A Warning About Amazon Marketplace

My new laptop arrives this week, and blogging will be disrupted while I configure it for my purposes. In the meantime, a short cautionary tale.

I had originally bought a new laptop over a year ago from Amazon Marketplace. It arrived, and I used it for a month or two before a fault developed in the screen. I returned it to the vendor… and never saw it again. Amazon wouldn’t give us any details of the vendor, and told us to contact them via the email contact forms. We sent these to the vendor every week. Eventually it became apparent he didn’t even have it anymore.

In the UK, when you purchase with a credit card you have additional consumer rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Agreement 1974 that means when you can’t resolve a problem with the vendor, you can claim from the credit card who are ‘jointly and severally liable’. So we claimed via Barclaycard. They paid us some titbits (without ever admitting liability) but ultimately we had to take it to the Financial Services Ombudsman for resolution. The Ombudsman ruled against us last week: buying from Amazon Marketplace did not constitute a creditor-debtor arrangement with the vendor, so our consumer rights were null and void.

Surprised that everything could go so wrong with a purchase from a big name company like Amazon and a big name credit card like Barclaycard, I mentioned it to a contact at the BBC who passed it on to Radio 4’s consumer affairs show You and Yours. They ran my story on Friday. Amazon then ‘generously’ decided to pay us the cost of the laptop. So we did eventually get our money back… but only as PR damage control. I advise everyone to be cautious about big purchases on Amazon Marketplace, as Amazon do not take full responsibility for these transactions, and in the UK they disrupt your consumer rights. As ever, caveat emptor.


If you’re on RSS and just saw that post about player rights, my apologies – that is supposed to run tomorrow morning. You may have got a sneak peak…

I'm Getting the Band Back Together

Dear Players of Only a Game,

I want you back – even if it’s just for one comment! So starting in a few week’s time, I’m going to have a mini-campaign that attempts to reach out to old regulars of this blog and see how many we can get back for salutations and felicitations.

I’m still thrashing out the details, but expect more on this shortly!

Family Level Up: New Baby!


Very proud to announce the arrival of the latest member to my family, 7 lbs 11 oz, name pending. He arrived on 30th April after another shockingly fast labour.

The following day was surreal: I slept the night on the floor of the hospital room, then almost immediately my wife, baby, and I were cast in a promotional film for the hospital and spent the morning doing takes for that. Then we were hanging around forever to be discharged – which eventually happened at 4:30 pm, an hour before I was due to speak in Edinburgh!

Surviving the Manchester rush hour somehow, I arrived at my robot with 15 minutes to spare, enough time for the weblink technical check. The talk, for the Sandbox/Fair events at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, seemed very well received, and was built around a letter I’d written the day before about the value of art, and how this connects to games-as-art. I will share the letter here shortly as part of the Republic of Bloggers.

Much more to come this Summer, and apologies to anyone having difficulties posting comments at the moment. Hoping TypePad have been able to fix this… Hope to hear from you all in the corners of the internet soon!

Clearing the Doctorate

Just a quick note to say that I appear to have hurdled the final step of the bureaucracy required to complete my Doctorate… thus unlocking additional bureaucracy pertaining to storing my doctorate in the library system. It would be nice to feel some sense of achievement or triumph at becoming the first person to have a doctorate in the aesthetics of play but it is more akin to that frustrating boss that you finally take down hours after it ceased to be fun…

Is This Thing On…?

Back from my media blackout, but not quite ready for blogging at ‘full steam’. I have some drafts of some interesting things for December, though, which hopefully will get finished soon, and I’m planning something new and experimental for the Gregorian New Year so watch this space!

Chaos Upgrade


Apparently, there was an insufficient degree of carnage in my life, so we’ve arranged to escalate the nonsense by an order of magnitude. The level up will be complete around 21st April next year. Our most sincere wish is that this one is a good sleeper!