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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 15/03/2019

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 their practices and each time they promised to clean up their 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, Eleanor Snow 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?

Comments

I would like to see Currys PC World respond to Which?, issue a public apology and make available a claim form for customers to reclaim the additional cost they have had to pay for the cost of their laptop.

I’m not keen on promoting a compensation culture but as John says above, this has been going on for years and maybe having to compensate customers might act as a future deterrent.

I’m glad that there are still stores like Currys PC World as an alternative to buying online but prompt action is needed when companies step out of line.

Corporate apologies are pretty pointless. Like the stsndard “we take our responsibilities very seriously” trotted out as if that quells any concerns.

If Curry’s practice breaks consumer law then they should be prosecuted and penalised. If not, then publicity may be an alternative. A real deterrent that damages profitability or reputation might have some effect on CPCW and anyone else who seeks to profit by deception.

Which? should, I believe, be far more positive on this tactic if they really seek to benefit consumers. But then, so should Trading Standards if the practice is illegsl But is it? Which? suggests it is.

I’m not just looking for an apology but action to refund those who have been charged more than the advertised price.

Hopefully we will see a legal ruling that could provide a useful legal precedent. What the company seems to be doing is deliberately advertising a product that is not available at the advertised price, which is not the usual upselling that we have to put up with.

Isn’t one problem that you order a product online, go to collect and find that all they have “in stock” is the one with “extras”. If so, that is deception.

when buying online you have the additional protection of the Consumer Contracts Regulations. I had assumed that the problems related to laptops bought in store but maybe the same is happening with online purchases.

I think if you go into CPCW to buy a laptop on spec, so to speak, if all they offer is one with a back up then you can simply walk away; no one is forcing you to buy. My impression from posts over the years was that people had reserved online, or found there was stock listed, gone to collect and found it was not so. A comment in the intro says“‘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“.

OK, it’s online as well as in store. At some time in the discussions the technique was identified as ‘bait and switch’ and that comes under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

I expect that many would walk away, but consider the scenario that someone urgently needs a new computer because the old one is beyond repair. They may have travelled a distance to the store or they may have ordered online, only to find out that the only option is to pay more. It’s not surprising that some will pay the extra.

The whole point about this is that the company has shown no resolve to stop this switch tactic and it is persisting despite promises to the contrary. I conclude that it is being officially tolerated and condoned as a matter of corporate policy and staff in each store collectively feel under an obligation to pursue it for fear of the consequences of not doing so.

It has taken a long time for a legal warning to be issued and I hope that enforcement of that through the courts will not be held up while we quibble over the legal niceties and finer points of interpretation. From consumers’ point of view any ruling by a court would be useful since the present uncertainty is not conducive to fair trading. If Currys PC World are not acting in breach of the law then Which? can campaign for a change in the law and the general public can be given official warnings of the prevailing practice at their outlets.

I think Which? should also prompt manufacturers to ban the unsealing and opening of their packaging by the retailer without the purchaser’s specific consent.

It would be interesting to know whether ‘click-&-collect’ counts as distance selling.

Whether ‘click & collect’ counts as distance selling will depend on whether a contract was made. They would not apply if a product in stock was reserved for a few days. On the other hand if you paid for the goods and opted to pick them up from a store rather than have them delivered, a contract has been made. I do not know which applies in the case of the Currys PC World laptops.

You are absolutely right that this is not fair trading.

Reserve and Collect at CPCW does not involve payment until you go to the store. They simply reserve the item for you at the chosen store; they show which local store(s) have it in stock and say they’ll contact you if there is a problem.

Probably no contract is formed, just misleading practice if they show stock that you reserve but when you collect they say does not exist without prior warning?. Perhaps Which? could tell us on what legal grounds they can pursue CPCW?

michael says:
25 March 2019

I purchased a laptop 7 june 2017,in June 5 2018 from PC world the device wouldnt connect to internet .It was inside the guarantee ,so expected it to be fixed ! It was returned to me 10 days later NOT fixed and of course was now out of guarantee .It was not fixed by PC world all they wanted was more money from me to send away for repair ,which i refused nor would they consider a refund or a new device .I had to find a computor expert who fixed the device for me .Since then i was reading national newspaper and saw a small article in march 2019 about PC world mis selling and charging people for add ons that were not necessary or not asked for .I looked at my receipt and only then realised they had charged me £55 for setup and they had charged me twice for anti virus Mcafee, plus i was also sold another antivirus in July 2018 ,so three in all I have contacted the email address given in the newspaper article and they are dealing with my complaint Atm.I hope to be fully refunded for the miss selling which amounts to about £170

Michael, you do not say what the computer expert found wrong with your laptop, and fixed. It would be helpful to know.

I presume that if the fault was covered by the guarantee and the product was “repaired” but the repair failed then it should have been dealt with under guarantee by CPCW.

The protection provided after 6 months by the Consumer Rights Act requires you to show their was a fault from new. However, such a “fault” would include lack of durability if it was a physical fault and you should be entitled to some proportionate redress.

I guess one of the problems with computers is that added software can cause problems that are not of the PC’s own making.

Chloe says:
7 May 2019

Unfortunately curry’s still breach consumer rights act 2015.
I have been in an ongoing dispute with them about my dyson vacuum cleaner bought June 2018 for £299.99
The hoover stopped picking up and also has a tear in the wire housing exposing electrical wires. I spoke to them 9th April and they advised to contact dyson for repair, I did and dyson stated they cannot come out to repair for 2 weeks, I spoke to curry’s again and this time sent them a request for refund templated by which? After seeking advice,
I am entitled to a refund of up to 100% after a failed attempt at repair
The consumer rights act 2015 states
Any attempt at repair must be within reasonable time and must not cause the consumer significant inconvenience, in my case not only do I have 7 children and a large home, I have a partner with autism and adhd and has ocd traits as one of his major problems, any mess that is left would cause him a decline in mental health so I quickly replaced the vacuum myself on the basis that my rights entitle me to a refund
After going backwards and forwards with their team know how via email they told me to ask dyson for an uplift number, dyson resounded that curry’s know full well they do not provide uplift numbers after 28 days, curry’s then aid my only option is to go into store, so I did any they just happen to be the rudest of manager there that I have ever dealt with (I have it on film) he refused point blank to refund, laughed at me that I have had the item for nearly a year and should never expect a refund and refused to show me the consumer rights act that he follows and also walked off and said he isn’t dealing with me anymore, he then proceeded to phone dyson and ask them to book it in for repair for what reason?
I had already gone through this nearly a month ago and purchased a new vacuum. I then posted about my experience on their Facebook page where they told me they would help and even apologised, then when it comes to private message they state that actually the tear in the wire housing doesn’t constitute as a fault and when u reminded them that the item must be fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality and for a reasonable amount of time, he refers back to that his opinion is that it isn’t a fault!
Where to go next??

Debbie Cruddas says:
7 May 2019

I bought a pair of Beats Studio 2 headphones from currys in Nov 2017 with a 1 year warranty. In April 2018 sound in one of the headphones stopped working. Currys out of warranty dept told me as they don’t stock this item anymore and they don’t repair it they would offer me £128. I have offered to pay the additional £25 for the next model (costing £245) but they have not responded. What can I do?

Hi Debbie,

A good starting point is the Which? guide here:

which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

I’d expect a £220 set of headphones to last several years if treated right.

So you may have to prove to Currys that the failure isn’t your fault and then argue that, this close to the date of your original purchase, they should refund in full or provide a replacement.

Their offer of £128 seems to assume depreciation of about £70 per year, which implies an effective working life of only about three years. Personally, I’d hope for much longer that that from a £200 set of headphones.

M Ward says:
12 May 2019

Had the same terrible experience buying a laptop from Curries, pressured into buying the setup in store and then the laptop kept freezing, crashing, programmes not working etc.
Took the laptop back to currys and it was a nightmare getting a refund, ended up having to have four separate trips to curries and wasted over 5 hours in all. Customer service non existent, staff incredibly rude, unhelpful and obstructive. They seem to think there is no such thing as consumer rights and tell blatant lies as to what you are/ are not entitled.
Terrible company, I will not use them again.

AJ says:
16 May 2019

I have my macbook air for 5 years I look on the Apple website it said I covered by consumer law for 6 years but they are refusing to fix it my computer was working fine until now it started having lines at the bottom of the screen then it got worse the lines are everywhere and I can not log in or do anything on it I show to apple they said it is display and graphics issue and that if I want it fixed I should pay £460 for it even though it wasn’t even my fault and it is a hardware issue

Hi AJ, is the problem anything like this one?

youtube.com/watch?v=uBB_Wb5SGFA

If so, it might only be that the video cable needs fixing, as opposed to anything more expensive.

One way to check that would be to try connecting your Mac to an external display. If you can get a desktop up on an external monitor, then the circuit boards inside the Mac are likely to still be OK.

Can you say which model of MacBook Air you have, AJ? This can be found on the back cover near the hinge. As Derek says you can use an external display for troubleshooting but you would need to have or borrow a suitable adaptor to connect it.

It is always the retailer that is responsible for faulty goods, so Apple has no responsibility unless you have bought the computer from them. Many retailers will tell you that you must take the matter up with the manufacturer and if they do you can say that they are breaking the law. I suggest you push for a repair, which is possible for MBA of that age because the other legal alternative would be to offer a partial refund, which might not amount to much for a five year old computer. Best of luck.

Looking at secondhand hand values on the CeX website ( webuy.com/search?stext=macbook%20air%205, ) typical ~2012 MacBook Air’s seem to have residual values around £200 – £300, so I guess they are worth repairing, but not if the repair cost is over £400.

Apple Stores are notorious for quoting very high repair prices and for operating from a monopoly position on parts availability. Using Windows PC’s can be much less costly – I’ve just acquired and upgraded a 10 year old Dell Windows 7 desktop to produce a reasonably capable home server running Windows 10 professional and all for a measly £30. Along the way, it was interesting to confirm that free upgrades to Windows 10 are still available.

The convenience of having a portable computer undoubtedly adds to the cost and bear in mind that the average desktop PC mouse is thicker than a MacBook Air.

The cost of a repair should not put AJ or anyone off making a claim under the Sale of Goods (which was the relevant legislation until it was replaced by the Consumer Rights Act in October 2015) since a repair should be free to the consumer.

wavechange – the size and shape – including the height a decent PC mouse should be determined by ergonomic to give a good fit to the user’s hand. Otherwise, it may feel unduly cramped and might carry undue risk of promoting repetitive strain injuries.

That said, I’m sure you weren’t trying to suggest that there should be a “size matters” arms race to reduce the thickness of PC mice.

As someone who now regularly carries a portable computer (or, sometimes, more than one such device) I really do appreciate having something small, thin and robust, with a long battery life.

I can see that, over the last 10 years, MacBooks have led the design revolution there. Most small laptops now use the same basic design internal layout though, as judged by the ones I’ve dismantled for various purposes. I recently splashed out £90 for a nearly new 14″ HP Stream as a “sand box” machine for my computer buddy activities. Previously, I was mostly using my 11″ Chromebook for that, but I’ve now decided to ring fence the latter for online banking and a few other benign activities (e.g. posting on here).

AJ: as Wave says you need to take this up with the retailer – not Apple itself, unless you bought directly from Apple. Apple is outstanding at honouring the six years stipulation in my experience, but if you didn’t buy directly from them you may have a problem with the retailer, since many will attempt to evade their responsibility. Good luck.

FED UP CUSTOMER says:
23 May 2019

I bought a HPs pavilion laptop on 1st April 2019 from Currys pc world, paid for the monthly service and repair fee. To only have issues with my brand new laptop which wouldn’t connect to the BT wifi router.
I spent those 7days trying to call the tech dept and never got through. I wasted a whole lot of money on airtime waiting in the queue.

They never even bothered to provide a flash drive with windows 10.

I recently was scammed by those BT fake callers and got seriously worried. I honestly thought they would help me.

Being new to the country, totally unaware of all the UK scams. Not impressed at all.

So now I sit with this very good looking paperweight and I only got about 2days use out of my laptop before everything went to the …

I refuse to fill in Currys pc questionnaire email. Want NOTHING to do with them.

I even sent HP an email telling them they need to be careful who they allow to sell thier products.

Totally disappointed and disgusted with this whole situation I am in.
Being unble to reset so I can sell the laptop to someone who needs a laptop. Never Again! Will i purchase anything from Currys or an HP product, because they even wanted to charge me money in order to help me get my laptop up and running properly.

Hi Fed Up,

Sorry to hear about this.

Here’s a link to a Which? article that explains your basic rights in respect of faulty goods:

which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-do-i-do-if-i-have-a-faulty-product

If your new laptop has developed a hardware or software fault, then you should approach Currys and they must offer to refund, replace or repair, as appropriate.

As regards the matter of devices connection to your router, BT may also be able to provide customer support there.

If you fell prey to PC support scammers, did they manage to get a remote connection to your laptop? or did its inability to connection to the internet protect it from their unwelcome attentions?

David says:
7 June 2019

They sell second hand/refurbished as new.

I had to return, in turn, 3 headsets due to 2 of them developing faults within 24 hours and one faulty on arrival. One item was sold as a 2019 edition which I believe was the original version as the physical upgrade announced by the manufacturer didn’t seem present.

Each time I changed manufacturer and paid more suspecting this was a manufacturer thing, it took me till my third return and refund to come to realise they must have been second hand/refurbished items sold as new.

I had zero sympathy from the store staff, they even immediately tried to divert my anger saying it has nothing to do with them but the manufacturer! Atrocious customer service, they seemed to have been a bit red-faced when I voiced if they are selling me second hand goods.

Note I have working headsets on my PC aside from the one(s) I purchased, my hardware and software is sound as well as doing extensive diagnosis to conclude if it was me or the headsets.

Vaughn Preece says:
11 July 2019

Bought a tv from currys for £1500 after 14 months it failed I had took out know how cover and the tv was repaired it needed a new mother board, after it was return with the fault fixed its had an intermittent fault where the screen goes grainy and iv had to switch it off at the wall and it corrects it, only happens 3 or 4 times but it’s a £1500 tv. 6 months on and the original fault has came back it just switches on and off on and off I have to unplug it, if rang them and they are picking it up tommorow but I dont want it repaired again iv payed £1500 for a tv that someone needs to keep taking a screwdriver to and replacing the motherboard. Iv asked for a replacement to which they point blank refuse and say I signed a contract saying they can repair it 4 times before a replacement is offered. To which I’m unhappy with I just want the tv replaced. What do I do?

DerekP says:
15 July 2019

Hi Vaughn,

I think the legal point here is that, if a retailer tries to repair fault goods, but those repairs then fail, they must offer a full or partial refund instead.

See this website-www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/news-room/2016/shoppers-stuck-with-faulty-electrical-items-urged-to-use-their-consumer-rights.

where the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) say:
Repair doesn’t work? If you have one repair and it doesn’t succeed, you can ask for a full or partial refunding, depending on when the purchase was made.

And the general guide on this website-https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-get-a-faulty-product-replaced-or-repaired

Which? says:
“If an attempt at repair or replacement has failed, you have the right to reject the goods for a full refund, or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product.”

So if CTSI are correct, Currys are now legally obliged to offer some kind of refund. If they continue to refuse, you may need to take appropriate legal action. This may be something Which? Legal can help with, see their website-https://legalservice.which.co.uk/

The full refund only applies in the first 6 months, if using the Consumer rights Act. After that a reduction can be made for use. That might leave you aggrieved.

Buying from places that give a 5 year warranty is a good idea – JLP and Richer Sounds do, I think, and are probably better to deal with than Currys.

You need to deal through Currys but worth writing to the manufacturer explaining the two faults you keep experiencing. They may help.

Historically, Currys have never shone in this area. One of my brothers once had bother with them over a camcorder. More than 20 years later, he still refuses to buy anything from them.

I had boycotted Currys and PC World, mainly because they were determined that I should do with manufacturer if a fault occurred, when goods were covered by the guarantee or outside guarantee but covered by the Sale of Goods Act. Once Comet closed down, Currys were the only large electrical retailer round here. Many people found Comet as bad but I generally had good service from them.

I also preferred Comet, with their staff being more helpful and less pushy. Those factors may have contributed to their demise.

Hereabouts we still have Argos while some John Lewis stores are just a short bus or train ride away.

Colin Jenkins says:
30 July 2019

It gets worse. Today after the incredibly frustrating up-selling (I told the guy I was a software developer but it had no effect) I was finally told that the OS “is not installed on this PC” (MS Surface Laptop 2) and that they could “install” it for £40. I walked out as I knew this was a lie (and because they refused to supply a VAT invoice unless I created a business account). Disgraceful tactics. Happily Argos was 2 doors away and the laptop was cheaper and no up-selling and a link to a VAT invoice.

So wow, this is embarrassing, I’m normally pretty onto of my budget and monthly outgoings, cancel old direct debit etc. But I don’t normally review my actual statements unless I’m looking for specific notable amounts, however for four years, I’ve been paying £3.50 per month for “product support AG”.
I always refuse insurances especially of this type. I’ve built computers for years, and am more than comfortable repairing or upgrading TVs and laptops myself.
It was only the off chance that I noticed this line item this month, that I searched it in my banking app and realised it’s not new, but for four year I’ve been paying for something that I never knew about, never asked for or would have wanted and worst of all never would have been able to use or claim from.
I not only feel embarrassed but I feel betrayed by a company that I have previously favoured for their excellent price match offer.
The fact that it automatically rolls over with no attempt to contact, or confirmation or validation that the address or payment method or anything else is even accurate has also deeply upset me.
I’ve submitted my complaint today and fingers crossed I get some money back.

Cutler says:
3 August 2019

I bought a bathroom suite online Nov 2018 as it was in a sale. As we are renovating we have only today opened everything . Side panels of the bath are missing, no legs/feet for the bath and the sink has a huge hole in it.
They are refusing to replace anything but sending bath legs as a good will gesture. It comes with 10 year warranty. Surely they are then still liable? Usually all packages bought online are checked but this was overlooked as we were so busy .

I think you have left it far too late to examine the bathroom fittings and seek replacement for missing and damaged items. You are now dependent on the goodwill of the supplier who might be prepared to sell you the missing bath panels at a discount and to replace the washbasin. It would not be reasonable for a retailer to remain liable for the completeness of an order for an extended period, and the lack of the bath panels should have been fairly obvious at the time of delivery. The Consumer Rights Act enables a customer to reject goods that are faulty or not fit or purpose within thirty days of delivery.

Cutler – I had intended to edit the preceding comment but this was prevented by a system glitch. The Consumer Rights Act does allow for the rejection of goods beyond thirty days with provision for replacement, repair or a partial refund, but that is in the context of a fault that has developed or has become apparent in use. The defects with your bathroom suite were present at the outset and could have been reported within a reasonable time of delivery.

See the Which? Guide to your consumer rights here –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act?msclkid=6b5db27b0eca1fa0efc0ef3d1687d321&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=**Consumer%20Rights%20Act%202015-%20Exact&utm_term=consumer%20rights%20act%202015&utm_content=consumer%20rights%20act%202015

Paula says:
8 August 2019

It’s still happening at Curry’s. Went to a local store in the TW postcode area today and was told that they charge £40 for a backup version of Windows 10, and it’s needed as there is no other reinstall version that comes with the pre-installed software. Luckily at this stage, I’m only browsing for a friend, but I’m loathed to hand over money to them which I know is totally unecessary, but don’t want friend to get caught out should they need to have a backup copy in the future.

You could take along a tablet or laptop and show them this Conversation, Paula.

DerekP says:
8 August 2019

Hi Paula,
As noted elsewhere on this Conversation, anyone with a working W10 pc and a spare usb stick can easily download W10 and the software for making recovery media.

A few years ago, this was not as easy as it is now. Memories from those days make it easier for cow to sell their backups by means of “hurt and rescue”.
So I agree that your friend doesn’t need to be hit with this extra expense.

As a devout coward, I’d probably prefer Argos if I were buying a brand new computer.

DerekP says:
8 August 2019

Sorry, my spilling chucker just corrected “cpw” to “cow”

🙂 Maybe you were thinking of CPCW trying to milk their customers.

Stephen Clayton says:
10 August 2019

We purchased a Blu ray recorder from Curry’s/ PC world about a month ago from Canterbury store after opening the box we realised the incorrect remote control had been packaged we have been going back and forth to the store for almost 3 weeks trying to obtain the correct remote control and to be honest yesterday was going to be the last trip.
Yesterday we had the great fortune to be assisted by Renata a duty manager who miraculously was able to replace the remote control overnight which makes me wonder why none of the other members of staff we spoke to we unable to provide the level of service shown by Renata.
I would just like to say how professional motivated and customer ordinated Renata was , She was an absolute asset to the company.

Yours Sincerely
Stephen Clayton.

Russell McLean says:
20 August 2019

I bought a Lenovo notebook from Currys in Exeter, Devon in July 2018.
When I got it home I saw that the agreed price included a ‘ Know How ‘ set up fee of £20 which I had been unaware of, and presumably affected their ” price match promise” guarantee.
The notebook was faulty from day one, and despite sending it back to Currys ‘ Know How ‘ three times, it was not until I contacted Lenovo that the problem was rectified ( taking just seven days ).
I bought this notebook to replace an HP laptop that I had purchased from Currys in 2017, which had also had a problem from day one and which I had given up on after also sending it to ‘ Know How ‘ three times without a result !

Bye Bye Currys

M. Jenkins says:
25 August 2019

I purchased a LG smart TV from Currys for my autistic son. 8months later it developed problems. Currys solution is to send it to the manufacturer despite and my son would be without his TV for upto 30 days. Despite me making it clear that this would cause my son immense distress and offering to purchase a more expensive TV they refused. I am now in the position where I have to purchase another TV so not to cause my son any unnecessary distress. Shame on Currys

This is what the guidance (for the supplier) on the Consumer Rights Act 2015 has to say about repair time. Essentially you can claim inconvenience and distress because of your special circumstances. If your son has no access to another tv then I’d suggest you ask Curry’s, in this particular instance, to loan you a tv for the duration of the repair. I’d further suggest that 30 days may be considered reasonable under normal circumstances, so I’d approach this on the basis of trying to get goodwill from Currys.
“You must provide the repair or replacement within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience to the consumer. This means that if the repair/replacement work takes too long, or causes significant inconvenience to the consumer, the consumer would have the right to reject the goods for a refund or demand some money back (see “7. The Final Right to Reject or Reduction in Price (2nd tier remedies)” for further detail on these remedies).
GOODS: Business Guidance
45
On the other hand, once the consumer has asked for a repair or replacement they must allow you a reasonable time to complete the work without changing their mind and opting for the other approach or rejecting the goods using the 30 day right to reject. However, if it would cause the consumer significant inconvenience to allow you this time, then they do not have to do so.

To decide whether significant inconvenience has occurred, the nature of the goods and the purpose for which the consumer acquired them are to be taken into account. Beyond this, the Act does not specify what counts as significant inconvenience as the impact on the consumer will vary from case to case, but the consumer must be able to demonstrate that they have been significantly affected in some way – it is not sufficient for them to simply change their mind. Significant inconvenience is a broad concept. Factors that could be considered in determining whether significant inconvenience has been incurred in particular cases could include – but are not limited to –impact on health or safety, financial loss, whether the consumer has access to an alternative or temporary replacement

The retailer is obliged to handle claims relating to faulty goods but Currys have a long history of referring customers to the manufacturer. Unless things have changed, the leaflet accompanying a receipt indicates that they may refer you to the manufacturer. I have stood my ground as a matter of principle but it has been time consuming.

Pursuing legal rights relating to inconvenience caused be not having a TV could take a long time and I suggest that if having access to a TV is important for your son, try pushing for a loan TV as a matter of goodwill or buy and keep a spare one.

A cold heart and the lack of a sense of goodwill are the only faults I can find in Currys PC World’s policy in this case. There seems to me to be no breach of consumer rights.

What would they be expected to do with the broken TV if M. Jenkins’s offer to purchase a new model was accepted [presumably at the difference in price]?

Much as I criticise CPCW over some of their trading practices I feel they are not operating incorrectly here. It would be interesting to know how other retailers, such as Argos, John Lewis, or Tesco, would act in the same circumstances.

I agree. Some retailers used to offer a loan TV while the customer’s TV was being repaired, but there is no legal obligation unless this is part of the terms & conditions.

Those who have a phone contract that includes a phone are often offered a replacement, because they continue to pay for the service. Here is what one company offers: “f you’re a Pay monthly customer, you’ll be eligible for a loan phone for the duration of your repair. However, they’re subject to availability in store.

Please note: if you don’t return your loan phone or it’s damaged beyond repair, you could be charged up to £195. You could also be charged for any missing or damaged items (such as the charger).”

My experience with large screen TVs is that when they develop any fault they’re generally irreparable. We’ve had three large screen TV issues: one was severe ghosting of an image, another was gradual deterioration of a screen resulting in uneven light and dark patches, another was unexpected dimming. IN each case they were W? Best Buys.

Each was insured via our bank through Dom and Gen. In each case the repairer would come, take the TV away and between three weeks and a month later we’d be told it was uneconomic to fix and would we like to choose a new one.

Now, if a fault develops we simply buy another set, then when the old one is replaced by DomGen, we give the replacement to a family member. Our children think we’re wonderful 🙂

In a modern TV, most of the electronics are on a single board, failure of which is likely to make the TV beyond economical repair. It’s possible to replace a faulty or damaged screen or backlight but that is unlikely in a customer’s home. Whether faulty TVs are stripped to recover working parts I do not know, but refurbished mobile phones are common. If your mobile becomes faulty you may be given a refurbished one that is likely to be cosmetically in better condition than the original. It means less waste and less delay than repairing the customer’s phone.

Luci says:
30 August 2019

I have just bought my daughter an HP stream laptop. Just a small one to help her with her GCSE’s. She took weeks to pick the one she wanted, I worked extra hours to pay for it. When we got into Thetford store to pick it up, the sales man stated that the laptop had no real memory as windows took up so much, and basically, the laptop she had chosen was crap and I needed to buy one for about 4 or 500 quid to get a decent one. She looked as if she had been slapped in the face. She had been so excited to be getting her first laptop, I felt so bad for her. I asked the guy how did he think I was going to pay for it, and he just shrugged and said that he was obliged to tell me that the laptop was rubbish and she needed different one. He even went over to the more expensive ones and started to explain them to me. I told him that they were completely out of my price range, and that I wanted to leave with the laptop that she had chosen. We did, and she is really happy with it, but I thought he was quite rude. I would like a Samsung tablet for myself next week, and will go to John Lewis, I think.

DerekP says:
30 August 2019

Luci, thanks for sharing this account of typical CPCW upselling.
I too own an HP Stream (and other similar machines) so I can confirm that one is perfectly usable for simple applications.

I wonder whether the advice the Curry salesman gave was right or wrong. Have you looked at Which? reviews to see what they say about the laptop you chose? Does it have enough (spare) memory to handle all your daughter might wish to keep, both software and files, well into the future? I hope it does. Can the memory be expanded if necessary? If so this can be done when finances permit – it should not be expensive.

I don’t know if this is the version you chose but the review might be helpful https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/laptops/hp-stream-11/review

DerekP says:
30 August 2019

Malcolm, I don’t think there is any doubt that HP Stream models are low specification entry level models. But if those specifications meet your needs, then they are fit for purpose.
Within the field of inexpensive consumer laptops, I tend to think that HP and Acer make the best ones.

At the other end of the market, I prefer Lenovo ThinkPads but MacBook Pros are also nice.

It looks as if these laptops have little capacity for files and software but are provided with a one year subscription to OneDrive which provides plenty of cloud storage. With the move from traditional hard disks to solid state drives, which offer advantages but are more expensive, laptops often come will less storage than their predecessors with hard disks. Increasing the storage capacity involves replacing the drive with a larger one, so it’s not like adding more RAM, Malcolm.

If you are happy to store files online and use software such as Google Docs then a low capacity laptop can be fine but the having everything on the laptop may need considerably more space.

It’s good that your daughter is happy with her new computer, Luci.

Thanks for that link Malcolm and I agree with you ,most other system than Windows 10 can run on 2G without a expensive video card but it is the bare minimum and without a separate card a video driver (built in video to motherboard ) could use up 256mb of existing RAM from 2G .
What if she wants other features (apps ) and think of Windows 10 updates ,yes it will run —but how well after 6 months or a year of downloads and at what speed ?
A temporary “get out ” is using MS- “ReadyBoost ” (TM).
Checking it out that particular model cannot be upgraded as its integrated memory (no dimm slots ) ,neither can the drive as its also embedded , add a 64GB SD card to increase storage space/ micro SXHD card.
The computer has a slot for a MIcro-SD card .

Complaints about post updates by MS leaving no space on same model.

DerekP says:
30 August 2019

Actually most low and many medium priced laptops now offer no options for memory or hard drive upgrades. In effect this follows the precedent set by recent Apple PC’s. Usually, the only option for extra local storage is to add an SD card or a USB drive.

Duncan – That’s a good point about using an SD card etc. I do that myself but forgot.  🙂

As you know, I don’t use Windows, but on my Mac, the space taken up by the operating system does not seem to increase much because a software update removes old files as well as installing new ones. I had assumed that Windows does the same.

Is it not possible to use an external hard drive with these low-spec laptops? My concern is just how long this laptop will be useful with limited capacity, and when we are talking about sustainability that seems relevant. Should we not ask for the ability to add storage to keep these devices useful.

I have been told that SD cards are not necessarily stable longish term. If that were the case then storing data, that is required to be permanent, on them might not be a good choice. Is that correct?

I have not used Cloud, and my (naive) feeling would be I would not want to entrust my personal data and files to a third party. However, i may be totally wrong in that view.

My Manjaro linux does exactly the same thing Wavechange ,it even tells you if you watch it updating ,sadly Windows 10 keeps old files in yes- Old Windows Folder for at least 30 days but you can change that by programming ,its in case you need to roll back to the earlier version ,the command is-
ForFiles /p “C : path to folder ” /s /d -30 /c “cmd /c del @file”
I do not expect a child to do that.
So the simple way –
https://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/automatically-delete-files-from-the-downloads-folder-windows-10/
Be aware this website has trackers but not malware.

DerekP says:
30 August 2019

Malcolm, USB hard drives can be used. My Stream actually has 3 USB ports, so can easily be used with external drives.

Then buying an inexpensive laptop and upgrading later with an inexpensive external drive seems a good option? If the speed and computing capability meets your needs. Maybe when Which? review cheap laptops with limited storage they could pair it with a review of appropriate external hard drives to upgrade them in the future.

Looking at the link you posted, Malcolm, the machine reviewed has two USB 3 and one of the more recent USB-C sockets, so no problem in plugging in external hard drives. With any removable media there is a chance of loss of data or of the device itself, so backups are are as important as they always have been. Cloud storage is exceedingly useful for storing large amounts of data. I pay 79p per month for 50GB on iCloud but there are free alternatives. I would not store anything sensitive there.

Edit – Thanks for the information folks. Maybe we should find a relevant Convo to discuss computer specifications, local and cloud storage options and much more. At least we might be able to find information if future, but not here or in The Lobby.

I’m with you on that Malcolm. I have back up drives for everything and a nagging computer that reminds me to use them. Clouds are for rain and making the sky look majestic. Fly through them and they are just fog, no place to store anything. That’s blue sky thinking for you. No cloud no data. It could happen. CD’s are mine for ever, downloads are just there until someone decides to take them away. I do like to know where everything is and that I can access it when I want to without the internet if necessary.

One of the benefits of cloud storage is that files can be accessed from any connected device. For example if I take a photo on my old smartphone it is immediately available on the three laptops I use. I don’t have to worry that the phone has a very limited memory by modern standards. My old desktop machine is not used online these days.

You can plug in an external hard drive and many of the modern ones need no external power supply.

Two of my three Apple laptops don’t have optical drives and the same applies with many PC laptops. It saves power, makes it possible to make laptops thinner and since most laptop users no longer use disks, it saves cost.

“Maybe we should find a relevant Convo to discuss computer specifications“. Maybe, but my intention here was to explore ways of helping Luci make the most of her choice of laptop for her daughter.

I think we did that to start with but we have moved into more technical discussion.

Luci – I have some unfortunate memories of Currys in Thetford.

I would suggest going to 121 Computers in Diss if you want a more personalised and unbiased service when you buy your own laptop.The store has a good reputation, has a reasonable choice of products and can get anything in, and it stocks lots of accessories. Their advice is freely given and practical rather than sales-driven.

If you prefer to go to John Lewis in Norwich they are good on help and advice and general customer service but their range is more limited than it used to be because they now concentrate more on laptops, tablets and smart phones as the market has shifted in those directions, but that corresponds with what you are looking for.

I think 121 or JL would be worth the extra journey and in both cases you would be dealing with real and knowledgeable people instead of automata on a sales mission.

Both shops get very busy at the weekend and will be easier when the schools go back.

I agree with Vynor , I have many cases of this well advertised “Cloud Storage ” being hacked ,some less than a week old but I don’t want to look off topic so I wont post them.
Public Cloud is not the same as Business Cloud.

I hoped to find a Convo on cloud storage but could not find a recent one. I have posted in Kate’s Convo on Tech Talk instead: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/which-computing-editor-tech-talk/#comment-1573817

I would be interested to know more about the security aspects of using cloud storage, Duncan.

There is a bit here but unfortunately undated (as far as I can see), something Which? should address.
https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/external-hard-drives/article/external-hard-drives-vs-cloud-storage

Deleted and moved elsewhere. 🙂

Steven Williams says:
11 September 2019

Just went to PC world for a screen repair. They quoted me a deposit of 60 and the assistant suggested it would cost atleast 120 on top of that for the parts. I was still on board until he warned me that my laptop might come back wiped and they offer a backup service. I was astonished that they would end up wiping a laptop for a seemingly small black line on the screen??? He then offered this service at 90 plus a service charge of 50! I’m going elsewhere. What a rip off.

I agree that their charges for a backup are excessive, but suspect that they are just covering themselves against a claim for data loss and hopefully would not make a charge.

When I had a laptop repaired by Apple they made it very clear that I should have a backup and they would not be responsible for loss of data. That seems fair enough and in the event I did not lose any files.

The easiest solution is to use software that backs up everything on to an external hard drive or other storage device, so that software and files can be reinstated automatically. I used to pay for software to do this but now just use what comes with the computer.

Parts prices for available replacement laptop screens (etc.) can usually be checked via eBay and/or Amazon.

When my brother totalled the screen on his oldish Acer Aspire ultrabook a few months back, I could have obtained a replacement screen for about £45, but I didn’t think it was worth spending that much to repair that particular PC. Instead, I gave him an old Dell ultrabook from my collection and kept his Acer as “minature” desktop/media PC testbed. I also managed to pick up the HP equivalent of the Dell for £50 s/h, so rather than spend £45 on a component, I acquired a better machine for £50.

In general, I suspect local independent repairers are likely to be better and less expensive than CPCW. Also, those living within a reasonable distance of Swindon might benefit from the service of “project reboot” at their local charity ScrapStore. For that charity, the volunteers there rebuild and resell all kinds of donated PC’s, including a lot of old enterprise grade laptops, so I expect they might also take on repair work.

Screen repair Steven ? no way shape or form should that entail losing your programming on your SSD/HDD.
As a matter of fact if they fit a later LCD screen all that’s required is to update the drivers , if anybody likes to discuss the engineering aspects of this I will be only too glad to do so —-so please explain in engineering terms exactly why this will happen .
Wiping is wiping its a programmable action not a normal part of a screen repair , your screen is linked either to an inbuilt video processor on the motherboard OR a video card , I can switch to either although I have a high cost gaming card I can revert back to the boards video chip (or integrated ) without any need to wipe the drive.

I think it would be poor practice to send a customer’s PC away for repair, without first checking that the customer’s data was all backed up. Although I agree that a correctly carried screen replacement should not hazard any of the customer’s data, there are also risks of loss or damage in transport to be considered, as well as the possible outcomes of any “human errors” committed by repair technicians.

Given those considerations and our general knowledge of CPCW, it is hardly surprising that thy did not miss any opportunity to “add value” when offering to repair Steven’s laptop.