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Play.com to halt retail sales, will become eBay-style trading site following tax loophole closure

Wednesday, 9th January 2013 12:02 GMT By Dave Cook

Play.com will cease retail trading following the closure of a Jersey tax loophole that has seen the site axe many jobs across all territories, and will instead moved into the trading territory currently dominated by eBay.

MCV reports that the site, which sold a wide offering of game content, will cease retail trading in March 2013, and will relaunch as a trading site. It will operate on a similar basis as eBay and Amazon – in which the site lets members sell their own items or trade independently – while it takes a cut of the profits.

The MCV report adds that December 2011 saw the Government close a tax loophole in Jersey, which allowed retail sites like Play.com to skirt around VAT payments on any goods sold at £15 or less. The change in policy led the site to axe 147 jobs at its Jersey base, and 67 across its Bristol and Cambridge offices.

Finally, the report notes that since Play.com was sold to Japanese company Rakuten for just £25m in September 2011, it has suffered dipping financial returns ever since.

What’s your take on the site’s change of tact? Let us know below.

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21 Comments

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  1. friendlydave

    I thought Play done this anyway aswell as sells there own stock, like Amazon currently?

    Either way never really used the site to much, I think I bought an Andrews Sisters album from there a few years back.

    *Edit, Shame on the loss of jobs though.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Razor

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @1 yeah it’s a shame for the employees, but I stopped using them ages ago. The delivery may be free on everything but it was often slow and we had issues with things not showing at all.

    As Mark from Peep Show once said, Amazon are ‘so damn efficient.’

    #3 2 years ago
  4. GoingPostal13

    Used to order loads from them when they were able to send stuff out to you on time. Then the customer service went to pot, things not arriving, replacements taking over a month and countless emails before they’d be processed.

    Can’t really see them lasting much longer with this move.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. MrXBob

    If they can cut their fees down below what eBay charge, they could do quite well (eBay charges are insane, on top of Paypal ones you may as well go to a car boot to sell something)

    But it’s a shame to see them go this way.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Gareth Harmer

    A similar experience happened to me. They used to be fantastic, but then things started going downhill.

    @3 While Amazon are great, the delivery firms they use are often sub-par. There’s nothing worse than having your £60 collectors edition sent to you via Yodel…

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    Um. Wow.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. tenthousandgothsonacid

    I always liked Play, normally cheaper than Amazon and never took any longer to turn up than amazon free post which took longer if anything. Shame :(

    #8 2 years ago
  9. NeoSquall

    I don’t like this at all.
    I’m still mad at them because they wouldn’t reimburse a Zboard purchase because I paid it in pounds a week before they enforced the switch to euros for EU customers…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. KrazyKraut

    mh i like play.com. extremely cheap items to Germany. But whats about Zavvi/The Hut? They have the same problems…

    #10 2 years ago
  11. pleasant_cabbage

    Meh. Play exploiting the tax loophole and artifically lowering prices led to other companies (not availing of loopy fun) to go under so… erm… yeah and their free post is generally shit.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. freedoms_stain

    I lost interest in play a long time ago. Lighter range of products, messy site and I found them rarely to have the best price for anything.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. The_Red

    Does this mean that they have been exploiting a loop hole for all this time and now are quitting because can’t abuse the system anymore?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. viralshag

    @13, Certainly looks that way…

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Dave Cook

    @13 pretty much yeah.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. mistermogul

    Stopped using them ever since I discovered shopto.net

    #16 2 years ago
  17. SplatteredHouse

    @12 They’re pretty much my reasons for stopping using them too. A sad story is the decline of this place, for they used to be much better.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. friendlydave

    @16 Great service, Everything I’ve ordered from that site has arrived the next day.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. orakaa

    Wow… shocking to me… I’ve been using their services for years now.
    Made some REALLY good deals on their website, and even if shipping was horribly slow, it was okay.

    Sure lately I mostly used Amazon, but I am still buying on play.com, comparing before buying. I think having different actors on the market is healthy. If we go towards a situation of monopole, it won’t be good because of price increase.

    I already heard about shopto.net. Do they ship to France by any chance?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Old MacDonald

    I’ve bought literally hundreds of games from them, as well as a lot of books, movies and cds. But since Rakuten took over, everything went downhill and I haven’t ordered anything from them in almost a year.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. sg1974

    Now you know what it feels like Play. How many traders did you destroy while you made huge tax-free profits year on year? Good riddance.

    But I’m sorry people are losing jobs.

    Pro-tip: don’t – as far too many people do – assume sites like Play and Amazon always have the best prices. I bought a toy and some AV hardware last month. Both were cheaper at the manufacturer sites than they were at the aforementioned traders – one by 15%. And no, they weren’t on sale.

    #21 2 years ago