After the UT2004 fiasco with Play.com I swore never to use them again for timely releases or pre-orders; have used Amazon.co.uk since who have been excellent and even delivered things like Star Wars Trilogy DVDs on morning of release even though I've opted for their free shipping.
On 2-Jun-03 I relented and pre-ordered Half-Life 2 from Play.com for a fixed price of £26.99; thought I'd give them another chance.
How did they do with that second chance?
In the time leading up to 16 November 2004 release date I've contacted Play.com who assured me that it would go out as soon as they received it from their suppliers.
Imagine my delight on Saturday 13 November when they billed my debit card and their system reported Status as "Posted on 13/11/04"; however, I was now unable to cancel the pre-order.
My delight turned to suspicion when no confirmation email turned up until Monday afternoon, this said "Posted on 15/11/04" and "may take 3-5 days"; even though they'd charged me on Saturday 13th.
Annoyance really set in when nothing arrived today 16 November, and when checking Status page it says "Posted on 15/11/2004" but an addition this afternoon is a Recorded Delivery tracking number.
If it was posted on 15th via Recorded Delivery, wouldn't it be here on 16th? Oh, and the link for tracking number goes to an erroneous page too.
But that's semantics, bottom line is that Play.com have not delivered Half-Life 2 to me on day of release despite their reassurances and billed my card days ago and I have no visibility of when I will receive it.
They've changed "posted" dates on their system, futhermore, if they did post it yesterday was that the day they received stock or did they misrepresent "as soon as we receive from suppliers"; you can not believe a word they say.
I will never, ever, pre-order a title from Play.com again, and would suggest that no-one else does either because the service is terrible.