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Play.com to shut down direct retail business

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Online retailer Play.com is to close its direct retail business and operate solely as a marketplace from March.


Play.com is to shut down the direct sales section of its online shop from March 2013.

The company based in Jersey blamed the move on the end of Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) in April 2012.

LVCR was a tax loophole that allowed Channel Island and other EU-based companies to export low value goods worth under £15 to the UK without paying VAT.

The online retailer will be making 147 finance and warehouse staff redundant in Jersey and 67 other workers will go from its Cambridge and Bristol offices.

The marketplace

Play.com said in a statement that the company intends to focus on its successful marketplace and to phase out the direct retail side of the business.

On PlayTrade, the marketplace on Play.com, shoppers can already choose from 20 million new and used listings available from multiple sellers.

Play.com charges 10% plus a 50p per sale fee to PlayTrade sellers or 10% plus a £19.99 a month fee to high volume Pro Traders on the marketplace.

Shopper’s rights

Play.com told us there will be no changes to its current return and refund policy for direct sales in the lead up to the March deadline. 

When you order using the marketplace any returns or refunds need to be directed to the individual seller, but if a dispute is not resolved within three days Play.com will take over the case.

Alternatives

If you don’t fancy being forced to shop in the marketplace on Play.com, here are some other online options for when you’re searching for cheap DVDs, CDS and books.

Amazon has a Guernsey-based distribution centre, but has yet to show any signs of suffering from LCVR. You can shop direct with Amazon or use its huge marketplace of sellers.

Tesco Direct/Asda Direct /Sainsbury’s Entertainment - the online shops for these three supermarkets offer great deals on entertainment often undercutting high street rivals by a significant amount.

Find a DVD / Find a Book compare the prices of the major retailers to make sure you find the best price on a DVD or book every time.

What do you think of this move by Play.com? Are you now more or less likely to use the site?

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