/ Technology

Have you been caught out by Currys PC World’s Knowhow set-up service?

Plenty of us have been caught out by a sales tactic at some point. Most recently, a number of you have told us how you’ve fallen for one used by Currys PC World…

Update 04/02/2020

Another year on and we’re still seeing reports of these selling tactics taking place at Currys PC World stores.

This isn’t good enough. We’ve sent legal warnings and followed up multiple times over the years; in March last year we stated we were considering our options to ensure this behaviour is brought to an end.

To do this, we continue to need your help. Along with those who have commented recently, we want to hear as many stories as possible so we can bring this forward ASAP.

If you’ve experienced this sales tactic at a Currys PC World store, please get in touch in the comments or email:


The team will then put you in contact with me directly.

Update 15/03/2019

By Amelia Wade

For four years you’ve told us about Currys PC World pressuring you into paying for a set-up fee that should be optional.

We took these stories to Currys PC World and questioned its practices and each time it promised to clean up its act.

But as recently as January, you’ve told us this is still happening. Donald Oswald told us:

And they’re not alone. Since January 2015, more than 110 people have told us after buying online or seeing an advertised price they were told in-store they only pre-setup laptops left, so they had to pay an extra fee of up to £40.

So we’ve now sent Currys PC World a legal warning outlining how the practice could breach UK and EU consumer law.

We’re also considering pursuing all available options to make sure this unscrupulous behaviour is brought to an end. 

Our Consumer Rights Editor, Adam French said:

“It is very concerning that Currys PC World has allowed this unscrupulous practice to carry on for four years – despite repeated warnings and overwhelming evidence that it may be in breach of consumer law. Previous efforts from the company to resolve the issue have been woefully insufficient, so we now want to see it tackle the issue head on so no more customers are left out of pocket unnecessarily.”

And this is thanks to all of you who’ve shared your stories and helped those who got caught-out.

But this isn’t over yet. You’re our eyes and ears – if this keeps happening, we want to know. So tell us if you’ve experienced this practice, and in which store and what happened.

Original convo 16/03/2018

You’ve done your research, meticulously picked what you plan to buy, yet somehow a crafty yet appealing offer manages to get the better of you. The result? You end up buying something that you probably don’t need.

Whether it’s upselling of one product to a premium option, or a misleading offer, such as two items for £10, when you could buy both cheaper individually, many of us have fallen foul of a sales tactic at some point.

I definitely have. I’d popped into a shop to buy a new facewash, when a moisturiser caught my eye. Ten minutes later, I found myself being talked into buying a complete gift-box set of items, many of which I simply didn’t need. As a former weekend shop assistant, I thought I was wise to such sales tactics.

But it’s easy to get caught out, especially when the tactics are more sophisticated…

Currys PC World Knowhow service

Some of you here on Which? Conversation will be well acquainted with the ongoing saga of Currys PC World customers being ‘pressured’ into paying an additional £40 for their laptops to be set up, ready for use, with a USB recovery stick included. In some cases, customers were told that there were only pre-set-up models available in store, yet were still charged for the set-up.

This pre-set-up service from the retailer’s Knowhow tech support team is optional and advertised as so. Yet this doesn’t always seem to be communicated.

One commenter told us:

‘We have click and collected a laptop at Currys today, only to be told when we got to the store that it was pre-set-up only, available at a fee of £40. When we questioned it, Currys dropped the fee to £20. When we again complained that nowhere was this mentioned before the click and collect, and we didn’t need the laptop set up, Currys said it could take the stick [USB] out of the box and just charge us the normal price, leaving us with what I would consider a product that wasn’t pristine. We told Currys to forget it and have gone to John Lewis instead.’

Another commenter, Jaydeep Sarma, said:

‘Offered USB recovery stick for £40. Also a software recovery package for £8.49 pcm, which is on my direct debit and will be cancelled immediately. Nice salesperson but clearly working to local commission targets. Only went there as need a new PC and no time to wait for online delivery.’

History repeats

Over the past three months, nine separate Currys PC World customers have complained to Which? about incidents where they’ve had to fork out extra for a service they didn’t ask for.

Such stories suggest Currys PC World could be breaching the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations concerning ‘bait advertising’. It is also required to advertise the full price of a product bought online under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

What’s most frustrating is that these stories are nothing new.

We first raised the issue in 2015, after complaints were spotted on Reddit. At that point, we confirmed with Currys PC World that customers shouldn’t have to pay for the set-up as it is optional.

Last year, we once again spoke to Currys PC World, after more people told us here on Which? Conversation that the practice was still happening. Again, Currys PC World confirmed that the set-up service is an optional extra that customers shouldn’t have to pay for.

Complaining for change

Some of you, such as John and his wife, have been exercising your consumer rights and refusing to pay for the service:

‘My wife just back from Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird CPW today, which asked for £40. She flatly refused. The store handed over [the laptop] with USB for original price. 👍’

But too many are still falling foul of the sales tactic, so we’ve raised this yet again with Currys PC World.

This time, it has agreed to arrange refunds for those who’ve found themselves having to pay extra for a service they didn’t ask for.

The retailer has also asked for customers to email it directly at whichsupport@dixonscarphone.com to arrange a refund.

Plus, it’s told us that it will be rebriefing its stores to remind them that where only pre-set-up models are available, customers should not be charged for the service when they buy their laptop.

Have you fallen for a special offer that wasn’t so special after all? What did you do?


Schemes like Which? Trusted Traders should be a means to find an honest, competent and reputable trader. They are only of value if they are kept up to date and if regular genuine reviews are required from customers, whether satisfied or not.

I looked for car repairs, servicing and MOTs relatively near me. I only found one listed within 8 miles and that had no reviews.

I would have thought by developing this scheme on a much larger basis would be of great benefit to all consumers. It would no doubt require investment in staff, but better than those failed huge investments from the past. It surely has commercial attraction to appropriate traders, but perhaps could be made into a modestly paid-for service for non members of Which?

The only time I have found a local Trusted Trader when I needed one, he did a competent job at servicing my gas boiler, though he was frequently interrupted by phone calls. I called him the previous year and he said he would get in touch, but did not do so. I reminded him but he never arranged an appointment, so I managed to find another company that did the job.

I’ve found reliable tradespeople by a combination of recommendations and seeing examples of their work, but in the case of car or boiler servicing I would only act on recommendations of people who have the relevant experience.

Em says:
31 May 2020

If you need an MOT, check your local council depot. Many councils test their own vehicle fleets and, I believe, all MOT stations must be open to the public.

I certainly had no problem booking mine in with Surrey CC. Because they do not offer repairs, they have no incentive to cheat and should not call out failures that aren’t. The only down side is you will have to take it somewhere else for any genuine faults and return for a retest.

That is my plan for when my trusted garage closes or changes hands following retirement. I would prefer if all MOTs were carried out independently. I once had a car fail because it was alleged that two tyres were below the legal limit, which was certainly not the case. Had I not had a friend in hospital with leukaemia at the time I would have appealed against the failure.

MR R J SMITH says:
5 June 2020

Ordered an Indesit washing machine from Currys 17 March, including installation. Took 5 weeks of trying to contact them before they discovered they could deliver the next day. I had paid £25 for installation this did not happen. I spent the next 4 weeks trying to contact Currys without success. So contacted Mastercard who then refunded the £25. I have been a Currys customer for 40 years, not any more.

Enjoy your article. It’s really informative. Thanks for sharing this post. There is lot of complaints by customer relates to the pc support system.

ronald piollard says:
12 August 2020

i used pc world to recover data they recovered some but not the ones i would have preffered,could they have looked at these legal files and saw they were useful so ignored them.i had a dongle from elswhere they asked had i a receipt.this may be allowed but it is a cheek.

Jalal Sobbohi says:
15 October 2020

Currys PC world is one of the most dishonest, manipulative and corrupt business and organisations.
I noticed late yesterday at about 5.30 pm on 14 October 2020 and this morning at 8 am Currys PC World were advertising Microsoft Surface Pro7 i5 for £659. I took a print and went to the local Currys PC World to purchase this tablet . On my arrival there at 10 am, the price was £899 at the shop. I quiried it with the shop manager and I showed the print out to the him.
I simply asked how can they increase the price of a product by nearly 30% in a matter of 2 hours. His response was that the head office often do it to manipulate customers and this isn’t new to their stuff.
In my view this is a disgraceful, dishonest, manipulative and corrupt business. People should be aware and don’t buy anything from such a corrupt business and organisation.

Currys PC World does not have a good reputation here on Which? Convo, Jalal. It is possible to reserve and collect goods from one of their stores, which I presume would prevent the price being increased.

My mum has been seeing this “Product Support AG” in her credit cards account for a very long time apparently. Few years ago (2017) we bought a laptop from them and likely ever since the charge has been taken without realisation. I’ve started looking into it today and I find out that this is the case. Do you think I should bother and try speaking with the Curry’s PC. I mean by the looks of it, they do not wish to refund people in such cases. My mum went to the bank to see what they say and she was advised to contact Currys but I really doubt it would make any difference.

TenCoats says:
18 October 2020

Took a tablet and a laptop to C-PCW to have them set as original, after a week of outrageous ‘passive aggressive’ tech staff, both are now dead apparently….oh and its not their problem?

TenCoats says:
18 October 2020

Took a tablet and a laptop to C-PCW to have them set as original, after a week of outrageous ‘passive aggressive’ tech staff, both are now dead apparently….oh and its not their problem?

Hi TenCoats, factory resets can be done as simple DIY tasks, even on Windows devices. Hence no computer shop should charge much for them. An enterprising organisation would do them “while you wait”. But that would not tend to pressure you into buying new tech.

I think you need to get your devices back and take them to a reputable local independent shop.

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Catriona Gaikwad says:
31 December 2020

I have just had an unauthorised transaction on my current account of £40 for TeamKnowhow-cloud for a computer I bought a year ago. Are they going to do this every year?
Dec.31st 2020. Slipping this in on Hogmanay when the Scottish banks are closed is very sneaky.

Steve Moore says:
27 January 2021

I bought a laptop for my grandson about six years ago from Currys, I don’t remember agreeing to a care plan. A few months ago I clearef the debt on my credit card and then noticed I was still getting a charge for product support Ag which I always stupidly thought was a charge from the credit card company, I eventually worked out it was Currys, so I phoned the number which is on the credit card charge, that number doesn’t work, so I found an email address and requested a cancellation, they eventually got back to me and asked some security questions, when I replied I was informed that my answers did not match their records so they couldn’t help me, so I contacted my bank who said they would put a stop on the payments and send support Ag a letter informing them that I no longer wished to use their services. One month later they again stole money from my account so I contacted my bank again who gave me a refund and sent another letter to ag. This has happened three more times and still they continue to steal money from me. This morning I phoned Ag and was told they have no record of me or the payments. I guess my next step is close my credit card account

Adele says:
11 February 2021

Hi. I bought a laptop for my Daughter about 5 years ago from Currys and nothing was mentioned about backup payments. Oct/Nov 2020 Team KnowHow have taken £40 out of my bank!? Now last night my Daughter has tried doing some schoolwork and nothing is loading just errors saying backup storage?! I checked my emails today and noticesd Team KnowHow have emailed saying £40 payment hasn’t gone out of my account! Its an old account I hardly use.. so they have tried taking money again? Why after 5 years? I never signed up for this and now my Daughters laptop won’t work!!! GCSE work on there I’m furious. It says renew account to backup storage. I don’t know what to do?? Any help please

Hi Adele – I presume that you have purchased a five year subscription to a cloud backup service when you bought the computer. Here are current offerings from Currys, which could be different from what you have purchased: https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/search-keywords/xx_xx_xx_xx_xx/cloud%2Bbackup/xx-criteria.html

Hopefully your daughter’s data will not have been deleted but I expect you will have to pay for continued access.

Hi Adele,

Sorry to hear this.

It looks as if you may have been signed up for a Cloud Storage Backup service when your bought that laptop, see:-https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/help-and-services/repairs-and-maintenance/cloud-storage-80-commercial.html

That link gives the current service details and says “Card details will be required on registration, but no payment will be taken at this point. Your account will auto-renew at the end of your chosen subscription period (unless you notify us that you wish to cancel no less than 1 week prior to or no greater than 14 days after your subscription end date by completing the cancellation form) and your card provided will be charged.”

A phone number is also given: 0800 0121 909 you might get some help there.

From their FAQ’s page (see:-https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/help-and-services/repairs-and-maintenance/cloud-storage-80-commercial.html?tab=3) it says:

“How do I stop automatic renewal?
Automatic renewal can’t be turned off. We do this to stop you from forgetting to renew your account and accidentally losing all of the files you’ve backed up.
This is outlined in the terms of use for Team Knowhow Cloud.
The only way to stop automatic renewal is to close your account. You can do that by contacting us.”


“How do I cancel my account?
To close your account, you need to speak to us on the phone.
If you close your account, everything saved to the Cloud will be permanently deleted. So before you do, make sure you’ve backed it all up somewhere else.”

If a locked out backup service is blocking the proper start-up of your computer, that is out of order by my book. If your daughter’s files are also held locally on her PC, it should be possible to stop the backup service and allow the PC to complete its start-up (and resume her school work), but you might need a computer support person to help do that.

Ian Murray says:
12 March 2021

Just found out Iv been totally scammed by them , bought a tv in 2019 paid outright and they sold me a setup kit .
I have been paying them £17 per month through creation finance and thought it was to do with my car insurance.
How do I get my money back ?

Ian – You could write and ask for your money back if you didn’t agree to the monthly payment or it was not properly described or it was miss-sold.

Best make sure your car is properly insured at the same time.

Lyle says:
8 April 2021

I have just found out I have paid over £200 to Curry’s over the last couple of years in the form of a £5/month product support scheme ‘Product Support AG’
I am furious as I specifically asked not to have any insurance applied when I bought the product!
It is fraud and a disgusting show of daylight robbery in my opinion. I feel completely betrayed and will never buy from them again!

judy allen says:
10 November 2021

i started working for DSG twenty years ago in their call centre miss selling by stores as always gone on .

John says:
20 May 2022

I bought an HP laptop from Currys PC World last year for £650, after 2 hours of use at my desk we noticed the casing of the laptop had overheated, bowed out and cracked the case of the laptop.

We contacted Currys and they gave us the run aroun, taking the laptop on then returning it filthy and missing parts, then telling us to go into store then sayiong they will do nothing about it.

Eventually after many months i got hold of Alexander Baldock CEO of Currys and they gave us more months of run around and jumping through hoops, whereby i must take the laptop in and pay more money to have it evaluated.

No company is interested in doing the job and with the Covid malarky no PC company can even be bothered to reply to my enquiries.

Does the UK Government support RIP OFF uk (CURRYS PC WORLD) COMPANIES STEALING FROM UK CITIZENS ? and giving them the run around for years without taking any responsibility for the products they sell ??????

Currys PC World have STOLEN £650 off me by selling a dodgy sub standard laptop that melted after 2 hours of use.
This was over a year ago and they are still making me jump through hoops after lying and wasting my time, money and getting me to drive into store… where the store says they will do nothing.
CEO Baldock of Currys PC World needs an investigation by the International Banking Herarchies that Govern FRAUD in the UK…. they need to investigate companies that commit massive fraud on the people in the UK…..companies like CURRYS PC WORLD and CEO Alexander Baldock that have no respect for, or cognisance of the international “Rules based Order” that governs us all (apparently).