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Have you been let down by Currys PC World?

We received more than 1,700 complaints about Currys PC World through our faulty goods tool this year. Have you experienced problems with your order?

Alison, an NHS key worker, is one of many Currys customers who has been left with a faulty machine during the pandemic. When her washing machine began to leak, she told us:

“The hall and kitchen were flooded. The dryer cuts out every time you put it on too, it doesn’t do a full cycle, it’s not fit-for-purpose at all.

I work for the NHS, so I have to wash my uniform every night because of coronavirus. I’ve also been washing my stuff in the sink, but I can’t do that in the winter, it will be mouldy before it dries”

Currys PC World instructed Alison to get in touch with the manufacturer to organise an engineer visit to confirm the appliance was faulty.

Guide: Consumer Rights Act 2015

Despite numerous engineer visits and attempts to repair the leak, Alison continued to experience faults with the machine, and only used the machine on a low cycle for fear of it leaking again.

“I can’t leave the washing machine. It’s put me under so much stress, having to stand in the kitchen and watch it. I’m cross that people can treat me in such a cavalier way. All I want is my washing machine so I can get on with my life”

We got in touch with Currys and it arranged to remove and exchange Alison’s faulty machine for a more expensive model. It said:

“We are very sorry to hear about our customer’s ongoing experience with her appliance and for the manufacturer’s delay in confirming the fault, a necessary part of the process that allows us to exchange a faulty machine”

A litany of Currys complaints

Unfortunately Alison isn’t alone in her poor experience with Currys.

Scores of other customers have complained about faulty goods, missing deliveries and poor customer service since the beginning of lockdown.

We received more than 1,700 complaints about Currys PC World through our faulty goods tool between January and October this year.

One in 10 faulty goods complaints sent to us between these dates was about Currys, compared with one in 20 in the previous 10 months.

And prior to this, we heard from a string of customers who have been ripped off by Currys’ Knowhow set-up service.

‘Unprecedented demands for products’

Currys told us:

We are truly sorry to customers who haven’t received the standard of customer service we expect of ourselves. While we are fulfilling the vast majority of our services successfully, we appreciate that one complaint is one too many”

It says it’s experienced unprecedented demand for products during the pandemic and has had to adopt new ways of working since the first national lockdown, such as new training, launching a new webchat function and upgrading its systems to ensure refunds and returns are processed as quickly as possible.

If you’ve experienced poor service from Currys, we want to hear from you in the comments below.

Whether it’s with a faulty product, a delayed delivery, or poor customer service – let us know what happened.

Which is more important to you: a good deal on a product, or good aftersales customer service?
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Update 08/06/2021

Comments
Chris M says:
23 March 2022

Hi Hannah – I bought a washing machine and tumble dryer from a Currys store a few weeks ago. They weren’t in stock so organised delivery with the Currys employee, and when they offered installation I said yes (even though for the dryer, it’s just plugging it in!)

Turns out I was misinformed by that staff member (albeit I am sure completely accidentally) that the two products work on the same app, when in fact they are different apps – the feature I was looking for most (I selected the dryer to match the washing machine), and wasn’t told that getting installation would affect my rights to return either product.

The Dryer is unused and Currys are refusing to accept return of it because it’s not in the packaging, despite the fact they did not offer me the packaging on delivery or tell me that this service (which you pay extra for!) reduces your rights.

Upon visiting the store in question, after a 20 minute wait with no one offering to speak to me at the counter, I was told ‘it wasn’t a good enough reason, because it has an app’. They ignored the points above.

They provide no customer services email and webchat and twitter say they deal with online only.

I’m shocked to get a worse experience from a store than online, I expected uniformity.

Can you help?

Thanks!

Chris

Interesting experience and a lesson for us all!

I’m not the best person to advise about your in-store purchasing rights, as I now invaribly buy large appliances online after carrying out my own research. Sometimes I will even visit the store, inspect the model and possibly speak to an assistant for any additional information needed, but I always complete the transaction online for a high value item.

I do this because my rights over returns when shopping online are clear-cut, in accordance with the UK Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

Read up on what are called off-premises contracts, which generally include the right to cancel for any reason up to 14 days after delivery. In fact, you don’t have to provide a reason at all. Even “buyer’s remorse” is covered, if you happen to check up on Trustpilot and find a load of 1-star reviews, or just decide you have made a rash or unaffordable purchase. Not so with a face-to-face or telephone sales.

Section 3 includes a model contract, which must be provided to the consumer by law. The main exception to this rule would be for a non stock item made to order to the customer’s own requirements.

In terms of an in store (on-premises) purchase, you would need to show that you requested advice from an assistant, you made any specific requirements known (ability to drive an EV from John-O-Grotes to Lands End on a single charge or, in your case, appliances controllable via a single App) and that the item you were advised to purchase does not meet those stated requirements. In other words, it is “not fit for purpose”.

Hi Chris M, your Rights when purchasing in store do differ to those when purchasing online, but nevertheless you have an absolute right to return the goods.

For goods purchased in store, information which is said either orally or in writing is binding where the consumer relies on it. As you were advised the appliances used the same App but later discovered this was not the case, Curry’s are at fault.

But this aside, Curry’s Returns Policy for goods purchased in store state, you have a right to return the goods even if you have just changed your mind. This applies to both small and large items and goods can be returned on the basis that ‘you have changed your mind’ or ‘the item is damaged or incorrect’. Therefore, the staff member who told you that your complaint regarding the App ‘wasn’t a good enough reason’ is in fact incorrect and failing to follow their Return Policy.

With regard to the packaging, if Curry’s insist the goods should be returned in the original packaging, but you were not left with the packaging, then it would be impossible for you to comply with their Returns Policy. This means their Terms are unreasonable and as I see it you do have a right to return the item. If their Returns Policy allows consumers to return goods on the basis they have ‘changed their mind’ or ‘the item is damaged or incorrect’, yet they fail to leave the packaging in your possession, these would be deemed unfair terms, as it would be impossible for a customer to comply with those terms. On that basis you are entitled to return the goods.

I would visit the store again and point out to the Manager your rights, making reference to their Returns Policy. Essentially, in accordance with their Returns Policy they are in no position to refuse the return. The only issue surrounds the packaging, but as you were not left the packaging, their Terms are unreasonable and therefore you should insist they accept the return.

Sound advice.
For an explanation of the customers’ and retailers’ rights and obligations this guide is useful – https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/goods/the-sale-and-supply-of-goods. The early section deals with returning “faulty” (meaning goods that fail to meet the contract terms) goods. In many cases a products will need unpacking and installing before its deficiencies are revealed.
Also:
be fit for a particular purpose. When a consumer indicates that goods are required for a particular purpose, or where it is obvious that goods are intended for a particular purpose and a trader supplies them to meet that requirement, the goods should be fit for that specified purpose” may deal with the requirement that one app should operate both machines.

Joe says:
26 March 2022

Hello just thought I would add my experience here also, I bought a Samsung pc monitor from curry’s. I received it however I’d developed a fault within 10 days of owning it. I returned it for an exchange , it was picked up and delivered to curry’s where it sat for 14days (the total time the exchange should have taken) untouched.
I contacted curry’s throughout asking for updates and was just fobbed off. After 16 days curry’s said they had lost it and now had to investigate and would not send a replacement until such investigation is complete and this takes a minimum of 14-30 days. I have contacted close to 20 advisors in curry’s and have never had such a awful experience in customer service one person even pretend to not be there and just went quiet (could hear the background noise still) for 30 minutes before I hung up. So I’m still without a screen.

David Hannay says:
28 March 2022

Hi Joe
Do what I did put them in the small claims court it’s the only time you ever get any sense from curry’s once it gets to their legal team
Dave H

Joe, I would support the suggestion by David Hannay to take Currys to the small claims Court. The contempt they are showing towards customers is just awful and consumers should not have to tolerate this conduct. As I see it, Currys are able to treat customers this way because they are not being held accountable and sometimes a more robust approach is needed to achieve the required outcome.

I accept that most customers do not want the hassle and aggravation of having to file a Court claim and many may feel out of their depth in filing a claim, but the small claims filing process is designed for circumstances such as this and is actually quite straightforward. Claims are filed online for which there is a fee (the amount of the fee depends on the value of the claim) and assuming the Court awards in your favour, Currys would become responsible for reimbursing fees as part of the claim.

Before filing a claim you should advise Currys in writing you intend to take legal action unless the matter is resolved to your satisfaction. Typically, a Notice before Action would be sent to the companies Head Office by registered letter, but this is not an essential requirement. You can issue a Notice before Action electronically, but as Currys do not provide an email address on their website you would need to use one of their contact forms. Advise Currys that unless the matter is resolved in 7 days, you intend to take Legal Action to resolve the matter. Ensure you provide your address and contact number and hopefully this might prompt Currys to get in touch. If they fail to respond within 7 days, you can then file a Court Claim.

Hopefully, a Notice before Action will prompt Currys to act and avoid the need to file a Court claim. Don’t forget, Currys are at fault, so stand firm and don’t feel intimidated – the law is on your side.

Here is advice from Which? about using the small claims court and a template for a letter to send before commencing action: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/legal

I hope we can see some more people like David reporting the outcome of legal action.

Thanks for the link Wavechange which should prove useful to Joe and anyone else should they decide to file a claim.

Personally, I find the Notice before Action template a little too accommodating and would be inclined to take a firmer approach, but I suppose it can be amended to suit the circumstances. The important thing is it gives a good starting point for anyone considering filing a claim.

I agree with you, Wingman. Of course we can adapt this and other Which? template letter to best suit the case. Which? Legal can offer inexpensive advice and having never used the small claims court I would be tempted to use this service, which. You don’t need to be a Which? subscriber.

The pages of Which? Conversation have too much talking and not enough action. A great deal of useful advice has been exchanged but I wonder how much of it is used.

”Why won’t Currys honour our warranty?’
This seems the wishy washy way Which? approach this issue.
” How frustrating to have to wait a month for your washing machine to be repaired. After paying for an extended warranty, you’d expect any problem with your product to be ironed out as swiftly as possible.
You’re right to expect a retailer or warranty provider to act in line with the terms set out in its warranty agreement.
If you find, again, Currys doesn’t act swiftly enough, you can consider claiming the cost of getting a third party to carry out the work instead. You’ll need to give the retailer every chance to carry out the work itself first though.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2022/03/why-wont-currys-pc-world-honour-our-warranty/ – Which?

After all the reports of customers being badly treated by Currys, often seemingly contrary to the law, you might think it was time to be rather more robust and help an aggrieved consumer take legal action against them for breaking consumer law?

Maybe some organisations are just too powerful for consumers, or their own organisations, to confront?

I share that sentiment Wavechange. The Which? conversations are an excellent platform to express opinions and share views, but I would like to see greater emphasis from Which? on guiding consumers towards what steps they should take to resolve their problem.

Like you, I suspect many who have posted their frustration or anger will have simply waited in the hope Currys would eventually resolve the situation or failing that, take the loss, put it down to a bad experience and avoid buying from Currys again. But it does not sit comfortably with me when a retailer is allowed treat consumers this way and is not held accountable.

I completely agree with the points you raised malcolmr and I firmly believe that retailers quite simply don’t expect to be taken to Court by customers. In my experience and especially those with a significant market share have an arrogant attitude towards customers.

However, I am of the opinion that ‘no’ organisation is too large or powerful for consumers to challenge as ultimately this is about breaches of legislation and acting unlawfully and under those circumstances consumers have the full weight of the law on their side and should not feel overwhelmed or intimidated about challenging large organisations.

Thanks, Wingman.
I was not suggesting that individuals could not, or should not, hold big organisations to account. The Consumer Rights Act and the small claims court is not too daunting a process if people are aware of this route. Many are not.

My comment was a rather backhanded one in that:
”Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. ………..We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account…….
seems very lacking when it comes to stamping on, what seem to be, many of Currys reported practices that are contrary to the law. Why?

Malcolm r, it was not taken in the context that consumers should not take action, I understood your point.

Given Which? issued a legal warning to Curry’s in 2019 regarding their practices which could breach UK and EU consumer law and Curry’s pledging to clean up its act, I see no evidence of improvement.

This combined with fines of £400,000 in 2018 and £500,000 in 2020 suggests that either something needs to change at the top or the Authorities should be taking greater enforcement action to encourage change.

I think these fines were for data breaches, rather than dealing illegally with customers who had problems with purchases?

Yes, they were, but also preventable. I was simply demonstrating that as a company they have come to the attention of the ICO, Trading Standards, Which? and others and surely this suggests there is something fundamentally wrong at the top!

I agree. What does it require for Trading Standards to take meaningful action when consumers are illegally treated? Which? could surely help by picking up on the more serious cases presented in Convos and encouraging the consumers involved to pursue their legal claims. If the local TS received enough such complaints quite quickly then surely they would act? Publicising any court judgements would maybe be an encouragement to Currys to change their ways.

Absolutely malcolm r. Part of the problem is many consumers do not file a complaint with Trading Standards and instead continue to tolerate these practices. Consumers are inconvenienced having to make numerous calls as their complaints remain unresolved and no doubt Curry’s may resolve the complaint eventually, but they do so on their terms, which is often in breach of legislation. Other customers just give up, not knowing where to turn and find themselves writing off their losses. It’s totally unacceptable and consumers do not deserve this.

I agree, more consumers need to report to Trading Standards and publishing Court claims would be useful too.

If only consumers could actually contact Trading Standards instead of being sent to a third party. And how do they know which TS deals with Currys? I think it is time Which? worked hard to campaign for a proper local and national Trading Standards set up.

It’s surprising with a little research how many local Trading Standards offices can be contacted directly by telephone.

Many local Councils do have a Trading Standards section on their website and often a telephone number is provided. Consumers can call the local number directly instead of filing a complaint through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline, but the local number (where available) should only be used if the business or organisation being complained about falls within the jurisdiction of the office being called.

Generally, I have found local Trading Standards Offices to be quite helpful (but somewhat surprised to receive a call as they expect to receive complaints via the Citizens Advice Helpline). But in most cases the local Trading Standards offices have been happy to engage and take details of the complaint.

This doesn’t apply to Curry’s who fall under the jurisdiction of National Trading Standards, but for complaints about local traders it’s certainly worthwhile checking the local Councils website for contact details.

Complaints against Curry’s would need to be made via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline who would forward to National Trading Standards.

All my local counties use Citizens Advice. They refer you to the CA website and any telephone number given takes you to CA. The National Trading Standards website tells consumers to contact CA. So I phoned the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards and…… got Citizens Advice. They told me that at present all consumer enquiries are routed through them.

I asked who dealt with companies like Currys; that would be the trading standards office local to their head office if it was a general issue or to the office local to their store if that were appropriate.

Some consider this to be the equivalent of a hospital triage, and saves bothering other, but relevant, people. However, once assessed in A&E you then actually see an expert. The people paid by CA to deal with consumer complaints could be replaced by people paid in councils to filter complaints to their Trading Standards.

The main issue is properly funding a decent local and national TS service that, for example, publicises the results of complaints and is transparent in the way it functions.

Here is a response that I received from National Trading Standards in January 2018 when I made an enquiry about the Primary Authority for Currys:

Thank you for your enquiry. National Trading Standards is a private company set up to fund national and regional issues and as such does not have any appropriately qualified staff to advise or assist you.

The Citizens Advice Consumer Service provides first tier advice for consumers, this is a government funded service and is different from the local Citizens Advice Bureaux. You can contact this service via the helpline on 03454 04 05 06. They will provide you with advice on your rights and pass details of your complaint on to trading standards where appropriate.

If you want to try to contact your local trading standards office directly your local authority contact details can be found by visiting the Help and Advice pages on our website https://www.tradingstandards.uk/consumers by scrolling to the bottom of the page and entering your postcode. If this directs you to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service then you can make contact with trading standards by contacting your local council directly.

Thank you,
Kind regards,
National Trading Standards

Email: Nationaltradingstandards@actso.org.uk

ACTSO Ltd is a subsidiary company of the Trading Standards Institute. Registered in England and Wales. Register Number 8091348. Registered office: 1 Sylvan Court, Sylvan Way, Southfields Business Park, Basildon, Essex SS15 6TH VAT Reg. No GB 795 8626 60

The name ‘National Trading Standards’ is confusing because whereas local TS offices handle the cases of individual consumers, NTS does not and this is now made clear on their website.

When I have called Citizens Advice to report a problem relevant to TS the information has been collected and I have been contacted promptly by TS to discuss details of the case.

Perhaps Which? could carry out a survey of people who have taken a complaint to CA and been happy with the result.

Trading Standards at Peterborough did, in my view, a very poor job of handling the Indesit tumble dryer problem, but then so did most other organisations involved. That is an example of a national problem that should have been dealt with at a national level.

Some while ago I asked Which? whether this matter had been concluded to the satisfaction of all affected customers, but heard no more. Has it just quietly been consigned to the back burner?

This site is supposed to find the primary authority.
https://primary-authority.beis.gov.uk
In the case of Currys Retail it gives Hertfordshire County Council.

I was aware of this site but it is password protected and not accessible to the public, which is why I contacted NTS.

Like Wingman, I have had success in contacting TS via Citizens Advice. It did not work when I wanted to report a dangerous product for sale on the Amazon website because I had not made a purchase. I have said that we need a national organisation to handle anything problems that are not local, and online traders is a good example.

malcolm r says:
29 March 2022

It must have been an aberration that it gave a result for Currys. I have emailed BEIS to see how we can find primary authorities.

In fact the BEIS site produces quite a few results without signing in. I wonder how comprehensive it is.

There are two websites, Malcolm. The one you gave before requires a password:
https://primary-authority.beis.gov.uk

and this one which is searchable without a password – note the absence of UK in the address:
https://primary-authority.beis.gov

The first one is listed on the gov.uk website. Learning which local TS has a primary authority agreement with a business is of interest but as you can see from the email reply posted above, National Trading Standards will not enter into discussion with the public. I am not going to report the discrepancy because it’s interesting to see this information.

I hope that we can prevail on Which? to push for action to help the customers of Currys who have been let down and asked for advice on Which? Conversation.

I received this helpful reply, and quickly, from the OPSS.

If you believe that the company you are looking for has a primary authority partnership, you should be able to search without logging in here
https://primary-authority.beis.gov.uk/par.
The ability to sign in is restricted to local authorities and organisations to manage their partnerships.

If there is no result, then the likelihood is that the company does not have a primary authority agreement.

The latter explains why I was only able to get some partnerships. Whirlpool was one that did not return a result so maybe it does not have a formal partnership with Peterborough.

Useful URL, thanks malcolm r.

That makes three URLs now. Two yield the same information and the third one, listed on the government website, requires the user to log in. 🙁

Have you tried the one above?

Yes, I found it yesterday evening and looked up several companies.

The .gov one does not work. The .gov.uk/par is the one to use.

It does not work now but it did when I used it yesterday and is listed in my browsing history. I do test links after posting, so this one must have been made inactive.

Sandra Leeming says:
10 May 2022

They won t replace it the Repair date run s out on 28 /10/2025 my name is Sandra leeming, my first telly the speakers went on it and they changed it for me this second one was the colour gone it so they can t replace it they are bringing it back to me I can t see half of the telly so how will I go on to replace it the pepair dite run s out on 28/10/2025con you do something about it please my number is xxxxxxx you can ring me anytime

[Moderator: we’ve edited this comment to remove personally identifiable information, as this is not allowed in the Community guidelines. Please don’t post people’s names, addresses, or other personally identifiable information – even if you suspect it is made up. This is to protect everyone’s privacy.]

Hannah posted: “Along with many similar businesses, the pandemic and substantial period of retail closure has seen a substantial change in the way the company operates. One effect of this is that complaint levels have been high. This is not something that Currys or us are comfortable with. The company has been working to reduce complaint levels and respond to consumers more promptly. It has introduced new ways of working to help them do this.

We have seen a steady reduction in complaints and improved customer service. There remains work to do but we believe the business is doing all it reasonably can to improve. We will continue to monitor complaint levels to ensure this improvement continues.”

I really think several issues remain to be addressed, notwithstanding that this release by Trading standards reads more like an apology for the company.

To be clear, these issues have persisted for at least 20 years to my knowledge, the last time we shopped with Curry’s, so to use the pandemic to excuse what is–at best–horrifyingly gruesome ‘customer service’ is somewhat duplicitous.

If I may: to say “complaint levels have been high. This is not something that Currys or us are comfortable with” seems to suggest a misapprehension concerning both the seriousness and longevity of a process built-into their business model. The strategy is not confined to one or two branches; it’s UK–wide and in clear and fragrant breach of consumer legislation.

The next two sentences reveal what appears to be some naivety on the part of TS. “The company has been working to reduce complaint levels and respond to consumers more promptly. It has introduced new ways of working to help them do this.“

A glance at Curry’s trading figures suggests a steady decline in business in all of their markets across Europe. Perhaps the effects on their bottom line might be helping to change their perceptions.

But the sentence “we believe the business is doing all it reasonably can to improve” is simply breathtaking and will be of little comfort to the thousands of consumers who continue to suffer at the hands of this company.

An excellent overview Ian and I completely agree it reads very much like an apology by Trading Standards on their behalf.

It suggests that Trading Standards are ‘waiting’ for Currys to implement changes while consumers continue to suffer, when I would much prefer to see a prosecution for breaching Legislation. I feel sure that prosecution would cause Currys to implement changes and cease this conduct immediately!

Thank you, Ian.

Further evidence of Currys persistent and institutionalised misbehaviour is the long-running saga of their upselling of laptops where many different branches lied about the non-availability of a lower-priced advertised model without the set-up facility. That rumbled on for several years [and was well documented in these columns] before it finally petered out. It was clearly a management-driven sales technique.

Perhaps Which? should send an email to the Curry’s CEO, Alex Baldock, inviting him to read this forum (assuming he doesn’t already read it). Given the awful service customers have received leading to distress and anxiety for many, someone in his position should be tackling this head on and at the very least apologising to those who have been affected.

I have just been reading the constant thread of complaints on Twitter, which seem to be an hour by hour occurrence. What stands out most is the anger, distress and frustration that customers are experiencing, resulting in some blunt and robust exchanges.

I cannot imagine how many of these customers must be feeling, especially those who have failed to receive a refund within the required timeframe or those who have waited for extended periods for the repair or replacement of essential goods such as fridges or ovens.

Trading Standards MUST address this and quickly.

Wingman says “Trading Standards must address this and quickly“. I couldn’t agree more. This Conversation alone has been running for sixteen months already and there were previous Conversations about Currys’ relationship with fair trading practices. Which? has not yet succeeded in getting any action from trading standards in any shape or form. The author of this Conversation has not contributed to it publicly since 8 June 2021. So where do we go from here?

The Advertising Standards Authority have ruled against Curry’s this Month for an e-scooter advertisement, which they concluded was misleading and socially irresponsible – OUCH!

Since the use of privately owned e-scooters remains illegal in the UK, except on private land, it’s about time that action was taken. Here are full details of the case and ruling: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/currys-group-ltd-a21-1128111-currys-group-ltd.html

I expect that even Currys will take action.

Given the upset, aggravation and hassle numerous customers are experiencing, it seems appropriate they get a slap on the wrist for something.

Rather awkward for the marketing agency who produced the Ad too, I imagine there have been some rather blunt emails bouncing back and forth between the two.

Realistically there is no case for marketing or promoting the sale of e-scooters at all until the government makes a decision on whether or not they will be permitted to be used on the public highway, and, if the government does outlaw them in public places, purchasers of the scooters will have wasted their money and be left with a useless article on their hands; Currys and other sellers are most unlikely to buy them back. I am surprised the government has not been able to make a decision by now; apparently the changing patterns of travel due to Covid-19 have upset the calculations.

Thank you all for sharing your concerns with us. Whilst in our annual surveys we have found Currys to be far from the worst, it is clear many people are having problems with its customer service and I want to reassure you that we have been sharing your complaints with Trading Standards who are taking an active interest in your reports. It is fair that you want an update and to see progress, we too are eager to see improvement. Unfortunately the consumer enforcement system in the UK isn’t as robust as we’d like it to be, and change takes time. We will share updates when and if we have them.

Hannah has been working on this among many, many other stories for some time now and continues to work with internal teams on engaging with Trading Standards. But, I want to make it clear that it is inappropriate for you to continue making repeated requests of her directly for Which? to take action which is beyond her control. Both she (and Jon before he left) have provided updates. We will continue to do this when we have news to share.

@afrench, thanks for the explanation Adam. I am sure from Hannah’s update last June that she is working on this.

It was Which? who introduced this Conversation and keep requesting complaints. It is reasonable to assume (I hope) that they are actively pursuing this with TS and Currys but it would be useful to be updated more often, otherwise those who believe action is necessary will continue to ask for progress. Which? is declared as the consumer champion and makes consumers as powerful as the organisations they have to deal with. That seems to fail with Currys.

Apart from generally reporting to Trading Standards, do they pick up the serious individual cases reported here to give TS specific and supported examples of consumer detriment? Why do Which? not stop listing Currys as a linked supplier when reporting on sources of products?

You say “it is clear many people are having problems with its customer service” but that they are ”far from the worst”. Maybe in relation to their volume of sales they are not. But my concern is less about “customer service” and mainly about their illegal activities, misleading and denying customers their legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. People continually post about this, the most recent being Amanda’s fridge freezer. https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/currys-pc-world-complaints-faulty-goods/#comment-1647869
Illegal activity should be stopped.

@afrench — I endorse Malcolm’s comments.

Which? is our only connection to the relevant Trading Standards authority so it does not seem unreasonable, given the continuing number of complaints to Which? Conversation, to expect regular updates. If there has been no movement by Trading Standards then it would be useful to know that.

I appreciate that this is a high priority Conversation issue relative to the numerous other ongoing topics and that this obviously impacts on resources.

Amanda Barwell says:
12 April 2022

@afrench I have today written to Currys again in relation to the issue with my fridge freezer, to try and resolve the situation following the really helpful advice on this conversation from several people – thank you all for your help

If they don’t resolve the issue I will proceed with court action to ensure they fulfil their legal responsibility under the consumer rights act.

Would you recommend I also report this to trading standards or would this already be shared by your team noting you state that you are sharing some of the complaints on here with them? I am more than happy to report it myself as I would like to see them stop taking advantage of customers who find the process to time consuming / draining to fight for their legal rights.

Thanks again to everyone for their advice and support

Hi Amanda, thanks ever so much for the update.

I am delighted to hear you have written to Currys once again, which gives them the opportunity to resolve the matter before legal action, but I am also pleased you remain determined and intend to pursue legal action if necessary.

I am confident the letter you have now sent will achieve the required outcome, however, should legal action be necessary and given Currys serious failings, I am completely confident the Court would award in your favour.

Please do keep us updated.

Amanda — I would recommend you report your case history to your local trading standards service. This will usually be in your county council, London borough council, metropolitan council or a unitary authority depending on where you live. It is best to send a letter direct to the service in order to by-pass the gatekeeper in the form of Citizens Advice. Your case is serious enough to justify specialist attention and your local TS service should refer it to the primary authority that deals with Currys.

Unfortunately Which? itself is not taking up individual cases with Currys or with the designated trading standards service but you have received advice from James Attew of the Which? Legal team. I doubt they will have forwarded a report to Trading Standards.

The previous correspondence is here –
https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/currys-pc-world-complaints-faulty-goods/#comment-1649741

Amanda, Hertfordshire County Council are the Primary Authority having a partnership arrangement with Currys Retail Ltd and Currys Group Ltd. So you could also write direct to their Trading Standards Dept. Will it achieve any result? You can only try. Stress the illegality of their behaviour as one reason for your complaint. Good luck.

Christina says:
13 April 2022

Hi
I bought a Smeg Induction range cooker online and had it delivered. I then paid for an electrician to install it and it worked fine for a week, albeit we didn’t use it much. Now when you put something in the oven the whole of the oven turns off, but the hob still works. I phoned currys yesterday and was put through to Smeg, apparently have to talk to the manufacturer. They weren’t available. Spoke to them (Smeg) this morning and they say they have to send an engineer to prove there is a fault. Now waiting for date for an engineer but this will be at least a week. Now having spend over 40 minutes trying to talk to someone at Currys who doesn’t just want to put me through to Smeg so that I can get a replacement cooker, I have given up. Does anyone have any advice. I can’t find a number for currys and have yet to speak to anyone in the UK, the last person was in South Africa. NOt great when you have 10 people coming for Easter Sunday Lunch!
Does anyone have any suggestions?

Contrary to some views I can understand Currys suggesting you talk direct to Smeg. It may be a simple fault with using controls (perhaps) or something you could tell them that would help trace the problem. If a manufacturer is in a position to send their own engineer then probably best to arrange it direct, especially a suitable date; the retailer would only be doing this on your behalf.

Is a week’s wait regarded as unreasonable? Probably not by an outsider, but for you it is a great inconvenience not to have an oven. The onus is still on the retailer to sort your problem out. One attempted repair is permitted and if that doesn’t work you’re entitled to a refund or replacement or further repair (if you so choose).

Hi Christina, given the short timeframe I think it will be hopeful to expect an Engineer to attend in the next few days and imagine it would be unlikely that Currys will arrange a replacement at short notice.

This is extremely unfortunate given we are approaching Easter and you are hosting an Easter Sunday lunch.

I understand you are waiting for a date from Smeg for an Engineer to attend, but perhaps it might be worthwhile contacting Smeg again, explaining your situation and perhaps they might have an Engineer in your area who they can arrange to visit at short notice. There is always the possibility that a Smeg Engineer may have completed other jobs ahead of schedule and have a free slot.

Otherwise, I think you will need to wait until Smeg can attend, assess the oven and determine whether it is repairable or a replacement is necessary.

Hi Christina – It would be worth checking the instructions for using the oven timer in case this is turning off the oven.

If you reported the fault within 30 days of purchase you are entitled to reject the faulty cooker and obtain a full refund from Currys, as explained by Which? https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-do-i-do-if-i-have-a-faulty-product You can accept a repair if you wish, but you are not obliged to.

This could not have come at a worse time for you.

Looking again at Adam’s request in his comment https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/currys-pc-world-complaints-faulty-goods/#comment-1649736 where he says “….I want to make it clear that it is inappropriate for you to continue making repeated requests of her (Hannah) directly for Which? to take action which is beyond her control.” I cannot see any comments on this page that harass Hannah in this way – but I may have missed something.

What some of us are expecting is that Which? should live up to its claim as the Consumer Champion and when it says that ”We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account…….” it actually does that. I think it is quite appropriate to challenge Which? ( not an individual) in this way; it is partly what I pay a not-insubstantial sum each year for it to do.

So please don’t tick us off for trying to get updates and action; that is, in my view, a quite inappropriate comment. Just engage with your members and commenters.

I do recall seeing a comment indicating that Which? had not contributed to the conversation since last year, so perhaps this prompted Adam’s response, but I didn’t view the comment as inappropriate or intended to offend any of the Which? Team.

I think the comment was intended to prompt further discussion on what measures or steps consumers and/or Which? could take to tackle the problems consumers are experiencing.

Wingman — I believe you are referring to my comment on 30 March 2022. See —
https://conversation.which.co.uk/shopping/currys-pc-world-complaints-faulty-goods/#comment-1649196

It was a statement of fact. If the trading standards authority is making no progress, or if there is no dialogue with Currys, a different approach is required. We cannot insist on an update, but it would be within the spirit and parameters of the Conversation to which so many people have made very useful contributions, as requested by Which?, to have a progress report.

The Curry’s issue is only one of many, many consumer problems that afflict us all and have, I believe anyway, increased over the past two years.

To take a step back for a moment, specifically Currys has been treating their customers in this way (and this badly) for at least twenty years. The single fact that nothing seems to have changed in that time suggests that in some artful way they are not acting outside of current legislation.

Consumer legislation is viewed by many businesses as an impediment to their making money, so that when new legislation appears a continuous ‘game’ of sorts between the businesses and the law takes place. Which? is an organisation that rides shotgun for the millions of consumers in the UK, but the challenges it faces in terms of what can actually be accomplished are immense. For instance, another company that views consumer legislation as a challenge (and an irritant) is Ryanair, and they’ve similarly been treating their customers with disdain for as long as I can remember.

Which? is under relentless pressure to deal with these issues, from its members, from society in general and from its own staff, so the fact that nothing seems to happen suggests the Swan analogy: smooth and elegant when moving, furious activity beneath the surface.

I’ve been extremely critical of Which?, and for good reason in the past, but Which? is composed of individuals, many of whom are dedicated, extremely hard working, selfless and desperate to do what they can for the consumer. I believe Adam was not, in fact, “ticking us off” but he was, in fact, defending Hannah.

We don’t know what effect the often challenging comments posted on here might have on individual staff members; but from speaking to directors and managers at Which? over the course of some twenty seven years, I know those effects can be traumatic. We don’t get to see the moderated comments, which are often highly personal and intensely derogatory, but they do exist, they are posted and they are read.

I deeply appreciate the work the troops do in Which? but I also feel that the responsibility of what they do and how it’s done lies squarely with the generals. In the specific case of W? Cs, that particular general is Mr Neil Caldicott, who can be contacted through the usual channels.

When Which? declares itself as the Consumer Champion and “holds businesses to account” I believe it should be seen to live up to those claims; through our £100 million a year subscriptions we pay them (quite well) to do that job as professionals, I would have thought.

Maybe Which? just take on too much and should either modify their claims or concentrate more effort on the major sources of consumer detriment. They do have something of a dilemma in what they spend time and money on while attracting sufficient magazine subscribers. Maybe they need to link up with other organisations to be more effective. Maybe they should stop linking to organisations that act illegally, harm consumers and act badly? The worry is they do not appear to have any real influence against these organisations – you mention Ryanair and, of course, Currys. They were similarly ineffective against Indesit, Whirlpool, Sony, for example.

With only around 600 000 members I suspect Which? is not big enough to carry real weight. I would like to see some determined effort to enrol a very substantially greater number of consumers so it appears to be far more representative. That will need a different business model, certainly in its subscription cost. I doubt many will pay £1-200 a year.

”I want to make it clear that it is inappropriate for you to continue making repeated requests….” was, in my view when I commented above, and remains so, an inappropriate comment to make to those who contribute diligently to these Convos, particularly when there was little or no evidence of such repeated requests. If there were, it would have been better to reflect upon why Which? might be asked about progress in the light of the continuing reports of seemingly mistreated and illegally treated customers since we were last “updated” 10 months ago, but with no apparent progress in “holding busineeses to account”. I believe that remark deserves the term “a ticking off”.

Which? calls on CAA to investigate British Airways over cancellation and re-routing policy
https://press.which.co.uk/whichstatements/which-calls-on-caa-to-investigate-british-airways-over-cancellation-and-re-routing-policy/
We have written to the Civil Aviation Authority with our findings urging them to investigate this potential rule-breaking. We encourage BA to always inform passengers of their rights in the event of delays or cancellations, as set out in the law.”

If it can do this for some for travel, why cannot it do this for others disadvantaged and seemingly denied their legal rights by Currys?

@gmartin, George, hope you are well on the mend. Note to moderators – previous copies of this comment went into moderation; logging-in seemed the problem. They can be deleted, please.

Done, thanks Malcolm.

Jane Kemp says:
20 April 2022

April 2022. Bought washing machine and had it fitted by Curry’s on 19 March. Realised that fitters had not left transit bolts for me so rang Curry’s. First call operator hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. Second operator told me that she’d spoken to someone at BEKO (manufacturer) and been told that the bolts are no longer needed even though the handbook makes it clear they should be retained.
Wrote to BEKO for confirmation, wrote to Curry’s to complain about poor service on 19 March. BEKO replied that bolts should be retained by customer, no response form Curry’s. Emailed Curry’s CEO on 19 April to escalate complaint, asking for bolts to be returned to me at no cost to me. Emails undeliverable as Curry’s server is refusing to accept them. Rang trying to get complaint sorted. Very difficult to get direct answer from operator who said that someone will call me back – don’t know when.
I can’t understand why Curry’s call,opera rat or told me tha she had spoken with BEKO and been told the bolts are no longer needed when BEKO make it very clear that they should be retained.

The bolts should be retained in case you need to transport the machine, such as if you move house. I would have thought it unlikely that Currys will have retained your bolts so the easy solution would seem to be for BEKO to supply a new set. Just remember where you put them should you need them in future.

Hi Jane, yet another example of poor support by Curry’s.

It’s great that BEKO took the time to reply, whereas Curry’s did not bother. I would be inclined to contact BEKO again, either by phone or email and explain the situation to them. It’s not BEKO’s responsibility of course, but in terms of customer service and retention, I am sure they will be happy to help.

The transit bolts are a low cost item and I imagine BEKO have a box full at one of their Service Centres and if you ask nicely I feel sure they would be happy to send you replacements. There would be minimal cost to BEKO in doing so and they could take some satisfaction in knowing they have assisted a customer, you will be grateful and are likely to purchase their products again.

You could even advise BEKO you will leave a positive review on an online forum as a thank you for their assistance.

Miele thoughtfully provided storage clips for the transit bolts at the back of my washing machine, something that other manufacturers could usefully copy. Unfortunately they also hid the tool to open the drain filter out of sight behind the front panel of the detergent drawer.

Saleha says:
4 May 2022

I purchased a PS5 for my son in November 2021 and picked it up from Currys approximately January. It was for an Eid present which i gave him on May 2nd after hiding it from him for a few months. He was absolutely overjoyed and when we tried to connect it there was a fault. This is a brand new unused product. We tried it on 3 TV’s and it didn’t work. I took it back to Currys who tried to get it to work but they couldnt and have refused a refund or exchange and told me to go to Sony. I contacted Sony and am waiting for them to contact me regarding repair. I feel so angry that i have paid £509 for a brand new product and have a faulty item and both Sony amd Currys are refusing to replace it. My son is in tears and as a single parent this is a lot of money. Am so frustrated and dont know what to do. Currys simply said no because of the time I had it. Any advice would be really appreciated

Hi Saleha – This article by Which? explains your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act, against the retailer, Currys:

“Your right to a quick refund is limited to 30 days from the date you took ownership of the product (this could be the date of purchase or the date it was delivered to you – whichever is later).” A retailer may extend the refund period, as many do over Christmas, but that is voluntary.

“Can I get a full refund? – the first six months”

If you’ve owned the item for less than six months, the retailer must give you a full refund if an attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful.

The retailer can’t make any deduction from a refund in the first six months following an unsuccessful attempt at repair or replacement.”

Currys is denying you your statutory rights if they have refused to help. I suggest you inform them of this. They should offer some remedy such as a repair, replacement or refund the full cost of the product. You also have rights under the manufacturer’s guarantee, but these are additional to your statutory rights. Whether it is better to claim against the retailer or use the manufacturer’s guarantee can depend on what is in the terms & conditions but in your case I would challenge Currys and make it clear that they are legally obliged to take action. Best of luck.

Saleha, as Wavechange indicated, it would seem Currys are attempting to avoid their responsibilities as required by law. This is totally unacceptable and as advised, I would return to the store and remind them they have a legal duty to resolve the matter.

When I read posts of this nature, I often wonder what knowledge if any the member of staff has regarding the retailers responsibilities in these circumstances. I often sense that staff are either inexperienced, cannot be bothered or have been instructed to direct customers to the product manufacturer, simply because it releases them from having to deal with the issue.

If you have not already done so, ask for the Manager who should hopefully realise it is their responsibility to resolve the matter. If the Manager attempts to fob you off, directs you to Sony or refuses to help, calmly explain that by failing to help they are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act and you intend to refer the matter to Trading Standards. I would like to think if you stand firm and refuse to accept this nonsense, they will act accordingly.

If you have no success in store, politely ask the Manager or assistant Manager for a pen. Then ask for their full name and write this down while they are watching. Advise the Manager that in addition to referring the matter to Trading Standards, you will also be contacting the local TV News station as you feel sure they will be interested to hear your story.

Hopefully, further measures will not be necessary and I am confident that by standing firm the store will show some common sense and resolve the matter.

If I have to take anything back to a shop more than 30 days after purchase I take printed evidence of my legal rights and this can save time wasted waiting at the customer services desk and having to wait to see a senior member of staff. Sadly, it’s not just Currys that is keen to refer customers to manufacturers.

Wingman – Some staff will provide their full names but as far as I know they are not obliged to. It’s a long time since we discussed this on Conversation and it would be useful to find out whether we can demand a full name or maybe an employee number. When I speak to someone at a call centre I record the names of people I speak to and the date for future reference but some names are common and there may be other staff with the same name.

You are right about standing firm, being calm and mentioning Trading Standards.

Hi Wavechange, that’s an interesting point you raised that staff may not be obliged to provide their name.

This is something I have encountered with customer service staff at call centres, but I certainly find it irregular. On several occasions I have asked a staff member for their name and they have replied by stating “we are not allowed to provide our name” – really???

I am not sure whether there are any legal implications with staff in stores refusing to provide their name, that is something I will need to research. Many retailers provide their employees with name badges, which is great, but purely from a Customer Service perspective, it would seem ridiculous and I would view it as obstructive if an employee refused to provide their name.

If we know the legal requirement then we know exactly where we stand. As you say, many staff now have name badges and it is normal for staff to give their first name when calling or answering the phone. Only once have I been given an employee number, but that system has long been used by the police.

Neither of us use our names on Conversation and in my case that was because the terms & conditions recommended using a pseudonym when I joined. I would be happy for company staff to give just their first name as long as they will give an employee number on request.

From what I can tell, this is governed by the policies of a business rather than a legal requirement. If a business advises staff they should tell a consumer their name, they should do so. As you indicated, if the policy is not to provide their name, then it would seem reasonable to provide their employee number instead.

Store Managers act as the ‘representative’ of the business and therefore it would be expected of the store Manager to provide their name, but not necessarily other staff.

From what I understand, the primary reason a business may have a policy for staff not to reveal their name is to prevent an angry consumer from finding that member of staff on social media and engaging in trolling or bullying, which is understandable.

I would certainly expect a store Manager to provide their name and would see it as obstructive if a Manager refused.

I fully understand but would like to see businesses operating in the same way so that we know what to expect, just as I would like to see all businesses providing a simple email address for customer services.

It would help if our basic legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 had to be prominently displayed in every store. Then customer and staff could see just who was entitled to what.

Yes, and we have often discussed the possibility of supplying a leaflet with purchases.

The information should be on retailers’ websites too.

Perhaps, then, this should be the subject of a Which? Campaign? George/Chirag, what do you think? @gmartin @chiragkhetiya

I think it must be time for another update on the situation with Currys since there is no let up in the number of customer service failures and reports to Which? Conversation. The likelihood is that many of them are not a case of ignorance or negligence but either a bad culture or deliberate policy.

I was under the impression that Hannah Downes was no longer dealing with this topic but don’t know who is in charge now. It certainly requires urgent attention.

BEST BUY

”Currys Essentials CTL55W22 fridge
£229
Need extra fridge space? This impressive model from the Currys Essentials range is a Best Buy and a bargain to boot. It might be light on features, but our tests proved it powerful enough to chill food quickly while still being energy efficient.”

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/fridges/currys-essentials-ctl55w22?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=4149704-C_GIF_EM_050522_NoBanner&mi_u=213251730&mi_ecmp=C_GIF_EM_050522_NoBanner

The reports of Currys dire and probably illegal responses to customers as reported here seem to have no impact on what Which? recommend; no warning given. Let’s hope it is delivered working and undamaged and doesn’t become faulty. 🙂 🙁

Joanna says:
8 May 2022

My TV was taken 3 time for the repair on 26 March 2022. I have care plan with 7 days guarantee repair . In 6 day I tried to communicate with Teamknownhow and Currys customer service via email, but none of the email were working. For 13 days I didn’t had any updates what so ever regarding my TV. I didn’t know what is happening, if my TV is going to be fixed or not. I also received text message from delivery team, informing me that they don’t have my TV. I than decided, not to have my TV back. I requested vaucher as it was over the guarantee repair time and I didn’t had any communication from anyone. My TV was written off successfully on 13 April 2022. In the meantime, I was accused of not providing cable and one connect box to the repair centre. However, I had all recording of Currys staff taking everything away, together with the TV on 26 April 2022. I made a lot of phone calls to Currys Customer service, asking where is my voucher for my written of TV. I didn’t receive any proper anwser. The issue became very stressful for me. Therefore, I asked for help and support one of the manager at Currys store. He told me to wait 7 days as he is writing to the Head Office, to solve the issue. Today is 9 day and I still haven’t had any reply. I don’t know what to do next. Who else to ask for help and to get the vaucher for my written off TV.

joe says:
14 May 2022

I just want to add, some of these issues are infact due to the manufacturer, countless times i have gone to currys for issues and the staff have attemtped to speak to manufactures for me only to be told due to gdpr laws the manufacturers wont speak to currys, only the customer.

Joe — If a customer has bought faulty goods and, under the terms of the Consumer Right Act, they have the right to a repair, replacement or refund [the rights differ technically between in-store and on-line purchases but a right exists to some extent in both circumstances] the retailer is liable because there is a contract between the customer and the retailer. There is no contract between the customer and the manufacturer at that stage although the product might be under warranty to the manufacturer which could be a useful recourse in the event that the retailer will not or cannot provide the redress required by law.

The primary source of redress is the retailer, and if Currys are claiming that they cannot speak to the manufacturer I do not believe there is any formal basis for refusing to speak to the manufacturer if that is what is required in order to repair the product. The retailer does not have to disclose anything to the manufacturer that would fall foul of the General Data Protection Regulation so I think Currys are using that excuse to avoid exercising their statutory responsibilities. If the manufacturer is willing to deal with the customer, and the customer would prefer that mechanism, those two parties can agree to proceed in that way but the retailer cannot abdicate their responsibilities absolutely. There is no reason stopping the manufacturer seeking information, advice, parts or technical assistance in order to rectify the product and comply with their statutory duties.

Quite. The only contract the customer normally has exists with the retailer – Currys, say. They are responsible in law (Consumer Rights Act 2015) for resolving faults direct with the customer. The customer may also have the guarantee to fall back on, while it is in force, with the manufacturer or their agent.

Currys will, no doubt, have a contract with whoever supplied them with goods and, if they become faulty, may well have recourse for redress to compensate for a customer’s successful claim. Perhaps someone could tell us about this?

We have suggested a number of times that retailers should display in store or online the key rights that customers are entitled to under the CRA so that they are less able to fob a customer off.

There was an error in the final sentence of my previous comment. That sentence should read “There is no reason stopping the retailer seeking information, advice, parts or technical assistance from the manufacturer in order to rectify the product and comply with their statutory duties”.

Sounds like complete nonsense to me! GDPR has no bearing on this and I’m not sure there isn’t some misunderstanding here. Firstly, why would the manufacturer need to disclose any personal information about the customer that Currys does not already hold? If it is necessary for some bizarre reason, then all that is required is for the customer to provide their consent. But that is not necessary!

Even without consent, there are other legal basis for processing personal information:

Contract – for the performance of a contract. Currys may rely on this.

Legal obligation – to fulfil consumer legislation requirements.

And the most versatile of these is:

Legitimate interest – where you use people’s data in ways they would reasonably expect and which have a minimal privacy impact, or where there is a compelling justification for the processing.

Legitimate interests can be your own interests [manufacturer] or the interests of third parties [Currys/ the Customer]. They can include commercial interests, individual interests or broader societal benefits.

It is a broadly held misconception that consent is the only basis for processing personal information about an individual. Companies rely on the legitimate interests basis most of the time to execute their businesses.

Imagine the scenario where a company enters into a contract with an individual and the individual then withdraws their consent to process their personal data, much of which will be necessary to operate the contract (name, address, bank account …). Do you imagine for one minute that the company has to forfeit their rights under the contract, because the customer had invoked their GDPR rights?

Either the member of Currys’ staff who is alleged to to have cited the GDPR as a reason for not contacting the manufacturer is inadequately trained and uninformed or it is a matter of company policy to divert the customer. Either way it is unacceptable. Getting after-sales service wrong seems to be a speciality — the USP perhaps — of some companies!

As John Ward and Malcolm r have highlighted, the contract for the purchase of the goods is between the customer and Currys.

I expect Currys will have different arrangements in place with different Manufacturers when it comes to rectifying problems with faulty goods. Curry’s can probably replace some products directly, whereas others are passed to the Manufacturer to handle.

I suspect it’s probably just as difficult and time consuming for Currys to contact some Manufacturers as it is for customers to contact Currys. If Currys are encountering difficulties contacting a Manufacturer, I wouldn’t be surprised if they advise customers to contact the Manufacturer instead, shifting the problem to the customer and using excuses such as the Manufacturer will not speak with them directly. I see this as absolute nonsense and from a customers perspective, it falls into the category of ‘not my problem Currys’.

The fact is, the customer has purchased and paid for goods from Currys, so it remains the responsibility of the retailer to resolve any issues.

If Currys have procedures in place for Manufacturers to handle faults, repairs or replacements directly, that’s great, but ultimately Currys are responsible for organising that. If Currys want to make arrangements for the manufacturer to contact the customer directly, perfect, but customers should not be inconvenienced with the need to call Manufacturers directly.

Manufacturers have the right to refer purchasers of faulty goods back to the retailer although some of the better companies will handle complaints. The commercial view is that the retailer’s profit margin accommodates the cost of after-sales service.

Many products these days are imported and go straight to retailers’ warehouses without further contact with the manufacturer. There are also DTC [direct to consumer] sales, ordered from a retailer, which are shipped from the manufacturer to the purchaser’s address.

It is because of all these permutations of purchase arrangements, shipping, warehousing, importation, etc, that the law provides a simple route to a remedy: go to the retailer.

If buying direct from an overseas seller then the Consumer Rights Act 2015 cannot be relied upon but some international companies do provide a good service if the product is faulty [although it is not easy to work out which ones do so before a problem arises].

Crusader says:
16 May 2022

It’s ok going to the retailer if they’re still in business, but I’ve had situations where the retailer has closed down, so then what do you do? Then surely the manufacturer must deal with it, after all it’s them who provide the warranty, not the retailer, that’s what maplin reminded me of shortly before they closed down.

A manufacturer has no legal duty to support customers other than as set out in their terms & conditions. If a company goes into administration, as Maplin did, it is very unlikely that customers will get any help. Sometimes a new company that takes over a failed business will provide support for customers of the failed company.

There is nothing to be lost by contacting a manufacturer but all they are obliged to honour is their own guarantee.

There are two consumer protections. One is the manufacturer’s guarantee with its own terms, conditions, and length. You can claim against this at any time within its validity. Quite separate are the customer’s legal rights when entering into a purchase contract, usually with a retailer. This covers far more than just the functioning of the product and usually lasts longer than the warranty (6 years in the UK except Scotland’s 5, 2 years still, I think, in the EU). If the retailer goes out of business then this contract has usually gone. If it is also outside the manufacturer’s guarantee time then your only option is to seek their goodwill help.

What might concern many where Currys are concerned is that their total indebtedness was £1.4bn as of April this year. The Annual Report makes for worrying reading, such as this: “taken down
our net exceptionals cash cost from £70m down to £50m, partly due to the great job the team are doing on lowering our lease exit cost from store closures, but also the settlements of an outstanding dispute that wasn’t budgeted.”

Curry’s stores are closing and what, I wonder, was the outstanding dispute? But with the pandemic, and the general trading environment Curry’s looks very similar to the situation in which Debenhams found itself a year or so ago.

The protection under the Consumer Rights Act provides for a repair, refund or replacement for any reason on goods returned within thirty days of purchase if bought on-line. Manufacturers do not provide this form of redress [except when they also retail the goods].

For goods bought in a store, the right to return only applies to goods that are (a) not fit for purpose, or (b) not as described, or (c) not of satisfactory quality. Under a warranty [and except when they also retail the goods], manufacturers are not liable in respect of (a) and (b) and may only be partially liable under (c) .

The distinction is because shoppers buying in a store have the opportunity to examine the product, ask questions, and state their purpose in buying it so that the retailer can advise whether or not it would be suitable for that purpose [e.g. if they have a large household they could need a larger capacity and more robust washing machine].

As I’ve said before, I would not want to lose Curry’s stores, which are widespread in the UK and have a wide variety of products on display. Being able to inspect goods before purchase is very important to me. This does not condone the way they treat some of their customers.

Interesting reading Ian.

Given that many retailers such as Currys claimed a significant rise in revenue due to the pandemic, with many consumers working from home and ordering additional tech. for the home office or parents purchasing tech. to occupy children etc, you would think their financial situation would be on the up.

Currys have stated on several occasions they were overwhelmed with orders, with this being the reason many customers experienced delays and received poor service, but perhaps supply chain issues meant they were unable to fulfill those orders.

Yes, Currys was experiencing supply shortages several months ago: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/14/currys-sales-slide-amid-shortages-of-key-tech-goods I don’t expect that the situation will have improved.

Thanks Wavechange, that explains a great deal.

It’s after-sales service that seems to be their Achilles heel. If they can’t get the goods they can’t sell them, but once they have sold a product they have a duty to honour the purchaser’s statutory rights.

Currys were hit with a £500,000 fine in 2020 for a massive data breach in 2017-18. The ‘unbudgeted settlement of a dispute’ could be a reference to the negotiation with the ICO over the amount of the fine. In fact they got away lucky: given that the incident occurred prior to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, the case fell under the Data Protection Act 1998, which stipulated a maximum fine of £500,000. Under new laws, the company would have been subject to potential fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, or £17 million.

I suspect that Currys continued to accept orders for goods that were not available, which led to delivery delays and significant customer frustration.

The supply chain was severely affected during the pandemic and continues to be affected and no doubt scheduled delivery dates to their warehouses and to manufacturers warehouses encountered further unforeseen delays.

I imagine there were occasions when Currys were due to have stock, accepted orders and then the stock was delayed. This was perhaps out of their control and situations such as this can happen from time to time. What Currys failed to do was issue prompt refunds to those customers who decided they did not wish to wait, often being told the refund would be issued in 14 days, with many customers waiting significantly longer.

I can never understand how a retailer can process a customers payment instantly, but then advise the customer they must wait 14 days for a refund when they cannot fulfill the order due to having no stock – I don’t think that is acceptable. Processing a refund is just as quick as processing a payment, so there really is no reason customers should have to wait.

Matt says:
30 May 2022

For Currys to claim their poor service is down to being overloaded due to the pandemic or increased customer demand is untrue. I have an ongoing problem with a bean to cup coffee machine which stopped working after 6 months. I am in discussions with their legal team and mid court action. They simply are not following the law.

Katie Smith says:
16 June 2022

Hi Hannah, I bought a washing machine online and paid extra for express delivery however it never showed up and I’ve tried contacting currys so many times only to be fobbed off that someone will call me but nobody does and they can’t even tell me where my order is

Hi Katie, if Currys have failed to supply the goods within an agreed timeframe, they are in breach of Contract and you are entitled to a full refund. Because you have already contacted Currys on several occasions and they have not provided a satisfactory response or explanation, you should now ask Currys for a full refund.

If they do not respond to your request or fail to issue a refund, you are entitled to claim the refund through your Bank.

You will need to give Currys the opportunity to issue a refund, which they usually suggest will be issued within 14 days. Personally, I find it unacceptable that customers should have to wait an extended period for a refund, especially in circumstances where a customer is left without an appliance and needs the funds to purchase an appliance elsewhere.

They may issue the refund promptly, but if they fail to provide the refund within 14 days, you are then entitled to claim your money back through your Bank, in accordance with Section 75 if you paid by Credit Card or a ‘Chargeback’ if you paid by Debit Card.

The law is on your side and you are legally entitled to a full refund, but you will probably need to take a tough approach with Currys, stand firm and don’t acceptance any nonsense.

joanne wareham says:
26 June 2022

yes i purchased a frost free fridge freezer which its not i know my fridge i am doing nothing wrong i am furious veg compartment is always with water and underneath

Hi Joanne – Almost certainly the drain hole at the back of your fridge-freezer is blocked. Here is a video showing how to deal with this problem with very little effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOEODVb4a8o Your instruction booklet should explain how to do this for your product and it is important to do this regularly with frost-free fridge-freezers and fridges.

I see that a blocked drainage hole is listed by Which? as one of the most common problems with fridge-freezers.
https://www.which.co.uk/news/article/seven-common-fridge-freezer-faults-and-how-to-deal-with-them-az4MH5L88VwT