and the magic, disappearing complaint form

As 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 would have received had it not been for their magic, self-clearing complaint form.

That’s right, if you’ve tried to email 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!

Data completely vanished from complaints form

Is this a mistake? Is it something you have done wrong? No, 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 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.


So you see, not only is struggling to meet the demands of orders this Christmas, not only is 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

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 “ and the magic, disappearing complaint form”

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