Sony PlayStation 5 delivery delays spark row over who is to blame

By Jane Wakefield
Technology reporter

Image source, @AussieHarj/Twitter/PA Wire
Image caption,
Customers queue outside Game in Westfield in Stratford, east London

Many customers hoping to get hold of a PlayStation 5 on its launch day have been left disappointed after online retailers sold out of the console.

In an email to customers, Game blamed courier firm Yodel, which has strenuously denied it is at fault, for some pre-ordered consoles not being delivered on launch day.

Currys PC World and John Lewis had sold out of the PS5 by lunchtime.

That led some gamers to pay nearly double the retail price on eBay.

The PS5 was released in the UK on 19 November but lockdown has meant that people cannot purchase one in physical stores. The US launch took place last week.

Currys PC World was forced to institute a virtual queuing system which grew to 150,000 long.

Image source, John Lewis
Image caption,
John Lewis was among retailers that have struggled with demand

There were also issues with the PlayStation 5 order pages on Game, Amazon, Tesco and John Lewis's websites, which failed to load or appeared broken for many visitors.

Matt, 29 from Essex, who tried to order a PS5 online but could not get one, said he was "very disappointed" with how the launch had been handled.

He said: "There's clearly not been sufficient stock made available by Sony, and the suppliers haven't managed sales well either, none of my stock alerts worked, and I visited websites when I could only to find the consoles hadn't been listed yet or were already sold out.

"To make matters worse some consoles are now cropping up on second hand sales sites at double the price due to the severe lack of supply, and it's worrying that some people may buy them when they should have been able to get one at launch day."

Currys PC World said it had sold 12,000 PS5s but was sorry for those unable to get their hands on one, although it assured customers there would be "other chances in the lead up to Christmas".

John Lewis tweeted that consoles had sold out at 10:00 GMT.

Those hoping to receive their consoles today are from pre-orders that took place in September. Many people who were not allocated a pre-order tried to buy a console when launch day stock went on sale at 09:00.

Size matters

Some people pre-ordering from one of the largest retailers, Game, faced disappointment if they were expecting to unbox their goods on launch day.

In an email to customers, Game said: "Due to the volume of PlayStation 5s in the UK market and the size of the product, the launch has led to UK-wide delivery challenges for all retailers and couriers."

It goes on to say that it has had to use "multiple couriers" to get the consoles delivered on time but then singled out Yodel, saying the firm has "informed us that not all orders due to be delivered by them will be delivered on release day".

Image source, Game
Image caption,
Game customers received this message, which blamed Yodel for late deliveries

Yodel issued a furious clarification about its role. "Yodel does not work directly with Game. Our client is GFS, a fulfilment business who work in partnership with Game," it said in a statement.

"We have been consistently clear on the order volumes we are able to carry for them and it is deeply disappointing that Yodel's name has been incorrectly used in an email to customers on the status of orders."

It said there were "currently no delays within our network".

Media caption,
WATCH: Hands-on with the PS5

Game has since clarified that the "vast majority" of deliveries would be made on time, with the remainder coming a day later.

Consumers should take note that if they try and call GFS directly and use the telephone number listed at the top of its website, they face up to about a £4 charge for a five minute call, despite the fact the firm's home page does not mention a fee.

Launch day woes

Nevertheless, the delays have led to customers venting frustration on Twitter - much of it targeted at Yodel.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Some of those who had pre-ordered from Game asked why they had paid an extra fee to have a Royal Mail delivery that has now been given to another courier firm.

Others reported delays with orders from Amazon and other retailers.

Some gamers went to online auction site eBay, with many paying double the recommended retail price.

The vast majority of listings were sold between £700 and £800, despite the disc edition costing £449.99 and the digital edition at £349.99 - however, some bids pushed beyond the £1,000 mark.

He added he had resigned himself to having to wait until after Christmas.

Piers Harding-Rolls, a gaming analyst with research firm Ampere said demand for both the PS5 and the new Xbox consoles had been very strong and would probably "come in waves as the product is restocked".

"Clearly it is disappointing for consumers that have pre-ordered not to receive their console on launch day. The situation is exacerbated as there is no opportunity to buy on launch day at physical retail as in the past.

"Whether you are impacted or not appears to come down to the retailer you pre-ordered with which indicates that this is a company-specific issue rather than a broader industry problem. The UK is not alone in this respect - some US retailers also had their challenges last week during the launches."

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