, which sells region one DVDs.
What Do They Sell
Play have recently extended their range, and are now starting to compete against Amazon in the diversity of goods offered. There is a huge range of DVDs, along with a music section, which includes Music CDs, Super Audio CDs, DVD Audio and Music DVDs. Next, there are a selection of games and hardware for the following video game platforms : PC, Playstation 2, GBA, Gamecube, X Box and NGage, along with a category just waiting for the Sony PSP to be released. We then have three recent additions to the shop, Books, electronics and gadgets. Finally they offer a range of ringtones in both polyphonic and standard along with wallpapers for your mobile at a very reasonable 99p each. Did I say they were starting to compete with Amazon, personally I think they've very nearly caught them up.
Play offers competitive prices on all of their products, and I've found if they're not the cheapest, they are very nearly, especially when you consider that post and packing is free. And during the sale, these prices go down even lower, and are on occasion over half the price that you will find on the high street.
Making Your First Purchase
This couldn't be simpler (well it could, but then you'd need to be in a high street store). I'll now guide you through your first purchase.
There are two ways to find the item you want to purchase, firstly you can browse through the different categories until you find something that takes your fancy, or you could search for the item you want using the very efficient search bar. If you are just looking for something by your favourite artist or featuring your favourite actor, you can even enter this as your search term.
After the results summary is displayed, you can then either click the buy button and immediately add it to your basket, or click on the item picture and get a little more information on the product before clicking buy. Either way, the item will be added to your basket on the left hand side of your screen. Now the nice thing about Play is, that because you don't have any post and packing to pay, you can immediately go and pay for this first item, in the knowledge that you won't be hit by double postage if you decide there's something else you'd like to buy after you've paid for this.
So next, we click on the checkout button, when existing customers will be given the chance to log in, as a new customer you will need to create an account. This is a simple enough affair, which involves entering your e-mail address and choosing a password, followed by entering such personal details as your name, address and credit card details (they accept Delta, Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro (Switch)), this is all carried out on a secure site, as indicated by the closed padlock in the information at the bottom of your explorer window and the fact that the web address now begins with https. As soon as you've created your account, you will be able to confirm your order.
After having set up your account, it is even easier to complete your purchases, maybe even too easy. All your credit card details are stored on Play's server, and you simply need to log in and confirm your order. But remember, you will on occasion, need to update your details, for example, I forgot my credit card expired at the end of the year and subsequently had an order refused.
Immediately after you complete your purchase you will receive a confirmation e-mail and you will be able to track your order on-line through the my account function. You will be able to watch each item going through the various stages before it is finally posted. If an item is out of stock when you order, it will still show up in your outstanding orders and its status will change when it is in stock.
As you are not charged for any item until its posted, if it doesn't arrive in stock then you're never charged. Once each item is sent you will receive another e-mail informing you of that fact and you just need to wait for that satisfying plop on your doormat, which takes approximately 5 days.
A little warning here, each item is delivered separately, so if like me you've ordered twenty DVDs at a time, you are not going to be popular with your postman.
I have only had two occasions where I needed to contact customer service ( this is with well over 100 DVDs and games purchased). On both occasions DVDs did not arrive, and I contacted them through their internal e-mail system. I received a prompt reply, and one DVD was re-sent and the other refunded. So I am 100% happy with the level of service.
While You're There
While you're visiting the Play website, you may as well enter one of their regular competitions. Although I've never won anything, I've entered competitions with prizes ranging from plasma screens to holidays, usually themed around a new release.
Play is an excellent website, that I use mainly for purchasing DVDs and the occasional video game. I find the prices are extremely reasonable, and often considerably less that the high street. The site is very easy to use, maybe for me too easy, as I find myself buying much more than I intended. I have also used Play, to purchase DVDs I have not been able to find in the shops, at a price that well to be frank amazes me. And to cap it off, I don't have to deal with rude, incompetant staff or being elbowed out of the way.
So if you want to buy CDs and DVDs at much more reasonable prices from the comfort of your own home Play is definitely worth a look.
Summary: Still going strong