/ 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:

conversation.comments@which.co.uk

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?

Comments

28/11/2019
PCWorld at Battery Park, Selly Oak, Birmingham. Click and Collect on a HP laptop and was told that the “Set Up” was already done. I asked for a non-opened laptop but was told they had none for the one we wanted. The salesman snapped at me, which he did later apologize for, I said no thanks and on the way out saw the manager. He said he would sell the laptop to us at no extra cost, but I am not happy because I don’t know what’s been done to the laptop. I have it but not sure whether to take it back or not (it is still unopened)

There should be no problem if you want to return the laptop. From their website:
“An unwanted product can be returned for a full refund within 21 days of delivery as long as it’s still in its original, unopened packaging. This returns policy for unopened goods is in addition to your statutory rights and applies to purchases made in store, online or over the phone.”

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Hi Tom,

I really have no idea what PC World think they are doing, if they can “set up” a Windows 10 PC _before_ they know who the buyer is going to be.

For any brand new PC, I would expect that the manufacturer installs Windows 10 (or other OS).

Then, when that PC is switched on for the first time, the OS will allow its new owner to create user id’s and passwords and choose other preferences.

Unless they are employing very capable psychics, CPCW won’t be able to do any of that owner specific set up in advance.

I believe that CPCW also like to sell “recovery” USB sticks to new PC owners. Although that is a service that some might choose to pay a premium price for, Microsoft now make it very easy for anyone to make their own “recovery stick” (see:-https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/15088/windows-10-create-installation-media ).

Most new PC’s also come with built-in recovery media, so, usually, anyone can perform a “factory reset” without the need for separate recovery media.

So, all-in-all, I think paying for these extras at CPCW is a bit like paying for “mats & mudflaps” with a new car – i.e. it is paying for stuff that should really be included within the price.

Tom – to answer your specific questions:

1. What will PC World have done in the “pre set up” of your laptop?

My answers are (a) not very much and (b) nothing that you won’t be able to rework by immediately factory resetting your laptop. If your laptop comes with a built-in capability for that, then I’d argue that using it won’t void your warranty in any way. (But doing it will require reading or googling the instructions and CPCW really shouldn’t be putting you in the position of needing to do it.)

My partner bought a laptop from PC World Oldham last night. We were told there was an additional charge of £60(!!!) and the salesman implied that it was none optional and that if we’d ordered online we would also have to pay this. I’ve never heard of this and when we questioned it he offered to reduce the charge to £40. My partner was prepared to pay this although I was grumbling. We paid but on the way out decided it was a blatant scam and went back in to get the £40 refunded and take the laptop home there and then rather than wait another day for the “engineer” to create a backup disk. The manager told us he’d never known anybody refuse the backup disk. I said we just wanted a laptop, no extras, like we would have received if we’ve ordered one online for delivery. Lesson learned, never buy from PC World in store!

Kevin, thanks for sharing your experiences here.

All the sales staff are obviously working from a standard script here, as the reports we get are the same, irrespective of the store they come from.

Currys have always been infamous for this kind of point-of-sale up-selling. In olden days, they mostly focused on extended warranties.

Did they also try to sell you subscriptions for Microsoft Office 365 and for McAfee security software? I think those items are also on their sales targets.

CPCW have repeatedly reassured Which? that this practice had been stopped.

Indeed they have.

From a link in the introduction:

“Which? has now issued Currys PC World with a legal warning outlining how the practice could breach UK and EU consumer law. The warning states we will consider pursuing ‘all available options’ to ensure this unscrupulous behaviour is brought to an end. This could lead to enforcement action.”

@awade – Hi Amelia – It’s time that Which? takes legal action. It’s great that Which? identifies problems but unless they are resolved we could see more exploitation of consumers in future.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Go on do tell…

Well, it’s the 4th warning from Which? (apparently still not effective) and the possibility of a legal pursuit is mentioned but that seems to be 9 months ago. Meanwhile, Which? still promote this delinquent retailer – https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/12/best-currys-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-deals-the-best-offers-on-laptops-tvs-and-washing-machines/. Does that make sense?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thanks Duncan. I’m sure he doesn’t own Which? or it’s subscribers.

Hi Derek, yes we were also offered Office 365 and McAfee subscriptions but they were not as pushy about these, obviously they make more money from the recovery disks. They also offered the aftercare service. The thing that annoyed me most was the way in which they make you feel reckless and that you are making a big mistake and risk damaging the computer beyond repair if, for example, a driver gets corrupted. It really is an unpleasant experience, probably worse than dealing with car salesmen. To pick out a laptop that is in stock and then be told you can’t just take it away because an engineer first needs to complete a 3-6 hour process is just surreal. Thanks for listening!

Kevin, thanks for the reply. Pushing aftercare with a “hard sell” hurt-and-rescue pitch is exactly what Currys did in olden days, when they sold extended warranties.

These days, I find that Windows 10 is very easy to install and repair.

Hence, I think the most important thing home users should worry about is regularly backing up their precious data, i.e. either to local USB storage or to the cloud, or both.

Kevin says:
3 December 2019

Currys/Dixons/PCworld used to make at least 90% of their profits from extended warranties, as other people have said, it seems to be their strategy now to ‘up-sell’ poor value IT services to pad out their profits.

My mum made the mistake of buying one of their warranties on a TV years ago. The sickening thing was that, having ripped her off by the overpriced warranty, they then made her jump thro hoops to actually fulfil their obligation when the TV broke; pay up front for the repair; repair company kept it for over a month; had to reclaim cost from ‘insurer’. When I found out (noticed no telly on a visit) I contacted the ‘repairer’, it took a lot of threats, persistence, and strong words to get them to fix it and eventually get it returned.

Turns out the repair company (Mastercare) and the ‘insurer’ were both subsidiaries of CPCW, and they were playing a corporate shell game.

The business model of this organisation seems to rely on, at best, short-changing their customers. Personally I’d pay a few quid more just to avoid dealing with parasites like this; they exploit the vulnerable.

I’d like to see more proactive regulation too. I doubt their salespeople are sufficiently well trained to even understand their techno garble, and will blithely present alternative facts to make a sale. Trading standards should be investigating, and holding them to account if they are misrepresenting their products or services, bearing in mind the only thing they understand is their bottom line.

@abbysempleskipper – Hi Abby. I did try to get some input from Amelia, the author of this Convo: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/currys-pc-world-set-up-service-complaints/#comment-1581831

It looks as if Amelia has moved on, so I wonder if someone else might be prepared to pursue Currys PC World.

How about Trading Standards? If legal action is warranted then surely they are the ones to collate evidence and act on it? I presume some of the complaints made on Convos from disenchanted purchasers can be validated – at least, from those who register (surely one good reason to require commenters to register so they can be contacted directly about an issue they raise?).

Afternoon wavechange. Amelia did indeed leave Which? a while back. I’ll ask around to see what the latest is on this.

Thanks George. Hopefully it is isolated stores that are up-selling rather than national policy.

Ann O'Brien says:
8 February 2020

When I recently bought a HP Envy desktop system, they discovered after I’d paid that “it has already been out to someone else”. I said I didn’t want a second hand computer even though they offered me a discount if I took it. The then tried to sell me a system designed for gaming which was the last thing I would ever want to buy. I said another HP Envy would have to be ordered. They agreed. A couple of weeks later they contacted me to say it was ready, but as it was the day before I flew off on holiday, I said it would have to wait until I got back. In the meantime, I’d had to renew my Norton as it had expired. When I went to pick up the PC and get my files transferred by them for a fee (with which I was happy, as they no longer offered their excellent home set up service), I said I didn’t want their McAfee that I’d paid for as I’d had to renew Norton. They said as several weeks had passed since I paid, I couldn’t have a refund and I’d have to take a gift voucher. I find that the warranties etc run from the date I paid (for the second hand computer) and not the date I collected the new computer, which I think is unfair. I realise with hindsight that I should have cancelled the deal and got my money back when they found, after I’d paid, that they were selling me a second hand computer. In the past I’ve had very good service from PC World but I was really disappointed on this occasion as the service has gone down so much since I bought my last computer in 2012.

Simon says:
9 February 2020

A major issue here – if they opened it for the set up – it is no longer in it’s unopened packaging. PC World/Curry’s are rogues and I haven’t use them in recent years. Sad really as Curry’s used to be OK.

Teresa says:
3 December 2019

This has happened to us today! I ordered and my husband collected it. When he queried why it was £40 more they convinced him it was the right product and we had misunderstood the cost! I am going back later in the week armed with screen shots of this report and of the product description. I don’t have the time to do this and I’m furious as they will find out.

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Teresa, thanks for taking a stand. Please do let us know how you get on.

Teresa says:
5 December 2019

Returned today. Supervisor swooped as soon as we told the customer services staff what had happened and scuttled off with our receipt to find a manager. They refunded the £40 as a “gesture of goodwill” and said the sales staff would have explained it was optional. They don’t have the non set up in stock (however I checked and weirdly you can still reserve it online for immediate collection ). I explained that I know this is a long term common practice and deliberately done to exploit consumers but they wouldn’t be drawn on this!

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Well done Teresa. I hope you told them that their “gesture of goodwill” would be mentioned on Which? Conversation.

John Yuill says:
18 December 2019

Just found the recovery stick in the unsealed box of my new laptop, no mention from sales person, looked on bill and charged 10 pounds for it.
Going back to Curry’s at Westwood nr Margate to complain, john

My Dad has just been stung with this in the Coatbridge store. I ordered a laptop online for him to pick up for my Mum as a Christmas present. He told me when he got there that the assistant brought it out and said they had set it up for him. The box was opened and they told him it was £40. He thought that was the norm & just paid it. This is an 80 year old pensioner!

Shocking
Should be ashamed of themselves, targets over ethics!!

john harney says:
10 January 2020

Do not give your card details to Curry’s, PC World or Dixon’s Carphone Warehouse

I bought a laptop for my daughter in 2014 from Curry’s. I signed up for one year of knowhow cloud storage. I have just discovered they have used my card details to remove £40 per year from my account since the initial purchase. I have now contacted the knowhow team 8 times asking for the account to be closed and my card details to be removed from the system. To date they have refused to do this.

If this has been done by email you could discuss this with Citizens Advice, which should refer the case to Trading Standards. If it has been done by phone then it would be worth writing and using their reply as evidence. It’s always worth keeping records of time and date of conversations and the person you spoke to. Photographs are probably not relevant here, but can be very useful as evidence. Your credit card statements will provide evidence of the payments. Best of luck and thanks for the warning, John.

Kevin says:
10 January 2020

If you give a company your card details for a specific service or item tell them at the time you do NOT give them ‘continuous authority’ to take payments off the card.

Most Insurance companies and other subscription services will automatically assume you give them the right to plunder your account as a ‘helpful service’ to make sure you remain covered. Just stick a reminder in your smartphone/diary, and in any case, when they want your renewal money you can be sure they will make strenuous efforts to contact you for the necessary consent. And as wavechange says, log any phone calls in a notebook.

“Continuous authority” should require an annual (or appropriate) reminder that the contract will renew and the cost. Most of mine do this by post, but my broadband provider does not. I should not have to remember when they renew – the tactic used to get money from forgetful or less organised people. I prefer to avoid them where possible but some have their uses.

Is there any legal requirement to notify renewal of a continuous authority to allow time for it to be cancelled? Not that I can see – https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/recurring-payments/.

If not, perhaps we should ask Which? to campaign to ensure the customer is notified of any payments to be taken and the options to cancel explained.

Today I went to Currys/PC World in TRURO – it was the only one for miles that had the laptop I had been so looking forward to buying. I had done a lot of research and also being on a budget I had to be careful how much I was spending!
Aside from the sales assistant being extremely RUDE on meeting, I decided to continue as in desperate need for a laptop.
He said I had to pay for the setup and a backup USB, he also said this was MANDATORY – there was no option of just purchasing the laptop. The prices were also a little more than I’ve read. £45 for the setup and £40 for the recovery USB.
This would have taken the cost above £500 which was out of my budget – so I promptly declined and stormed out the store.

HOWEVER, I have just reserved the same laptop online and shall return tomorrow prepared after reading all the awful comments!! I am ready for them!!

You could have more fun if you turn up this Which? Conversation on one of their display laptops. There are five pages that you could show to the sales assistants. 🙂

Yes indeed.

Alternatively, you could tell them you don’t need Windows setup & backup media because you’re going to put a proper modern secure & spyware free OS (e.g. Linux) on it instead.

Luca Chana says:
16 January 2020

Purchased a £2000 MSI Gaming laptop that came new but in used condition… I had the manager of the store in Kingston arguing with me saying that I damaged the laptop etc… I would have gone in earlier if I did not work but eventually they refunded me… Never again!

Well done for getting a refund. I’m sure CPCW would be better behaved if more customers stood up for their consumer rights.

There is an encouraging update in the introduction to this Conversation:

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.

It would be great to see an end to this Convo.

There have been plenty of experiences reported over the last few years and the practice seems to continue, despite “legal warnings”. What needs “bringing forward” (other than action)?
I can’t feel encouraged when this has gone on for so long (like Whirlpool dryers).

I have not used Currys since early this century because of their sales practices, poorly informed salespeople (some of whom were prepared to, or trained to, blatantly lie to make a sale) and their non-existent customer service. Obviously nothing has changed in the last fifteen or so years. After my friend’s dreadful experience at CPCW’s partner company Carphone Warehouse with his first ever mobile phone contract, where money was taken from his bank account without him being aware that he had bought an ancilliary insurance product, I have avoided this company too. After twenty-odd years of dodgy selling, it is really quite incredible that one of the nastiest group of companies is still trading.

From what is being reported on this blog, it is evident that Currys are infringeing consumer law across the country on a regular basis. As Which’s previous unsuccessful legal warnings must have been considered at the very highest levels in the company, it is almost impossible to believe that these practices have not been given the nod, if not actually formally sanctioned, at executive level at least. That there has been no change at all suggests that what is being challenged is actually corporate behaviour.

Nothing so far has changed the company’s policies and the history of the firm suggests its whole ethos and culture is based on dubious sales tactics and misinformation. It seems therefore likely that repeating the same threats will bring out more of the same corporate platitudes and promises of change but actually make no long term difference at all. I suspect that only a direct legal challenge, a class action or something like that, which will bring national exposure and negative publicity and thus a drop in turnover, will have any real effect. Until potential customers know about the company’s dodgy tactics, lack of customer service, overcharging, etc., they will continue to look at the well-stocked stores and see all the advertising and the price promotions (many false, as exposed by Which) without being aware of the real situation.

Although I’m not familiar with this area of law, one thing about this whole saga does puzzle me. From some of the stories on this blog, we seem to be dealing with what appears to be breach of consumer law; false advertising; misrepresenting customer’s legal rights; breach of financial regulations in taking money from people’s accounts without their knowing and probably much more so does anyone know why Trading Standards are not investigating Currys?

I used to work for Curry’s in the 70’s and 80’s and it seems nothing has changed. I would try and be the best, most knowledgeable salesperson I could be. I would look at everything we sold and get to know how it worked, I would tell the truth to customers and still sell a good amount and always got a lot of repeat business. I was definitely in the minority though, even in those days. The people who sold more than me exaggerated and missold products, just so they could get the commission. In those days Mastercare was the service company and it was terrible. Most of the time, things were never fixed properly or there was generally shoddy workmanship on repairs.
I really don’t know how the company is still in business, as they seem to be worse now than ever. I never buy things, unless it’s batteries or something very simple. I would go to John Lewis, where you can have a much better chance of good service and product knowledge for more complicated things. At least there’s still good service somewhere on the high street.

martin, thanks for relating your experiences here. Given that these practices are far from new, I still find it surprising that many are surprised to encounter them. Perhaps for things like tech goods, many consumers do not feel qualified to act as informed customers and hence readily surrender to the attentions of CPCW sales staff.

Martin – You are lucky to have a John Lewis store nearby. Following the demise of Comet, the only major electrical retailer round here is Currys. I did boycott them for years because of their practices but I do like to examine products before purchase.

Currys believe I am in the store to buy something so the staff are programmed to pounce within seconds of entering. I am actually only there to look around or stay out of B&Q where I probably would buy something. I always associate Currys with poorly-tuned television sets with bad set-up characteristics [e.g. circular things never appear round].

Had this happen to me in Currys Plymouth today. Reserved online. Got to store and told (after a long wait and witnessing a long conversation on the other side of the store between my sales assistant and the store manager) that they only had a ‘Walk Out Working’ version of the laptop I reserved.

The cost was £49.99 and that was that. I complained to the assistant that I had driven down to collect my confirmed reservation. No it is all they have and I have to pay. I was then taken to the same store manager who he had talked to at length earlier, who said I didn’t need to pay the £49.

I got a very strong impression that they were trying it on and my vocal resistance bought the scam to and end.

I have now registered the laptop with HP only to see HP say it only has 9 months warranty remaining (guessing it is 3 months since they did the WOW stuff which seems to mostly be installing some Currys bloatware and a cheap memory stick in the box)

I am now disputing the warranty with HP but if I dont get my full 12 months there will be trouble. Especially as I have spent all evening setting it up.

Also their GDPR procedures seem very suspect. I was told I had to give my email and address details for the manufacturers warranty. Which seems incorrect and they are now holding my data with no need and no agreement.

Jonathan, sorry to hear this but thanks for sharing.

If the advertised warranty is 12 months and you only ended up with 9, then that ought to be grounds for a product return or exchange.

I think Windows 10 already comes with far too much bloatware, even without yet more from Currys.

Jonathan, Which? are collecting information on these tactics to put a case together against Curry’s – or so it seems. The intro says “If you’ve experienced this sales tactic at a Currys PC World store, please get in touch in the comments or email:

conversation.comments@which.co.uk

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

I hope you will give all the information to them. It is time some real action was taken.

I have only just learnt about this practice; I bought HR Pavilion Laptop as recently as this month and got talked into purchasing this set up for £40, is there anything I can do retrospectively about it.

Hi Sylvia, as suggested above, you should share the details of your case with Which? – see malcolm’s post above or the header article on this conversation.

In summary, it can be argued that you have become a victim of “bait and switch” selling, which is illegal under the 2008 Unfair Trading Regulations.

Hence, you should be able to go back to Currys and ask for a refund of the extra £40 that you were persuaded to pay.

To help argue that, you can take a copy of this conversation with you.

Currys may argue that they have provided a useful service to you. However, I think that is a rather dubious claim, because any new Windows installation includes easy setup steps that are best done by the system owner.

Also, the USB recovery media they include are of limited value because (a) most PC’s have built in recovery media and (b) Microsoft allows anyone to easily download their own recovery media.

I went to the Croydon (Purley Way) store and asked to purchase a Lenovo S340 Laptop.

I was informed by the assistant that there was ‘one left’ in stock and when he produced it, commented that it had already been loaded with ‘Windows 10’ and that it would save me about ten hours waiting for it to load, if I did it myself.

At no time was I told that it was ‘chargeable’ item, the impression being given that it was done for customer relationship / convenience.

Having returned home and checked my receipt, I realised I had been charged for this download – something I was capable of doing myself.

I’ve emailed Currys on the link provided and await a refund.

John, thanks for sharing your news.

You were lied to by that sales assistant.

1. All Windows PC’s come from the manufacturer with the OS already installed.

2. It takes less that one hour to install Windows 10 on a normal PC.

I hope you do indeed get a refund from Currys.

Hi,

I’ve just been charged an extra £10 for an online reserved laptop at CPCW Tottenham Hale because the laptop I bought had already been ‘set up’ (HP Pavilion 14-ce1511sa). When I questioned this with the girl on the checkout she didn’t have a clue what was going on or what I was being charged for and went to speak to the manager twice, who I never actually saw.

I thought it was a bit strange but I couldn’t be bothered with the discussion for the sake of £10 after a long day of work. I’ve since found this thread and want to make it known that CPCW are still ripping people off with this rubbish.

I’ll be in contact with them to make sure it’s known and will email the address provided for a refund.

Thanks for the thread.

V Keywood says:
7 April 2020

It’s not just computers, I bought a washing machine from Currys and paid for delivery, installation and removal of the old one. When the delivery and installation men turned up they looked at the pipework under the sink and said I would have to get a plumber in. The plumber, (time off for his appointment and £60) said that the delivery men didn’t appear to know what an isolating valve looked like! I then had to arrange for the delivery/installation men to come back, install the washing machine andtake away the old one which meant more time off. I have had the usual customer service emails and texts from Curry’s which I’ve replied to as I think they should refund the £60 and had no response.

Kevin Potter says:
28 April 2020

Not directly related to this thread but I thought it may be useful to point out that Currys have now closed down their customer services email account and the minimum phone wait time for any issues is 60 min (I was on for 90 and gave up). There argument seems to be the reduced service is because of Covid-19 but you can still purchase online instantly and get through to their phone sales line within 5 min.
It seems customer service is optional and it’s their choice as to whether they want to provide it or not

Ruth Kirkbride says:
2 May 2020

I have definitely been caught out by the cloud storage scam. I have an auto renewal coming out of my account, I have been trying for the past year to sort it out but they keep telling me the email address it is logged under does not match anyone in my household (same surname !). I can’t close the account I never set up as I don’t know what email address they have, obviously a scam in their part. Firstly they said it was registered to an AOL account and now saying a GMAIL account, neither of which anyone in my household have had. The payment comes out of my bank so next stop is to see if the bank will block the unlawful payment

ROB APPLEYARD says:
30 May 2020

I took my HP laptop for repair to PC world in Kings Lynne whilst at our holiday lodge on the Norfolk coast in the summer of 2015. My partner had spilled wine on the keyboard and the machine had failed. I originally bought the laptop at PC world in 2008 who had installed the operating system and had that on record so was happy to take it to my local PC world shop. It was repaired by “knowhow” who claimed to have needed to replace the hard drive and keyboard. Three years later I had another problem with the same laptop but my brother (a computer engineer) was local and agreed to look at it for me. He discovered the “new hard drive” PC claimed to have fitted was a pre owned one with evidence of that on it, although not the original one fitted by HP as its date of manufacture post dated the purchase date of the computer.
My brother also doubted that a hard drive could be affected by a simple spillage on the keyboard as I had described it, so it looked very much as if “knowhow” were installing used hard drives into machines taken in for repair, and the customer charged (excessively) for a new hard drive which was not actually new and likely not needed in any event.
Given the time frame and the fact I had since moved home by the time the irregularities came to light, I never actually took this up with PC world, so have no feedback to offer on any response they might have made if I had done so.

Nothing will surprise me about Currys PC World but a minority of repair companies have been cheating customers for as long as I can remember. Years ago I took my TV in for repair, having failed to fix it myself. I was charged for a new inverter board and when the fault recurred soon after the ‘repair’ I looked inside and saw that the part had in question not been replaced. Trading Standards refused to help, saying they would wait and see if other similar were reported. Mentioning that I had contacted TS resulted in a refund being posted through my door soon after.

There are enough people who dismantle their own computers to make it a bit risky for anyone to fit secondhand parts, unless that has been agreed with the customer.

Rob – That is an interesting example of poor customer service in a situation where you would expect better and a more honest approach [well, depending on the company involved].

The problem is you asked Currys PC World to repair your laptop which they duly did and got it working again. Contract fulfilled. I expect the ‘Know How’ fix it function was following internal company policy so the individual staff responsible are possibly innocent on the grounds that they were only following orders.

The lesson, when placing an order for repair of a product, is either to specify that if any replacement part is to be fitted it must be a brand new original equipment manufacturer’s [OEM] part subject to your approval of the price of the repair, or alternatively to allow any working part with the same performance characteristics to be fitted [and in the expectation of a lower price]. This is a bit of a rigmarole but worth it to avoid getting ripped off by dodgy repair services.

This is a case that Which? should add to its dossier whenever it gets round to tackling Currys PC World on their other shady behaviour around upselling with new laptops.

Over recent years, I’m sure previous posts about Currys PC repairs have also mentioned their use of secondhand parts.

I’m quite happy to use secondhand parts in my own DIY PC repairs, when they can be purchased for a fraction of the new price. UK based vendors on eBay are my usual source for such items.

But I somehow suspect that Currys always charge their customers for new parts, even when using secondhand ones.

From a sustainability viewpoint there is a lot to be said for reusing pre-owned parts but the customer should be given the choice together with information on the price difference. Fixing one three-year old device with a component recovered from another one of similar age is inherently a good idea but to charge for a brand new one is dishonest.

Firms will no doubt claim that holding stocks of used parts in case a repair job comes along is neither economical nor efficient – so they would need to explain why they do it.

In some cases a brand new but non-OEM part would be acceptable [and possibly cheaper].

The consumer should be given the facts and all the options. Ideally the company’s policy should be clearly presented in information at the repairs desk because in most cases it would probably not occur to the average customer to ask.

I have no problem using pre-used parts but I want it to be my choice to use them not underhandedly used by repairers charging for new parts.

Using new parts should fix the problem if was correctly diagnosed in the first place.

If the problem still continues using second-hand parts, then the second-hand part could be faulty or the problem could lie elsewhere and you may have been sold unnecessary parts and repairs. Either way, you are faced with a second bill for repair.

Some of you may remember my dad and Curry’s some years ago now.

Every few months or so he would manage to check or uncheck something that preventing him going onto the internet – can’t remember exactly what now. A phone call to me and I would have him back to normal again in a few minutes. On one occasion he didn’t want to bother me so phoned Curry’s.

Curry’s charged £130 an hour for the home visit. Without looking into the problem, the technician reinstalled Windows from scratch and when the hour was up stopped and left leaving my dad with no computer at all. He would have to pay for another hour to get his computer working again.

I called the manager of his local Curry’s and told him what had happened. He was actually very good and sent out another technician to get my dad up and running again. I can’t remember whether he reimbursed my dad now, but I think he did.

I would expect a repairer to use new parts or discuss the possibility of fitting used parts, as John has said. It might be that new parts are not available or be a much more expensive option. It would be interesting to know what the law requires.

Some parts used in products (e.g. computer hard drives, car alternators and washing machine motors) will depend on what the manufacturer has chosen to fit, perhaps depending on cost or availability. In this case, the concept of OEM parts is not relevant. Not only do many manufacturers fit alternative parts, it is common practice in the repair trade. At one time car manufacturers could declare a warranty void if a garage or individual fitted anything other than parts supplied by a manufacturers agent but EU legislation banned this provided that the pattern parts meet the relevant specifications.

It would be good to see more people tackling DIY repairs as Derek does. There are plenty of helpful YouTube videos.

alfa, that’s an amazing story of poor workmanship. Properly trained PC technicians should know how to diagnose and fix an internet connection, without immediate recourse to a reinstallation of Windows. That said, if a customer has contracted to pay anything like £130/hour for PC support, at least for some cases, there will a lot of OS problems that might be most econmonically fixed by re-installing Windows. With W10, my experience is that this is usually quick and easy to do.

In the Before, when I used to tinker with other folks PC’s as an unpaid library volunteer, I did always make it clear that I would refuse any form of payment and carry out my actions on the basis of best endeavours but ultimately at their risk.

In tackling any failed or failing PC, my first priority is usually to safeguard the user’s data. I guess that most users do not really keep decent backups of their data, so a repair can easily do more harm than good if it results in data loss.

Since the 4 February 2020 update at the top of this Conversation there have been very few published reports of upselling with laptop set-ups. Some reports might have been made direct to Which? by e-mail. So has the problem gone away? Have Currys PC World succumbed to Which?’s legal warning and cleaned up their act? Or is it just that the closure of stores from 23 March 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic meant that there have been no purchases on which an upsell can be perpetrated? If the latter, it’s a good result but customers should be on their guard for when stores reopen in the coming weeks. Leopard, spots, etc.

Em says:
31 May 2020

Snap! Why did leopards come to my mind before you posted your comment?

It’s a slur on leopards really, isn’t it? Gentle, docile, cuddly creatures, wouldn’t harm anyone.

Em says:
31 May 2020

Leopards don’t change their spots! It has long been the case that garages charged for components they did not change – oil filters and spark plugs being favourites. Or using scrap/salvage parts to effect repairs.

The advice, then as now, is to ask for any used/broken parts to be returned in the new packaging. OK, maybe not oil filters.

If a retailer balks at this, you need to ask why. They should welcome any customer who takes away waste that they would be charged to dispose of.

When I have taken my cars to main dealers for ‘free’ servicing under the warranty period I marked components to check if they had been changed. Which? used to use this technique for undercover investigations. It was worthwhile.

The only time I’ve been near a main dealer in the past few years was when I took my car to have the VW emission problems corrected. The dealer reported that both rear shock absorbers were leaking. I mentioned this to my trustworthy garage when it went in for MOT, expecting the parts to be replaced. My car passed the test and when I enquired I was told that the dealer had probably used WD40 (other brands are available) to simulate a leak, apparently not an uncommon practice. The dealer had provided a video showing the fault and I forwarded a link to Which? but it was not even acknowledged. Yes there are rogues but equally there are plenty of honest people too.

I recall that my trusted garage mechanic used to show me parts that he had replaced, no doubt to gain my trust.

I was shown a ‘replaced part’ once and knew darned well it didn’t come from my car. Hard to prove though unless you mark them as wavechange has done.

Our regular good main dealer shut down so we went to another main dealer and knew as soon as we recognised the servicing manager we would have problems as we had run across him before at another dealer.

At the time it was uncertain how long the belts lasted as they were failing on other cars before their recommended change. The car was in for an annual service so we had asked for the belts to be checked. On collection was a charge for £70 to check the belts which they said needed changing. Any decent garage would have phoned and told you at the time if they found something that needed doing.

Needless to say the car never went there again and that was the last time we used a main dealer.

I think it was reading Which? that made me start marking components, Alfa. Some people in the trade are as unhappy as us about what goes on.

When my trusted mechanic retires I will start asking to be called if any additional work is needed.

After the main dealer tried to con me into having the shock absorbers replaced I discovered the this is a well known trick. Unfortunately the link to the video showing the ‘fault’ has now expired or you could have seen it.

The recommended intervals for changing timing belts may be reduced by the manufacturer based on experience but it is wrong to make a charge for work without prior approval from the customer.