/ Shopping, Technology

Paying £35 for a laptop service you didn’t ask for?

Laptop on man's head

Have you bought a laptop from Currys or PC World and been asked to pay an extra £35 for a set-up service? Did you know about this ‘Knowhow’ service before buying? Read what Currys has to say about this.

A submission on Reddit by Iamnoss just after Christmas brought to light some curious goings on in some Currys stores.

You see, Currys offers a Knowhow service to set up your laptop, including a USB recovery stick. This is an optional service you have to pay for, costing from £35.

However, Iamnoss wasn’t given the impression that this service was optional:

‘Three to four weeks ago, myself and my housemate reserved a Lenovo Flex 14 laptop for £449 on the Currys website for collection in Hove. However, when we arrived at the store we were told that they were out of the ‘regular’ laptops for £449, and only had laptops that had been ‘set up’ – the definition of this being the inclusion of a USB recovery stick. We were then informed that this would cost an extra £35 on top of the RRP, making the price £484 instead of the £449 price we had reserved the laptop for.

‘After refusing to pay this price, the shop assistant made a counter offer of £25. We again refused this, and he offered it again to us for £10, rather than the original £35. At this point we decided to cut our losses after driving especially to the store to pick up the reservation, and paid £459 rather than the £449 the laptop was reserved at.’

Iamnoss’ father had the same experience at Currys in Derby a few weeks later, but this time refused to buy the laptop.

Paying £35 for a laptop set-up service

The Reddit thread unearthered a number of similar stories from Currys and PC World customers, like this one from Mannginger:

‘They tried this with me before Christmas as well. I simply told them that I wasn’t going to pay for it and if they wanted the sale they’d remove the £35. I got a puppy-dog look and “oh but they’ve done the work” etc but he was removing the cost as he said it.’

VoxSecundus was also asked to pay extra:

‘This happened to me when I went to help my grandmother buy a PC from PC World/Currys. They tried to charge us £30 for a system repair disc, something you can create for free using an application that is a part of all Windows systems. Disgusting. ‘

What Currys and PC World have to say

We got in touch with Currys and PC World to try and get to the bottom of this. A spokesperson told us:

‘We offer a number of set-up services on laptops in store for those customers who don’t have the time, or don’t know how to set up a laptop correctly with recovery media.

‘This process can take two to three hours and in order to speed up service delivery for customers we pre-set up a number of machines in store. This service is entirely optional but is very popular with our customers.’

We have confirmed with Currys that if you weren’t aware of this set-up service before purchase, nor did you request it, that you should not have to pay any additional fees:

‘On those few occasions where stores only have pre-set-up stock left, a customer is offered the pre-set up unit at the normal price of the laptop, getting the additional benefits of the service for free,’ the spokesperson adds.

‘If any customers have queries around their particular laptop purchase, they can always speak to our Customer Service team on 0344 561 1234.’

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you. Do the above stories sound familiar? Did you have to pay Currys or PC World a fee for a set-up service you didn’t request when you bought your laptop? Has anything similar happened in another store?

Update on 24 December 2015

We’ve again contacted Currys on your behalf to see what they had to say. Currys told us the following:

‘We have been very clear with stores and our teams here, following last years concerns, to ensure that whenever the store’s only or ‘last one’ PC’s should have the service set up completed as a goodwill gesture at no charge to the customer.

‘This is also highlighted in the Boxing Day Brief that has gone to stores. This says:

“In the event of a customer Resevce and Collecting where you only have a Pre-Setup machine left in-stock, you must ring to advise them, and you are to offer the service to them for free.

“A customer should NEVER be informed they must pay for a pre-setup product even if these are the only units you have left in stock.”

You can contact Currys’ customer services team on 0344 561 1234 if this wasn’t your experience. As ever, if this has happened to you, please do let us know.

Update on 2 March 2017

Due to continued comments and complaints about this, we reached out to Currys to ensure action was being taken. Jason Roberts, Head of Knowhow Customer Contact Centre, has responded on behalf of Currys and PC World:

‘We are genuinely disappointed to see and hear that incidents have occurred whereby customers have been charged the set up costs in instances when only pre set-up models of laptops have been available to buy.

‘When Which? raised this issue at the same time last year we immediately took action and thoroughly re-iterated the absolute correct procedure to our retail store teams via a host of forums and directives by last March. That procedure is explicit in explaining that in the instances when only pre-set up models are available, the customer is absolutely NOT to be charged for the set-up fee and it fully details the till procedure whereby the USB stick is recorded through the till and written off at 0 value. We have provided the evidence of the actual procedure, accompanying notes and briefing packs (which included the actual article from Which? last year as a reference) that were sent to stores for inclusion in briefings early in 2016. We can also evidence that during the last peak period (Nov to Jan) we wrote off the largest number of USB’s we’ve ever done. So you’ll appreciate why we’re disappointed to hear that the vast majority of our sales colleagues are being let down by a few individuals.

‘We would invite those people who have shared their experience on this thread to come to us directly at WhichSupport@dixonscarphone.com and we will look to resolve their experiences on an individual basis.’

Profile photo of malcolm r

The post above from Bonnie lass illustrates one of the problems with Convos – possibly creating misconceptions.
Who is the laptop being purchased from? It does not say (as far as I can see) but some have assumed it to be Currys and criticised them.
The headline refers to a £35 set up charge by Currys. This post says they paid £50? May not be Currys then.
The sale was made and presumably paid for. Was the purchaser pressured into buying? We don’t know.
Now they think the laptop could be a “refurbished” one. Why do they think that?

If contributors wanted advice you would expect them to keep in touch with the Convo, a part of which they have instigated, provide any extra information and respond to comments made. As it is, a hare has been set running…….

Lets hope Bonnie lass returns to clarify the situation.

Profile photo of alfa

It looks like Currys have put up their prices. From their website:
Windows Set Up: £40
Windows Set Up & Personalise: £50
Windows In-Store Tutorial: £30
Windows Set Up & Personalise and Tutorial: £60
Apple Set Up & Personalise: £40
Apple In-store Tutorial: £30
Apple Set Up & Personalise and Tutorial: £60
Tablet Set-Up: £20
Tablet In-store Tutorial: £30
Tablet Set Up & Tutorial: £30
Chromebook Set Up and Tutorial: £30


Profile photo of duncan lucas

OMG! talk about arrogance in the face of criticism ? If in doubt brazen it out – £50 set up ? it shows the sheer arrogance and defiance of this company they must have a hold on the government somewhere . Customer I want to buy your laptop PC World ?Curry,s – £350 sir/madam -customer okay be along to collect it – sales person that will be £400 – customer – WHAT !! . Who runs Britain ? as I keep saying Big Business NOT the voters , thats for sure . all the fine words left in shatters by reality business methods . Its time the gloves were taken off and as HMG will not do it its time to take decisive action like boycotting them. Talk is cheap and they know it .

Profile photo of malcolm r

John Lewis charge a fair bit to set up a computer – e.g. £45 for a standard set up – https://www.johnlewis.com/our-services/computer-installation-services/specialist-computer-services

They will also set up at your home for between £59 and £99: https://www.johnlewis.com/our-services/computer-installation-services

For someone not at all adept I’d suggest the at home is not bad value, considering the time that might be involved.

Profile photo of alfa

I suspect John Lewis ask if you want the service rather than insisting you have to have it though.

Profile photo of John Ward

That is right Alfa. They also have prominent notices and leaflets in the tech sales areas in their stores outlining the different grades of set-up service and the prices. Other retailers might do so as well – I believe Curry’s PC World have leaflets and might even have prominent notices – it is after all a profit centre for them.

When I buy a new PC I shall probably go to John Lewis, as it is quite convenient, and have their home set-up service. C-PCW is nearer but in all conscience I don’t think I could go there. Added to the cost of the PC and amortised over the expected lifetime of the product it’s not the most expensive element of using a computer and I certainly wouldn’t be confident of doing it competently myself.

Profile photo of duncan lucas

John when you buy a laptop it comes with Windows 10 installed , its actually something that Redmond takes seriously insisting that they sell Windows machines and not LInux . One guy lost his guarantee because he installed LInux when the fault was a broken hinge. I am at a loss to understand what they are charging for . Its a piece of cake installing a virus system or downloading apps . So tell me what are they charging for ? IF its to install Windows then thats outright fraud. Your router can be set up automatically its part of the installation of any system that it detects the router/modem and the internet . As I said to the lady above they are making money out of her naivety in tech matters . alfa,s right its PC World /Curry,s who con you by insisting on charging you for what should be already up and working. I hope they are not saying Win10 is NOT installed MIcrosoft would have a fit and sue them !! I will not be an”apologist ” for those “crooks ” (deceiving the public ) – Oh ! we only have ones we installed the system on and it will cost you £50 only in open Britain can they get away with that , try that in America and they would be jailed !

Profile photo of John Ward

Nobody is forced to have the retailer’s set-up service. Curry’s PC World were trying it on with their ‘last one in the shop’ ruse but they got found out. Which? has had words and the problem there seems to have diminished. Other retailers might still be trying to pressurise customers into having the service. If the price is made clear – as Alfa has demonstrated in the case of C-PCW – it is the customer’s choice; take it or leave it. If they still want a set-up service there are plenty of small computer service companies that would probably do it for less in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

There’s no point in arguing that C-PCW are charging too much – it’s a competitive market and they will charge what the market will bear. This might all be easy-peasy to you with years of electronics background and technical experience but many people are daunted by it and are glad there are specialist who can do it for them, albeit at a price. Anyway, Bonnie Lass subsequently realised the set-up charge was too much and wanted to cancel it. Unfortunately she has not found her way back here to tell us what happened next.

Profile photo of DerekP

As a company, Currys have been involved with persuasive upselling for as long as I can remember. Much of the persuasion used involves the well known selling techniques of “hurt and rescue” and/or SPIN (situations, problems and implied needs), both of which can be used to sell services to anxious customers.

This ought to be widely known, so customers choosing to shop there ought to know about it in advance.

Most folks ought to be capable of following a quick start guide and doing any computer set up themselves. Nonetheless, some may chose not too.

In similar vein, most folks ought to be capable of hoovering out their cars and washing them down with soapy water all by themselves. (I do mine once a year, whether it needs it or not.) Nonetheless, many now seem to chose to pay someone else to do that for them. (I bet they don’t even get charged £35 per car though…)

Profile photo of wavechange

The laptop set-up service is a simple example of upselling, which is widely used in business to increase sales. It is common to offer discount – which may or may not be genuine – to encourage potential customers to spend more. If the customer urgently needs a computer or does not know that it’s not very difficult to set up a computer yourself, this makes upselling easier. I remember when electrical retailers were pushing profitable extended warranties on customers and becoming annoyed when I was asked three times if I wanted a warranty for a single purchase. Either walk out or tell the sales assistant that you will think about it.