Play.com and the magic, disappearing complaint form

As Play.com admitted recently, they’ve been getting an awful lot of email complaints about orders not turning up and they haven’t even bothered to reply to most of them. But, one wonders just how many more complaints Play.com would have received had it not been for their magic, self-clearing complaint form.

That’s right, if you’ve tried to email Play.com from their website using their contact form, you’ve probably noticed, and raged, about how the form seems to clear itself of any data you enter. You can spend ages writing out a complaint letter, check the order number on your email confirmation, go back to the complaint form and poof – the email disappears. Just like that!

Play-contact-page
Data completely vanished from Play.com complaints form

Is this a mistake? Is it something you have done wrong? No, Play.com has coded the form to clear itself whenever you change the focus of the form fields.

I’ll explain. Focus means that you have selected one of the fields of the form to write data into, such as your email address in the email field, your order number in the subject field and your long complaint letter in the message field. As Play.com has default text in those fields, they have set the fields to ‘clear’ whenever you select them (OnFocus), but the trouble is that they also clear when you click on them after writing your email. This means that your email is lost, instantly, all courtesy of their form.

Here is the code used on their form, so you can see exactly what I mean. ‘OnFocus’ means to do the action when you select the form field, or click on it with your cursor, and ‘javascript:clearText’… well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

Play-Clears-Text-on-Emails

So you see, not only is Play.com struggling to meet the demands of orders this Christmas, not only is Play.com even refusing to reply to emails asking about orders, but the website is doing its darndest it ensure that complaints aren’t even making it through in the first place.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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3 thoughts on “Play.com and the magic, disappearing complaint form”

  1. Ok This worked for me.
    The way around the dissapearing text on the complaint form is to
    right click and then click on undo, this will make your message reapear again.

  2. I too am a victim of Play.com Customer Service failure (so much so that I’m barred from their site despite the failure being entirely theirs)
    Another way of getting round the “disappearing” text is to compose the message in Notepad, then copy/paste the text into the form – works a treat. If you inadvertently “clear” the text, repeat the paste.
    Works for other sites too – the only limitation is when the form text is limited to “x” characters and the notepad text exceeds “x” …

  3. “You will accept the wrong item wether you want it or not”

    I have used play.com several times over the last few years and apart from slow delivery i have had no problems. This time however they have turned a simple transaction into a nightmare. I viewed and ordered a standard version of a gaming mouse. when I received dispatch notice they were sending me a left handed version. I logged on to their site and my order history showed a left hand version also. I then checked my browser history and my computer was never on the left hand page there was a link for the standard version only. I followed their returns link and there was no option to discuss this apart from comment section on the wrong item ordered. 75 characters only so kept comment simple “i need a number to discuss this” I later found a number on site and called. Everything I said was totally ignored. I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I would pay return costs. I asked for the standard version to be sent out once they had received the return only to be told that i would have to wait until return and refund had been completed, then start fresh order. I ordered elsewhere due to the delay involved. When the returned item arrived they then sent me an E-mail stating replacement was going to be dispatched within 24 hours. I called them to say I no longer required item and seeing as they said this wouldnt be happening why has it. Their response after an hour on phone was tough oh and by the way you’re getting the left handed version again and you will have to pay yet again to return this (£7 with tracking. thats £14 so far for an item I didnt order!) No they couldnt possibly stop this wrong item being dispatched. Their system doesnt allow it. It didnt get dispatched until the following day . I have bought products online for over 10 years now and I have never come across such utterly poor customer service. I have a strong suspicion that I am never going to get my refund of them. Do not touch with a barge pole it really is a lottery but if you do get a problem forget any chance of reasoning with this compan

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