/ 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.’

Update on 16 March 2018

Over the past three months, nine separate Currys PC World customers have complained to us here on Which? Conversation 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.

We have therefore called on Currys PC World to stamp out this practice. Alex Neill, our director of home and product services, said:

‘This issue has been going on for more than three years without resolution and we are disappointed people are continuing to report feeling pressurised into parting with their cash.

‘We want Currys to make cast-iron guarantees that it will put an end to this practice and that customers who’ve been caught out will be reimbursed.’

A Currys PC World spokeswoman said:

‘We are sorry to hear that some customers have been charged for a Knowhow Laptop Set-up service on their new machine when they did not request it.While setting up machines in advance enables customers who want the service to benefit from it straight away, it is not something everyone needs.

‘We are urgently re-briefing our stores now to remind them that, in the small number of cases where only pre-set up models are available, customers should not be charged for the service when they buy their laptop.’

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

Comments
Member

I know its not the UK but again I went onto the US government administration website and I have never come across a more helpful-informative website in the whole of the world including here . US citizens have help at their hands by the barrel-load and that includes their equivalents to Trading Standards. Yes they can get direct help from the US government who have massive power to enforce ” rogue” companies -sellers to change their ways or face massive fines and/or even closure . I have brought this up before to seemingly disdain but tell me why the biggest Capitalist country in the world and HOME to outright Capitalism protects its citizens while this country protect big businesses and put “blockers ” in the way of British citizens getting real justice . As I keep saying it obvious an ingrained political dogma prevails that is anti-public and is part of the policy of – Open Britain as the Americans say in the Wild West- this town (country ) is wide open.

Member
stewart smart says:
5 February 2019

Even worse I purchased knowhow usb recovery from currys £39 sales tactic will need it if you have problems with hp pavillion laptop.
Alas never had to use until today and the dam thing don’t work very annoying.
Purchased laptop 2016 so out of warrenty what a joke, will never use currys again very frustrating.

Member

Stewart-Its a known fault , even by CPCW .
When you plug in the thumb drive /dongle it should automatically install the correct drivers , if it doesn’t nothing will happen .
Try it on another computer just to be sure , if it works on another computer then you will have to install the drivers manually ( I will help you with that ) .

If it doesn’t work on another computer then your thumb drive is faulty .

I can help with re-installation if you want ?
Please get back.

Member
DerekP says:
5 February 2019

Hi Stewart, sorry to hear about your problems.

I have no idea exactly what form of software CPCW apply to their recovery media, but quite often a PC won’t boot from recovery media unless its BIOS settings have been tweaked to allow that.

HP support give some useful advice, e.g. see here:

support.hp.com/gb-en/document/c04784866

Most laptops allow you to choose the device at power on, but you need to press a particular key, e.g. F12 or F9, to enable that.

Some may also require you to select appropriate BIOS settings first. Again, a particular key is used to access the BIOS. The key varies between machines, but ESC, DEL, F2 and F10 are all used by different manufacturers.

I also sometimes experience bootable USB sticks not wanting to work in some machines or not liking particular USB sockets on a given machine. Sometimes a cold restart with fix that, but I sometimes end up finding that a different USB stick will work.

One of the reasons why I think the CPCW recovery sticks aren’t good value for money is because they aren’t really essential for most modern PC’s. This is mainly because Windows 10 is usually digitally licensed on consumer PC’s, so Windows can be re-installed by downloading freely available W10 install media from Microsoft and then booting from those media.

These days, any required device drivers are usually pre-supplied as part of the Windows kernel, so you won’t necessarily need an HP Pavilion specific Windows distribution kit. (I tested that a few months ago with my HP G62, when I reinstalled W10 from a freshly downloaded copy of Windows.)

Member

Derek if CPCW haven’t changed the bios settings to put the stick as first choice then it will try to boot to a failed system .
That begs the question they are real “s******s by not only -IMO – “defrauding” the public but incompetently or just not bothering to check it out by hitting the correct F key on boot up.

It just gets worse also I have been told– the poster wont understand what you are saying because it is too technical , I hope the same person who said that to me doesn’t say it to you .
Windows 10 doesn’t always have the full list of drivers for all types of thumb drives , the drivers I use are open source and can be used in most types of drives and hardware and he still hasn’t checked to see if it works on another computer.

Member
DerekP says:
5 February 2019

Duncan, I agree this is complicated, so it is hard for us to second guess the solutions to Stewart’s problems.

Member

This is still carrying on years after being given assurance by their so-and-so’s … at PC World / Curry’s Tottenham Court Road, London, this past Sunday. Aggressive sales staff behaviour. It took more than an hour to conclude the “Click/reserve & Collect” transaction, as I was not going to be treated unfairly and smelled a rat. Unfortunately it took that long as I was not aware of this scam as discussed on this page. It was only when I started to Google it, while waiting for them, that I came across this. Brilliant. I started quoting from here to them. I will never spend another penny with this group of companies, so Currys PC World, Dixons Travel, Carphone Warehouse, etc. I don’t trust them with anything anymore. Such a shame – a well-known UK brand! Zero reputation left in my opinion. Unethical sales practices. In the end it cost me a lot of frustration and time. This will catch up with them in the long run.

Member

Hi all, as promised, we have blown up our efforts on this. We have publicly called on Currys PC World to to make cast-iron guarantees that it will put an end to this practice and that customers who’ve been caught out will be reimbursed.

A Currys PC World spokeswoman said:

‘We are sorry to hear that some customers have been charged for a Knowhow Laptop Set-up service on their new machine when they did not request it.While setting up machines in advance enables customers who want the service to benefit from it straight away, it is not something everyone needs.

‘We are urgently re-briefing our stores now to remind them that, in the small number of cases where only pre-set up models are available, customers should not be charged for the service when they buy their laptop.’

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

You can read the full update here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/currys-pc-world-set-up-service-complaints/

The story has also been covered by BBC, Telegraph (p10), Mail (p23), Mirror (p15), Sun (p26) and Record (p36). Here’s the BBC write up: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43418774

Member

I respectfully hope you are right Patrick .

Member
Joseph Zhou says:
28 December 2018

I’m a visitor from Hong Kong. Just bought a laptop and payed 40 pounds for recovery USB. The sales person lied to me. First he said no recovery drive in laptop, actually I found it as driver D Just now. Second he said this USB worth 100 pounds and sounds like a Windows system USB, which surely worth more than 100 pounds. I trust this store because Google told me it’s largest in London, but Currys cheated on me. Last issue here is they installed wrong keyboard layout (us via uk). So this place is neither honest nor professional. Feeling bad now.

Member

Joseph I personally apologize on behalf of our nation .
This is an utter disgrace !! I would love to say what I think but as you know I was censured / my post redacted and warned for making -IMO- a quite legitimate legal point that seems to be perfectly okay to apply in the USA but not here.

Words fail me that this Chinese visitor will leave this country thinking ———-Britain with a sour taste in his mouth .
With the name Joseph you must have one relation connected to this country , I can only say words from the Bible – How long God must I suffer those those evil people ?

Not even the Home of Capitalism allows this and calls it by the name it should be called –take it back Joseph and demand your money back.
This “organisation” is making this country a real Third World country.
Sorry Joseph that you have had to suffer this.

Member
Terry Wilson says:
20 March 2018

I went to Currys PC World on the 11th of the 9th 2017. I decided to purchase a Lenovo laptop computer. I asked the assistant to sort one out for me and he said that we only have one that is already set up and it would cost an extra £35-00. I said that i did not want one already set up but he said that it was the only one left in the store. I was not very happy about this but i had travelled nine miles to get to that store in Kidderminster, and ended up paying for it.

Member

Thanks for posting the date Terry as it helps to see if this “prolific ” (in my view ) practice is still going on and I hope more members of the public post on this issue as this will “put to bed ” the statement – its only a few “rogue ” salespeople.

Member

Terry – Please contact the company and claim a refund, as explained in Patrick’s comment above: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/currys-pc-world-set-up-service-usb-knowhow-35-laptop/#comment-1524833

Member
Patrick Taylor says:
20 March 2018

“the Register” has a lot of comment and much of it from ex-staff about the practices going on. Being a on-line computer techy news source it has the type of readership that knows with several hundred thousand readers daily.

Member
martin saunders says:
1 April 2018

I tried buying a laptop at the Tunbridge Wells store two days ago and was told they only had a set-up one in stock. They said the normal cost would be £40 extra but as they did not have any ordinary ones in stock I could have it for £20 extra. I walked out and luckily enough have just found the same model online for £100 less. So no harm done, but it has shaken my confidence in the store.

Member

They are still “at it ” Which , as Martin will testify to . When it comes to people lying to me I dont have a lot of patience and Which is being led up the garden path. Martin the “fine words ” that come out of the CPCW advertisers are meant to entice you to buy but to me they still arent above the level of “barrow boys ” deep down , at least you didnt expect much from them .

Member

I’ve worked in places where effectively lying to customers (and the likes of Which?) was regarded as “normal business practice”.

Member
H.Patel says:
3 April 2018

I bought HP lap top from PC world and was charged £35 for set up. I was not happy with this charge. This week I bought Lenovo Laptop but did not bother to look up for price on Curry PC World web site and bought it from John Lewis. Why to give business to rogue trader?

Member

That,s the way to go H.Patel -boycott, as they are “immune ” to prosecution in the UK but NOT in the USA .

Member
Frank Drew says:
14 April 2018

I bought a laptop from PC World in Didcot on 12th August 2016 and was given the “we only have one laptop of this type available and it will cost you an extra 35 quid as it’s already set up” spiel. At the time, I was in a hurry so I reluctantly paid the extra £35. I will now go back to PC World and ask for a refund.

A few months before, I bought a Hewlett-Packard printer from the same shop and, to no great surprise, I got the hard sell from the assistant about taking out some kind of extended warranty, service plan, or whatever they choose to call it. I was even told that the £12 per year would entitle me to free printer cartridges, which I find impossible to believe. After I get my £35 refunded, I will never do business with these people again. I think Curry’s PC World is a leopard which will never change its spots; they will always find new, dodgy practices with which to try to extort money from their customers. If they had any real competition they would soon go out of business.

Member

PC World trades only in the UK/Ireland if it traded in the USA it would be closed down due to “dubious practices ” and sued by Americans . What they do here would not be classed as “legal ” in the USA.

Member
Diana Marin says:
14 August 2018

I will never buy a laptop from Currys PC World ever again. I have had the worst experience buying the HP Pavilion Laptop from one of the Leeds Stores (Cavendish House, King Charles St). I was forced into buying a laptop with an additional charge for the “pre set-up” today because they supposedly had no laptops without the back-up/recovery (although the day before another staff member claimed they did have one without the extra set-up ‘service’). I had seen all the complaints about people being pressured into doing this and I forcefully rejected it, but the member of staff was very adamant about it, probably having been trained to push as much as possible and fool people. I left today because I was not in the mood to put up with his awful approach, but I will not let this go until I get a refund for this service I explicitly denied, either via phone or by talking to a manager. I could tell at least two of the members of staff in this store were ‘educated’ in this sense, as it was clear how they were constantly using manipulation techniques and selling lies.

Member

And Currys PC World keep telling Which? this disgraceful and dishonest behaviour has ended and that all their employees have been reminded not to deceive customers into accepting a pre-set-up model at extra cost if not required.

What is Which?’s excuse for not tackling this abuse directly and effectively?

Member
DerekP says:
15 August 2018

John, the impression I get is that Which? loves to “big up” stories like this one.

But, they seldom actually do anything to tackle the problems at their source.

This might be because they’re only doing it to publicize their own existence, in order to attract new subscribers.

Or it might be because their aspirations as a campaigning body far exceed their actual capability.

They may also now recruit too many staff from the wider business community, and thus end up conflicted by competing personal interests.

As regards Curry’s, point of sale up selling seems to be embedded in their DNA.

So Which? could tackle the issue by telling folk not to shop there.

Member

There is plenty of evidence that what is going on is more than upselling, which remains legal. It is Trading Standards that should be taking effective action against the company, either on behalf of citizens of this country (I wonder how many have complained) or Which? I know that Which? has been in touch with the company but cannot remember if they have involved Trading Standards.

As discussed elsewhere, it is fundamentally important that Trading Standards becomes an effective body and we do need Which? to push for this to happen.

Member

My view was that Which? should take the matter up with Trading Standards on behalf of consumers generally by preparing a case based on the information supplied to Which? and evidence that could be obtained from one or more correspondents to Which? Conversation. It would rightly be for TS to take action against the company. I recall that Which? has had discussions or correspondence with Currys PC World and received apologies and promises but clearly the problem persists.

This has cropped up many times in a number of Conversations and we have frequently requested Which? to update us on the situation but to no avail. I wish it were possible easily to extract all the comments that deal with this issue and composite them as a volume of experience and evidence. I and many others must have written about it on numerous occasions, each time hoping that would be the last time, but still it keeps coming back as a serious consumer complaint and we have nothing to show for our concern. It is difficult to take Which?’s claims to be a campaigning organisation seriously when problems like this rumble on for years and years and Which? just sits on the sidelines wringing its hands. This undermines its credibility. It also sends a message to contributors to Which? Conversation that our responses and concerns have absolutely no influence on the conduct of the organisation despite its protestations to the contrary. I am not impressed.

Member

I agree with you, Derek. It’s a big step to instigate a boycott of a national trader but something dramatic and effective needs to be done. Failure to rein in Currys PC World’s disreputable trading practices [I hesitate to use the word ‘dishonest’ for legal reasons but there is an element of deceit, falsehood or misinfomation involved] sends out a signal to other retailers that they can get away with unfair trading and a lack of integrity. At the very least the company has been found wanting and duplicitous in its dealings with Which?. If Which? was effective and carried any weight with the enforcement agencies most firms wouldn’t want to get into that position.

Member
DerekP says:
15 August 2018

John, I think Currys cross the line by virtual of putting too much effort into up-selling.

Up-selling is a reality of many business transactions, but Currys seem to move it into coercion, i.e. far beyond customer choice.

Amazon and their 2-pins plugs might be a clearer and simpler target, because it seems that the law IS actually being broken there (and homes and lives may thence be put at risk).

Finally, just in case I decide to become a local volunteer IT instructor, I treated myself to a 12 month old Windows 10 convertible tablet/laptop for £80 a few days ago. I am happy to report that my usual supplier, Cash Generators of Gloucester, sold it to me with no up-selling at all. As part of this transaction, they did obviously make some sales pitches, but nothing they said was inappropriate in any way.

Member

Hi John, I hear your feedback loud and clear – thank you for sharing it here.

I dug around on this one and found this information for you (you may already have seen it, but just in case): https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/the-currys-pc-world-add-on-ripping-off-customers/

Member

The press release says: “Which? has warned Currys PC World it may be in breach of the law after more than 100 customers complained they had been pressured into paying up to £40 more than the advertised price for a pre-setup laptop.. This has been going on since 2015 so “warning CPCW” simply is not good enough in a number of commenters’ view. This is the problem we see with Which? not doing what is needed. Currys’ have seemingly taken no notice.

They should not be making overtures to CPCW, given the number of complaints and persistent offending; they should be asking the “authorities” ( presumably Trading Standards) to intervene and take action against them. Just as they should with Amazon, not simply asking them nicely to remove dangerous products products from sale They are both serial offenders and need dealing with as such.

Member

Thank you for sharing that March 2018 press release with us, Elena. I had not seen it before. It’s a pity that press releases relevant to Conversation topics are not posted to the appropriate place when they are issued. That would be a quick and easy way to keep us updated. I hope that is the sort of ‘disconnect’ that you are hoping to resolve

Member

Precisely John.

And I’m delighted to have been able to – finally – give you some information that you found helpful. You’re all far more familiar with Which? than I am so far, so I’m the one learning from all of you right now!

Member

That press release was actually very good but I should be interested to know what impact it had in the media. I don’t normally read a national daily newspaper or watch daytime TV so am rather out of touch with what gets reported these days. Does Which? have any indicators of press release follow-up? Does it get more mail when it spills the beans on curries? The advertising ‘industry’ had a well-worn saying that half its expenditure was wasted but it didn’t know which half. I think press releases suffer the same syndrome.

Member

@elena – Hi Elena – Which? has been in contact with Currys-PC World, as you can read in the introduction and in some of the posts. I cannot remember anything to say that the case has been reported to Trading Standards, but perhaps you could find out for us. There seems to ample evidence that what has been happening for years is more than upselling and deserves to be investigated by Trading Standards.

Member

Good morning, I will see if I can locate any information.

Member

Thanks Elena.

Member

Hi @Wavechange, this is everything we have done so far:
https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/the-currys-pc-world-add-on-ripping-off-customers/

I can confirm we have not sent this to Trading Standards. But this can be reviewed if complaints continue to flood in!

Member

@Elena, as I said in my post above, I don’t understand why Which? simply “warns” Currys after 108 complaints (how many others have met this treatment that Which? do not know about?). It has had over 3 years knowledge of a practice that still continues, despite “warnings from Which?” and despite claims from CPCW that they have dealt with it. Clearly the latter is untrue, as it still appears to continue.

Please keep beavering away on our behalf 🙂

Member

I must admit I cannot understand the hesitation in referring this to Trading Standards. Surely Which? has a database of all the local authority Trading Standards services throughout the country, the allocated authorities for particular companies, and the e-mail addresses of the heads of those services. Doesn’t Which? have regular get-togethers with senior trading standards personnel so that easy contact can be made as and when necessary? I should think the local authority staff would welcome such a relationship as both parties are working for consumers and need to share knowledge for the greater public good.

Member

I understand your comment, and it has been provided internally to the team who would appreciate hearing that.

Of course, Malcolm, it is not only my job but an absolute pleasure.

Member

John, this is a fantastic idea and approach. I’m not sure what’s in the realm of possibility here, so I have asked for support. I’ll be back when I can with more information for you.

Member

Thanks @Elena I missed your post.

Patrick’s efforts to get the company to stop the company pushing customers to pay for a service they have not asked for have not put an end to the problem. I would be grateful if Which? could take the issue up with Trading Standards, otherwise customers will continue to be treated in the same way.

It would be more honest for the company to offer the service on their website and in their stores and let customers choose.

I support John’s suggestion that Which? should be working closely with Trading Standards.

Member

@patrick – Elena has kindly confirmed provided a link giving a summary of actions by Which? – https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/currys-pc-world-set-up-service-usb-knowhow-35-laptop/#comment-1541358

This has been going on for a long time and I suggest that the problem is taken to Trading Standards by Which? If I was treated in this way I would take it up with TS and I don’t think I would be alone. If the Which? Legal team think this would not be a useful move I would be very interested to know the reason.

Member

@oscarwebb – Some of us would be very grateful if Which? would contact Trading Standards and push for an effective resolution of this longstanding problem.

Member

Hey Wavechange, I agree this has been an ongoing issue, but we’re looking into the next steps on it – I should have an update for you soon.

Member

Thanks Oscar. I’m sure our regulars and those who have been overcharged will look forward to an end to the carry on.

Member

A number of us have criticised Which? for just using words and not action against retail offenders. It did nothing about Amazon frozen Kindles or two-pin plugs, was totally ineffective in helping consumers who had Indesit et al dryers, (other than requiring them to be unplugged) , allows Curry PCW off the hook, did not help owners of Sony Z Experia phones with unexplained broken screens…………. and yet occasioally helps someone through “Brief Cases” and publcises it for a one-ff problem with a trader.

It is not what I subscribe to a Consumers’ Assocation for. I live (and subscribe) in the hope they will put more emphasis on protecting consumers actively even if this is at the expense of their iffy commercial ventures. Maybe later this year we will begin to see a return to its core aim – “to make consumers as powerful as the organisations they deal with”?

Member
James says:
15 August 2018

I purchased a laptop from curry’s pc world in hull in July, I was asked do I want it set up to which I said no, I was then asked would I like to purchase the usb recover stick at a cost of £45. Thinking I may need the stick I reluctantly parted with another £45, the salesman opened my computer box and took out the usb stick and showed me it I then asked why am I paying for it if it’s already in the box to which he said he was just checking one was in there. My computer was already set up with a sticker stating it was ready to go with the team know how logo. Have I been ripped off??

Member
duncan lucas says:
15 August 2018

James-When you said -quote – “I parted with another £45 ” —you had already paid for their “setup ” which you dont need in the first place so you are paying – £90 more than you should . cpcw is indeed ripping you off . You are not alone , one online website had customers saying they were told staff were programmed to push this . What they are now doing with the sticker business is to make an additional service compulsory in their stores , if the stick is in it already you have definitely not received a new computer, you have received a used computer , regardless of them resealing it . it is shameful that all sorts of excuses are put up to make it look like its only -quote -one or two when the www shows otherwise . Nothing will be done to stop this .

Member
DerekP says:
16 August 2018

I agree with Duncan – James has been ripped off.

Clearly he isn’t the first such victim and most likely he won’t be the last.

Given the indications that CPW train their staff to perform these acts, perhaps Which? could offer some customer training to potential PC buyers.

Member

I fear you are right, Duncan. We have been trying to get some action on this for two or three years now and nothing effective has been done. We understand that Which? has had talks with Currys PC World and promises have been made but still it goes on. It is beyond a scandal – it is bordering on the criminal with half-truths and deception. Customers are being exploited

It seems to me that it is an embedded cultural misbehaviour that the top management either cannot or are afraid to root out. Nobody should be forced to buy an unsealed box and nor should they be pressured into buying the USB stick as an extra. If people want the set-up service [for an extra £45] that should be their choice and they can request that at the time of purchase of the laptop. I see no harm in the company promoting that service; most computer suppliers provide that sort of service and many customers want it as they are not confident of doing it themselves.

The problem is that CPCW is the first name people think of when they want a computer or other electrical product. They probably have a virtual monopoly. A friend of mine needed to buy a new printer and said she would go over to Currys PC World; I recommended her to go to John Lewis instead which happened to be more convenient. Their product range might be smaller but their prices are competitive with CPCW. She bought one at JL and was very impressed with the service provided – no attempt to sell add-ons, good advice on buying a more basic model than she was initially looking at, free delivery, and a longer guarantee.

Member

I have asked if Trading Standards has been contacted by Which? and hopefully we will find out soon. Among comments by regulars asking for action there are many examples of people like James who have been pushed to pay more than the advertised price.

Which? has a legal team and could support some of these customers in taking legal action against the company. I would love to see achievements by Which? reported on Watchdog and other consumer programmes rather than continue to read about examples of the same problem on Which? Convo for years after it was first identified.

Member

Trading Standards have not been informed.

Member

Well, not by Which?.

Member

I cannot remember being told by Which? despite suggestions from ourselves. From memory, some of those who have posted said they intended to contact TS but I do not remember anyone posting the outcome of doing so. After all this time it would be great if Which? does contact TS without further delay and get this practice stopped.

TS might like to see several posts by Jason Roberts, starting with this apology: https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/currys-pc-world-set-up-service-usb-knowhow-35-laptop/#comment-1478400 He moved to a different job within the company not long after posting.

Member
DerekP says:
16 August 2018

As background information, do we know what this so called setup actually delivers?

If it’s done in advance, it obviously cannot involve setting up appropriately named user accounts and such like activities.

If it actually covered the time consuming and tedious chore of downloading and installing Windows updates, that would be useful, but not worth £45.

Also, given that modern PCs tend to come with built-in recovery media, having an easily mislaid USB copy is of marginal value.

Member
David Thurman-Newell says:
6 October 2018

My father-in-law bought a HP Stream netbook 11-R050sa from Currys Pc World, it became apparent some time later that due to the items 32gb hard drive it couldn’t accept any windows 10 updates as Win 10 needs some 5GB of hard drive space even thought there is nothing stored on it! I wonder how many other Which? readers have been caught out?

Member

David you are far from alone . Utter disgust from 1000,s of buyers of HP-Dell-Lenova-Acer customers this is a serious complaint and needs a big investigation . The equipment uses modern technology of SMD (micro components ) and the storage is built into the motherboard using a 32GB storage medium known as eMMC an INBUILT SSD chip . Its a complete waste of time listening to the companies tell you to “clean out ” you computer it STILL does not give enough space for Win 10 updates that after all those “wise” comments on -Clean up disc space doing this ,that or the other including “Disc cleanup Tool ” -worthless in YOUR case . On the many tech websites I inhabit you will be “pleased” to hear that the HP operative was literately torn to shreds by “on fire ” posters – mark me up if this helps – got – well guess they all tried his advice then he gave up went in the huff and blocked some posts including a Software Engineer of 35 years service- YE gods !! He put a link in saying he could change the chip BUT guess who removed it ? But hey ! I found it – Which as this is a cry for help I hope you don’t mind this URL http://northumberland-it.com get in touch with him in Northumberland and he will advise . As I said this is another CPCW type “operation ” of keeping it a secret to sell a device that the sellers/manufacturers know is NOT fit for the purpose and that’s what many went back to CPCW with . Best of luck David .

Member

For an ignoramus, is this because Win 10 as installed takes up too much of the 32GB space?

Member

It’s a tiny drive, Malcolm. Solid state drives are great but they cost more than hard drives and some makers have fitted very small SSDs. I don’t know about Windows but OSX takes up 14.6GB on my newest Mac.

Member

Yes malcolm MS insists on a certain amount of “free space ” for itself before any of your own programmes and checks your computer as it has full control over it. In the above cases I quoted I should have made this clear the SSD is SOLDERED into the motherboard and is miniature in size its like a glorified CPU that’s why I posted that Engineers URL he has special equipment to remove it and fit a larger one – think multiple micro soldered connections malcolm . how in gods name could a CPCW buyer do that ?

Member

64GB flash drives that barely stick out of a USB drive seem like a good solution, but I have seen different opinions on whether this can be used for an operating system.

Member
DerekP says:
6 October 2018

Officially the *minimum* hard disc sizes needed for Windows 10 are 16Gb or 20GB, depending on whether or not the 32-bit or 64-bit OS is used.

Here on my W10 Linx 12×64 W10 tablet PC I have 64GB nominal or 57GB actual, of which about 9GB is now used by user data and 23GB is now used by W10 in its 64-bit version.

Pro-rata, a 32GB ssd would give about 28GB actual capacity and a 16GB ssd only about 14GB.

Given the capacity that I actually have, my Linx seems to be managing to keep itself up to date with Windows updates. By default, Windows tends to archive a lot of material as it updates, so I can easily see that a system with a small initial SSD could easily run of out disc space, especially if user data accumulates on such as system too. For my Linx, I also have a separate 64GB micro-SD card, so I keep most user data on that.

When I was first looking at buying a tablet in 2015, I noticed that Windows was bloat heavy on memory, so that it was rare to see Windows tablets sold with less than 32GB. In contrast, Android ones are often sold with 16GB or even 8GB, and then often with only 1GB ram (the Linx has 4GB of ram as standard).

A typical Android installation takes about about 6GB of disc, so you can also run out of upgrade space on an Android device if you only start out with 8GB of SSD.

So for Windows you probably shouldn’t buy a new PC with less than 64GB of SSD and for Android you should look to have at least 16GB.

Chromebooks and other Linux boxes can also be a lot more frugal with disc space. typically, a fresh install of Linux or Chrome OS will only need about 5GB, so 16GB and 32GB SSDs are viable disc sizes for such machines (obviously assuming you’re not expecting to store loads of user data there).

From what I’ve seen, manufacturers like Acer (and others) seem to sell very inexpensive PCs configured as either ChromeBooks or W10 PCs. Within that sort of range, my customer satisfaction experience has been far higher with ChromeBooks than with W10 PCs.

For my usual day-to-day needs, I think a ChromeBook is definitely the way to go. But, if I want to run any Windows programs, then I need a Windows machine, hence my excuse for getting a nice cheap secondhand Linx.

Member

Thanks DerekP (and duncan/wavechange).

Member

Thats the whole problem Wavechange those devices don’t work with flash drives only a small card , if they did nobody would be complaining .

Member
DerekP says:
6 October 2018

“64GB flash drives that barely stick out of a USB drive seem like a good solution, but I have seen different opinions on whether this can be used for an operating system.”

From what I’ve seen, Linux and MacOS can be routinely run from USB drives, traditionally Windows would not work that way. There do now seem to be some special ways to run Windows 10 from a USB drive, but I doubt these are really good enough for that to be used as a default hard drive.

Of all these options though, the only one that really makes sense is Linux, under which a bootable USB stick can be booted and used on any available PC. My (infrequently used) installation of Trisquel GNU/Linux is set up and used this way.

Member

Thanks both.

Member
DerekP says:
6 October 2018

In a store like CPCW, I think a key function of low priced PC’s is to encourage footfall into the store, to provide “easy prey” for their “sales consultants”. So you might be going into there expecting to spend less than £200 on a netbook but end up leaving with a different, more expensive purchase.

But in the likes of Argos, you’ll most likely just end up with what you first wanted.

So you might easily end up with a new PC that is not really adequate in terms of its hardware specification.

This is nothing new – I’ve seen Vista machines that were only shipped with 512MB ram – but, in olden days, stuff was easy to upgrade. Many machines now come with everything soldered together and are effectively impossible to upgrade.

As regards durability and longevity, I think even a cheap PC should be designed to give good service – including the ability to receive software updates – for at least 3 years. That said, a lot of of PC’s made 12 years ago are still quite capable of giving good service today, especially if “upgraded” from Windows or OS X to Linux.

Member
DerekP says:
8 October 2018

As an addendum to this sub-topic, I found that owners of Linx tablet PCs with only 32GB storage have also been suffering problems with updating Windows 10:

linxtablet.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=3042

There are some suggestions in that thread that Windows can now use extra disc space on a USB disc to help get around the problem – but I have not personally verified that.

Also, whilst on walkabout last weekend, I did notice that one of my favourite shops had lots and lots of “reconditioned” Windows netbooks with 32GB storage on sale. That causes me to suspect that those machines are “product returns”, i.e. after rejection by their original purchasers.

Member
Poppy Holmes says:
26 November 2018

I am honestly shocked after reading this.

I went into Currys this evening to buy a laptop (which I had reserved online for £179.99). After waiting ages to speak to someone, I finally got to the till. When my laptop arrived, he told me it had been preset up. I asked what this meant and he explained. I said ooo that’s great, and he said he’s but it’s an additional cost of £40.

I asked for an alternative laptop without setup (as on a student budget) and he told me this was the last one so I could either have it with set up or nothing.

Obviously I wasn’t happy to pay this and they removed the additional cost.

Looks like they do still try to get the money out of you though! Be careful!

Member
DerekP says:
27 November 2018

Poppy – well done for haggling away the extra cost 🙂

I think this kind of up-selling has always been a thing with Currys. They charge a high fee for a service of actual but very limited benefit and thereby increase their margin on most sales.

As a PC supplier, I prefer Argos because they don’t do this.

Member

Hi Poppy,

So sorry this has happened to you. I’d recommend you email whichsupport@dixonscarphone.com to complain about this experience – even if you did manage to get them to drop the £40, it’s still wrong for them to ask for it to start with.

Oscar

Member

I have been saying for a long time that they are ordered to do this from the top ,some agreed others said- “its rogue salespeople” etc .

At the beginning of this year the BBC had a news article on it where CPCW apologized for doing it and said they would “make sure it doesn’t happen again ”
To me this is just “damage limitation ” of a policy that is Still being given to sales staff to engender more profit .
Lets be honest here (if possible ) the British public are being lied to.
“Only one left ” etc .

What makes this worse from Which,s point of view prestige wise is the BBC mentioned Which “taking action ” in defense of the public in the same article .
What comes first Public Defense or CPCW defense ?
If Which does not take a very strong stance in this its own prestige/high moral standing will be affected .
Its obvious that it goes in “one ear and out the other ” when dealing with CPCW -why are you letting yourself be used Which ?

I have personally been in many sales gatherings while fixing phones and its -sell sell-sell at practically any cost.
In another time & another world they would be prosecuted –times have changed -not for the better as far as the British public are concerned.

Member
DerekP says:
27 November 2018

Duncan, for cases like Poppy’s, where the laptop was reserved on-line I find it hard to believe that her laptop was the last one left.

Given the wonders of modern “just-in-time” logistics and stock control, I’d have expected the store in question to be flagged up to receive more stock, as soon as any given item is reserved for sale.

Even via the public portions of Argos’ website, I can see that they work exactly this way, so I’m sure the same applies for CPCW.

Member

As you know Derek Argos is owned by Sainsbury,s and Sainsbury is now partially owned by —–Walmart ( 42 % ) or I should say merged -CMA approved .

Walmart are feeling the heat in the USA from Amazon and are fighting to compete-not successfully so far .
But hang on ! not according to the USA media where its-
“Britain.s Sainsbury,s to buy supermarket chain Asda from Walmart for $10.1 Billion ” (associated press )-quote-
This is a transformational opportunity to create a new force in U.K. retail,” Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said
Shares in Sainsbury’s jumped 20 percent to 325 pence at the market open.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Inc., meanwhile, is building fewer big stores and focusing more on internet businesses in an effort to compete for the online shoppers who use Amazon.
J Sainsbury plc, the chain’s corporate name, says Walmart will receive 4.3 billion pounds worth of Sainsbury’s stock and 2.98 billion pounds in cash. Walmart will own 42 percent of the combined company. Sainsbury’s said the deal will produce costs savings of at least 500 million pounds ($688 million) due to increased efficiency.

Depending on what side of the “pond ” you are living in there are two different “views ” on it on this issue -CNN see it as “selling off ” .

Dont think this is the end of the matter -Amazon are encroaching into the grocery trade having taken over US Whole Foods Market and opened -Amazon Go and Amazon provide Morrison with groceries .
What have I said long ago ?- soon we will be a branch of USA “Offshore Inc ” , we already are being sold USA (Edison ) screw in bulbs as “standard ” replacements and two pin plugs from Amazon .

Member

So far as I am aware, Duncan, the Competition and Markets Authority [CMA] have not yet approved the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger as there are still many monopoly and competition issues to resolve in certain areas.

It is not necessarily a good thing for UK consumers as it reduces competition even though it is claimed by Sainsbury’s that economies of scale and operational synergies will lead to lower prices and better quality overall. I remain to be convinced.

As you say, Walmart will hold a minority stake in the company in the future but it is very much a Sainsbury’s take-over with Sainsbury’s people dominating the executive and board positions.

The acquisition of Argos by Sainsbury’s has been regarded as a very smart move enabling a much more efficient use of space in the superstores which have been losing sales to the discounters [e.g Aldi and Lidl] and to medium-size supermarkets like Morrisons.

Member

It is “heartening ” to know -quote from you –“Sainsbury,s people dominate the executive and board positions John.

Member
DerekP says:
27 November 2018

Wot – no board bots yet?

Member

After all the complaints in Which? Conversation about Currys PC World’s treatment of laptop purchasers and the set-up charge, and the promises that the bad practices would be stopped, I was very disappointed to read that these abuses were continuing. I agree with Duncan – it is hard not to believe that this is an institutionalised corporate sales culture that the senior management have lost all control over, or indeed are actively encouraging.

Which? have told us in the past that they have engaged with CPCW and been given assurances that this would cease, but still it goes on year after year after year, and Which? seems to be completely unwilling to do anything about it.

There was a small piece in the November Which? magazine in which a member on the Isle of Wight went to CPCW to buy a new laptop at £589 and was told the store only kept pre-setup models for which there would be an additional charge of £60. He said he could do the setup himself, demanded to see the manager, and was able to get his way leaving with a fully set up laptop at no extra cost. Good for him, but not everyone is able to do that sort of customer interaction and will end up paying 10% more for their purchase than they need to.

I was extremely dismayed to see the pathetic comment from “Which? laptops expert” Michael Passingham who said “Since January 2015 we’ve had more than 100 complaints from members who have paid for these unwanted additional charges. Currys PC World assured us that the Knowhow set up service is optional, and that customers should not be charged extra in cases where only pre-setup models are available. As your experience proves, this isn’t always true on the shop floor.” And that was it. There followed some information on how to get a refund and about ‘bait advertising’ but no comment on whether Which? would actually do something.

This has been going on for so long now without any effective action from Which? that it’s about time Which?’s failure to act was brought to public attention. What does a company have to do get Which? to take legal action to uphold the law and protect consumers’ rights? How much more deliberate miss-selling of laptop setups has to occur before Which? will stir itself. Let’s have an end to these anodyne comments that have done nothing to stop the consumer being exploited by one of the country’s biggest retailers who for many tech and appliance buyers is their only or most convenient outlet. You have to wonder what sort of hold the company has over Which? that allows this inadequate response to prevail.

Member
DerekP says:
29 November 2018

Well said John.

What we seem to be seeing here (and I seem to remember our W?C moderators objecting to this matter being described as “a scam”) is institutionalised lying to customers and to Which? staff, for the purposes of up-selling and perhaps also the maintenance of basic unit prices that are effectively “bait advertising”.

As someone with a continuing involvement in sales, I think CPCW are “crossing the line” here.

For example, if I were working as a sales droid at a VW dealership, in my sales pitches I would probably be content to avoid any mention of diesel emissions or Polo rear seat belts, but if those things were mentioned, I would not regard telling lies about them as acceptable.

Member

If I were buying a new laptop I would appreciate having it set up for me and would regard that as value added to the basic purchase for which a reasonable charge was acceptable, but that would genuinely be an optional extra under which I would have an unfettered choice of how I wished to proceed. I might be able to do it myself, or I might have a friend or family member who would do it, or I might already have my own tech specialist who dealt with computer issues for me and he or she could do it for a small charge. Fundamentally I have the right to take my purchase away in its original unopened packaging without the retailer interfering with it without my permission.

Duncan made the point in one of the previous Conversations on this problem that once the manufacturer’s seal on the outer carton had been broken and the contents removed from the packaging it was no longer ‘new and unused’ and that is a fair point. It has already been devalued so there should be no question of charging more to enable it to work properly. These days a laptop is the sort of present that grandparents might like to give to their grandchildren. Why should they have to put up with a box that has been unsealed and possibly damaged?

There are alternatives to buying from CPCW but their proliferation of stores, massive advertising, and the promotion of their Knowhow service lures customers in and leaves them exposed to possibly deceitful and dishonest trading.

Member

You remember that Derek ? It was me I was “reprimanded by Which ? and the “offending post ” “regulated ” .
I have also gone into the past actions of the actual owners of CPCW -you know who, detailing —shall we say their “misadventures ” , my post was either removed or heavily censored. It wasn’t a lie just the fact it gave adverse publicity to CPCW .

Member
DerekP says:
29 November 2018

Duncan – I think Which? wanted to avoid publishing (i.e. via this Convo) anything to the effect that CPCW was clearly and deliberately breaking the law.

As John already noted, Which? is not usually slow to condemn those to hoodwink their customers into buying un-required goods and services.

Member
Nigel Hutchings says:
21 December 2018

Bought a HP Laptop from PC world recently and got charged £40 for the back up flash drive, apparently it was the only one in stock so clearly they are still doing it.
Next stop PC world, thanks Which.

Member
Donald Oswald says:
14 January 2019

I bought a HP Pavilion laptop from Currys/PC World in Hamilton ML3 on 11 January 2019. After resisting the barrage of up-selling I asked to buy the laptop on it’s own, £499. When the salesperson arrived with it he had one in the box with tape labeling on it, saying it had set-up and had a USB recovery drive for £20 extra. I was caught of guard and agreed, when he was putting it through the checkout it was £30 extra! When I complained, he reduced it to £20.
When I got home and was using the laptop I realised there was USB stick in the box. HP only allow one recovery drive to be made so I experimented and the computer was going to let me make one. Clearly, a recovery drive had not been made in the shop.
A visit next morning to the shop and a salesperson gave me the 32GB and I said I would do it myself.
I feel I have been taken for a right mug, and my only consolation is I see I’m not alone.
Hope Currys PC World are happy with my £20 ‘cos it will be the last penny they get from me.

Member

Which? have received “assurances from CPCW that this was an isolated practice and all stores had been told to stop such underhand selling. Make of that what you will.

Member

In reference to Donald above aren’t those who continually make excuses for CPCW not ashamed of themselves ?

Oh yes ! we have told them and they wont do it again or they are “just being salespeople ”
Oh how the injustice against the British public is covered up and its citizens treated like third world entities .
Every excuse is dragged out – “rogue salesman ” – just a new start doesn’t know the ropes – sorry he was “confused ” -well sorry I dont live in the world of rose tinted glasses- Disney World edition I cant post what I posted before as it was removed because of libel but why is it NOT libel in the USA and WHY do the USA Federal Government have laws against it?
Dont say -but we are British because my reply would be- exactly !- mugs of the first order , you dont let “barrow boys ” shouting from a stall away with it whats the “excuse” now?

I have only one word and if this is banned it will confirm my worst fears for the state of this Nation—-Boycott !
Now if you lived in America you could sue right away by contacting 1000,s of attorney,s
here is just ONE –
https://www.consumerlawchicago.com/what-is-fraudulent-misrepresentation-in-consumer-law.html

quote-
There are three different types of deceptive or fraudulent practices addressed by the Consumer Fraud Act:

Affirmative acts – These actions include deception, fraud, misrepresentation, and false promises.
Knowing omissions – These actions include concealment, suppression, or omission of a material fact.
Violations of specific sections of the Consumer Fraud Act and similar laws.
You do not need to prove that a business intended to violate the law in order to recover compensation under the Consumer Fraud Act. You simply must demonstrate that a section of the law has been violated and you were damaged (e.g., lost money) from it.

Member
DerekP says:
14 January 2019

As a sidenote for Donald and others, at least in 2011, it was possible to reset the Windows registry after banking up an HP pc, so I was able to make more than a single master backup of Windows 7.

Member

I don’t think anybody commenting on this site has defended Currys PC World’s behaviour in attempting to sell pre-set-up laptops. So far as I can see there has been universal condemnation and calls for action against the company.

I am not aware of any excuses being made publicly by CPCW along the lines suggested by Duncan. They are hardly likely to admit that they employ ‘rogue’ salesmen [or saleswomen], or that they do not train their staff adequately, or that their staff are confused. Perhaps those are the sort of lines that store managers might use when a customer challenges them, but I can’t remember any such dialogue being reported here. I suspect they are excuses imputed to CPCW with little or no foundation. If nothing else, the retailer is extremely careful to avoid committing a criminal act under the Trade Descriptions Act or the Consumer Rights Act.

One of the problems with pursuing this issue, as many of us have tried to do on numerous occasions, is that I cannot recall any comments in which the customer said they had reported it to their local trading standards directly or via Citizen’s Advice. Equally, no one has said that they asked the company to hold back a laptop for them without the set-up so they could collect it later and the company refused to do so. What happened in most cases where the customer persisted in refusing to pay the higher price was that the company stepped back and let them have the product, including the set-up, at the advertised price for a basic unit. Some customers have paid the increased price against their better judgment but in order to avoid a dispute. CPCW’s attitude seems to be “We win some, we lose some” which most people would describe as callous.

There is no question that the practice of trying to force customers to pay more than they need to is deplorable, and if that involves lying about the stock availability or putting the customer under duress that is doubly reprehensible. But it would seem that no one, including Which?, has put the company to the test and been able to make a case out of it.

I am extremely disappointed that Which? has not pursued this problem with any vigour. They have had discussions or correspondence with senior executives and, as Duncan has said, accepted bland but unfulfilled promises that the practices would cease and that all personnel would be instructed accordingly. Yet, it still goes on.

Every few weeks another report comes into the Conversation about the alleged upselling. Is upselling illegal? Basically, no. How much pressure is legitimate? That has never been tested. So what is Which? doing about it, meaningfully? Nothing at all by the look of it. That is where any shame should reside – for letting down consumers and failing to tackle an abuse of monopoly since, for many people throughout the UK, Currys PC World is the only place in town where you can buy a computer over the counter [although Argos and some other high street retailers might disagree], and, rightly or wrongly, people place their faith in big companies rather than side-street independent shops which cannot afford heavy advertising and cannot stock a wide range of products and brands.

Member

Isn’t the valid point —why is the word “up-selling ” a word I was not familiar with in my younger days as it was called for what it was ,the days before all those sly-twisted words became part of our collective vocabulary because “it was good business practice “.
Why do America and other countries have a more down to earth realistic opinion legally on this issue ?
Why do we put up with this – because of the same reason that many in this country wont complain of bad food/service in a restaurant, the built in reserve that is part of the human character of the British people.

What we need is a change of public attitude , Americans “blow their top ” at bad service , their hard won salaries mean they appreciate that others should not try to take advantage of them .
I keep reading that this country should change to accept the new digital age, well they should also change their combined public approach to big business “practices ” .
Much is said about children being “taught ” certain “social graces ” WHY are they not also taught to be distrustful of third world business practices as as well ?
Insidiously/slyly big companies make a big show of supplying hardware to schools and the media pats them on the back –big deal ! -$billion companies indoctrinating little children to accept the “label ” while living with the darker side which includes practices that are laughed at in some countries – like- quote- why do the Brits put up with this ,usually from Americans .

Its time the laughing stopped and the citizens of this country treated with respect –Upselling ???- OMG !

Member
DerekP says:
15 January 2019

As John said, CPCW have a near monopoly position – they definitely “showroom” more models of PC’s than other retailers.

Other retailers with shows do exist – e.g. John Lewis and Office World and for an honest, down to earth approach, I do like Argos.

But I’ve always seen strong up-selling culture at Currys – that was why I used to prefer Comet and bought the majority of my PC’s there.

Member

What, then, is the correct word for selling something to a customer who is already buying a related product? It also applies to persuading a customer to upgrade their intended purchase to a superior model. This sort of sales tactic has been going on since the year dot. Whatever it’s called I bet it’s not illegal in America.

We, and most other advanced consumer-oriented countries, have laws against misrepresentation, misdescription, and misleading advertising. I don’t think we need to take any lessons from the USA on dishonest trading, the home of bunco booths and swindles.

One of the reasons why the British might not be so eager to sue at the drop of a hat is that we don’t have so many parasitic lawyers hovering around like horse flies waiting to sting us. Plus, where we have a choice, we are more inclined to vote with our feet. But we have Trading Standards/Consumer Protection Services and the County Court which we could make more use of.

Member

John you make it sound like its “normal business practice ” in this country that softens it for what it really is .
You are advocating acceptance of –well I cant post it, dont you realise laws are meant to protect the public not give poetic license to practices abhorred in other countries .
You are right dishonesty is/was rife in the USA BUT after the outcry of the US public the Federal Government did something about it and I personally congratulate them in doing so -they are doing their job protecting citizen USA.

As regards being told a certain price and expecting a brand new product UNOPENED what do you get instead ?
No John I would stand up in court and say it for what it is , I refuse to have the wool pulled over my eyes just to conform to practices in this country that are rife in some third world countries .
You quote our authorities -why ? – have they put an end to it ?

Member

I agree, Duncan, that if a product is being advertised as brand new in an unopened sealed box that is what you should get, but is that what Curry’s have been advertising, and is that precisely what customers have been ordering?

You will see from my numerous previous posts that I am not trying to condone CPCW’s behaviour and have consistently condemned it, but we have to recognise that sometimes the law falls short of what we wish it to say.

I quoted our authorities to point out that I don’t expect they have been asked to put an end to it. Somebody has to report it before they will act and they probably need several examples for building a case of consistent malpractice.

I think Malcolm [below] should have the last word.

Member

If you turn up at a CPCW store without prior arrangement and all they purport to have in stock are “set-up” lap tops at extra cost you can just walk away and buy elsewhere. If you reserve a laptop, not set up, for collection and the store accepts the reservation then while they are probably under no legal duty to supply that they should honour the transaction when you arrive to collect it. Perhaps Which? would explain our legal rights?

Member

Hi Malcolm,

In terms of Currys/PC World acting unlawfully, Patrick set out in the convo:

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.

We should have another update for you soon.

Oscar

Member

@oscarwebb, thanks Oscar. Look forward to the update.

Member
DerekP says:
21 January 2019

At least as judged by one recent surveillance “somewhere in England”, CPCW clobbers every prospective PC buyer with an aggressive push towards upselling. It looks as though their sales staff are programmed to push a set-up fee onto each PC sale, along with a paid for antivirus and a copy of Office 365.