/ 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.’

Comments
Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

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
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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

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/set-up-and-showhow-287-commercial.html

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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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
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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
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I suspect John Lewis ask if you want the service rather than insisting you have to have it though.

Profile photo of John Ward
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Member

I just bought a laptop in Currys/PCworld. They said it was the last one other than the display model. When they got the box it had the ‘already setup’ label on it. I said I didn’t want it setup – I was happy to do it myself ( I may be over 50 but I don’t have £40 to throw away for something I can do myself. The manager then wrote off the £40 and THEN OPENED THE BOX AND TOOK THE BACKUP USB OUT saying they’d use it on another laptop. She made a big show of doing it as well. I now have a new laptop in an open box with no idea if I am now able to make another backup as I would usually do this as part of the set up process. The salesman who said he was only selling it to me as I appeared to have made up my mind said he would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS SELL THAT MODEL TO HIS FRIENDS AS IN HIS OPINION IT WAS ****. (ASUSX441 14″ 4GB/1TB) It was a replacement for a 6yr old HP Pavillion.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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How patronising Hev !!! arrogant and nauseous . To all you “lovers ” of PC World/Curry,s stop making excuses for this company they have obviously been programmed by head office to act in this “master+ serf ” fashion I would have blown my top !!! They are treating the British public like Third World citizens , no wonder the US couldn’t stand them . They sold you a second hand item I dont care who says what or comes out with any jargon because it will all be US big business – a sucker is born every minute . Opened the box ??? NOT new . Would a woman buy a beauty product if another woman had picked it up tried it on herself and then put it back on the display ??? not in this world . I am telling you Brits DONT take this from these scoundrels -boycott them . I am a member of a very big UK/US organisation for raising petitions and keep getting asked to put out a petition I am seriously thinking of raising one against this outrageous company . It makes my blood boil ! They are being offered for sale cheaply in Bangladesh and if you know that country most of the people are extremely poor . Its not bottom rung but its a long way from the top. I just cant get over their attitude Hev anybody saying that to me ,old as I am , would be lying horizontal on the floor , jail or no jail.

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

Hev, you may want to look into Macrium Reflect Free – this seems to be the current “goto” software for all our home W10 backup needs. It easily allows the imaging and cloning of W10 system discs.

FWIW, Asus moved into making whole PCs after becoming a dominant manufacturer of PC motherboards. I doubt that there’s really much not-to-like about their home market PCs.

Microsoft now also allow the free download of W10 installation discs. I’ve not tried using one to restore W10 when using the printed licence code that comes with a new PC, but that ought to work in principle.

All in all, Currys PC World are obviously sticking to their long standing policies of aggressive point-of-sale upselling. I can’t fault them for liking the idea of “money for nothing”, but I personally wouldn’t want to pay someone else to do something that I’d actually enjoy doing myself.

Member
bishbut says:
1 September 2017

Some people have more money than sense its those who will pay without question all that is asked There are more of those than those who ask WHY that is why stores etc. keep on doing “dodgy” things without being brought to task Those in power only act if it affects them PERSONALLY

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Obviously Sky have been “taking a leaf out of PC World,s books ” . I was astonished to see a SKY advert saying – quote- we guarantee 55 Mbps -uh yes? –uh no ! and then you come to the T+C,s . You mean my 1 Mbps line will be capable of 55 Mbps ???? . No ! what all this is, after reading through the small print is the old US Advertising scam of getting you to transfer from company -A/B/C to company D once you have taken up the offer and find it doesn’t do what it says on the label you have to jump through hoops to cancel it . First only SKY speed checker is allowed and there is a minimum time period of forced stay with company D and other factors . The US has been doing this “captive audience ” scam of -once you get them they will be fed up trying to transfer elsewhere for many decades , so much so there are PDF,s of US origin about the mass audience sales psychology behind it. Its part of US business strategy . Of coarse most ingrained advertising addicts will jump at this but for those with a minimum of intelligence —-beware !

Member
Mark Pearson says:
24 September 2017

My mum bought a laptop from Currys yesterday (23rd September). She had £480 to spend on a laptop and printer/scanner. They’ve conned her into a laptop priced £275, a scanner worth £40 and convinced her into £160 of extras she did not need.

On top of this, the laptop was only available “pre-set up” and had the £40 fee added. As a gesture of good will, they said, they deducted this from the £79.99 McAfee antivirus they had already conned my mum into believing she ‘needed’.

Absolutely disgraceful that this practice is still on going.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Disgraceful Mark but Curry,s PC World are “above ” the law in this country. No matter how many people here say do this / try this it NEVER changes their rip-off selling techniques . The top MacAfee protection can be bought for £45 and even I think this is too much as its far from the best . Look forward to hearing from all the PC World/Curry,s apologists. Even with all the talk of do this do that it never changes their boardroom policy . cries of- oh! its only b”one or two stores ” and maybe the staff “haven’t been told” -seen It- read it -got the T -shirt Remember Ratners – “attitude ” towards the public? -same. Petticoat Lane barrow boy style , and yes I was down there in his era

Profile photo of DerekP
Member

Duncan, do you think Currys/PC World are breaking the law by up-selling?

I don’t think any law is being broken here – Currys are just carrying on with their decades old practices of hard sell up-selling.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

Derek I sold in a market at one time I know what goes on and the “hard sell ” which I never did but used logic and intelligence . What we have here is sharp practice US type selling to a British public who are, in the main -too nice and too honest believing all people are like them . I learned very early in life I couldn’t even trust “so called friend/friends ” I am, here to help protect the public from that and if that involves giving out sales practices that sail close to the wind I will. Do you want a country of New Yorkers who are out for anything they can get ? That’s not the vision of England that comes before my eyes.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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You have to keep your wits about you and do some research. Every commercial organisations is in business to sell someone something – that is what they are there for, whether it is a computer, a car, or a 4 pack of beans instead of the single tin in the supermarket. I doubt if it has ever been any different. We have to know what we actually need, what we thenwant to buy, sort out where best to buy it, and do just that. If we lack confidence, go with someone who can help.

Profile photo of DerekP
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Duncan – are you seriously saying that US “sales gurus” traveled back in time to ancient Rome, thereby causing the phrase “caveat emptor” to enter our language?

Or is it simply that you just blame the USA whenever you can, irrespective of any facts?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Derek-I use the American system of -I say it like see it . Why do people keep on thinking I blame the US government without cause ? I will ask you a question -why does nobody here want to talk about Saudi Arabia or the innumerable evil countries that the UK does business with ? Answer me that and I will go into detail all the USA,s bad points . I don’t hate the USA that’s childish , I just don’t like their foreign policy – which you rightly note is of Roman Empire extraction -ie- we rule the world- don’t like it? sanctions/war/invasion. I talk to many Americans and if you think they are all dumb you would be wrong. Its usually US intellectuals/ Professors I speak to people who get booted out of office for opening their mouths. But normal Americans are easily influenced by the media/big business because they are by nature only interested in what is happening in America and everybody else are foreigners . Its kith+kin with them they even bad mouth each other if one is from the North or South. I don’t really care about that its when they control other countries that I get annoyed imposing their (non ) culture upon us. Don’t you remember I was the lone voice in voting for the Donald on this website and most of the UK ? I am sorry to say he was all bluff+bluster caving into the “Swamp” very quickly its sad really . By the way he wants to build another golf course in Scotland I don’t see the FM taking kindly to that. He must be reading my posts –no more White- House news briefings ! i know the US is sacrosanct in this country-just not with me.

Profile photo of DerekP
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Duncan, I think the issues you keep mentioning are “off topic” for a Convo about PC World’s up-selling practices.

My challenge remains that these practices are rooted in what many business owners would regard as “normal business practices”, as evolved during the long history of capitalism and hence owe nothing in particular to anything else, including any of your pet hobby horses.

If scams or frauds involve selling goods and services on the basis of false claims or promises, then I don’t think PC World actually cross that line. In contrast, what they do do is to “talk up the sale”, to emphasise the value of their offer.

For example, whilst there IS a value in getting recovery media with a new PC, Dell used to charge £10 for this while Medion used to supply recovery media for free. Hence, if some customers are happy to pay £40 for this, that is up to them, but many of us would regard £40 as excessive.

From this, it is not so good to hear that PC World promising Which? that the practice is being phased out, only to see examples to the contrary. It is, however, good to hear from those who have either walked away in protest or “haggled” the price down.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Derek-by saying its “off-topic ” its intentionally avoiding getting to the root of the problem. The business world isn’t insular its governed at the moment by “conditions ” from the USA . I like getting to the root of any problem , by using an “avoidance pattern ” nothing really gets solved . big business/America/ control of economies / external factors/actions/globalisation all go together . I had burst appendix -only a quick operation saved my life ,that means surgically cutting into somebody and removing the poisonous part and it worked . Likewise if something is wrong in a country I don’t prevaricate I am not looking for gold stars from anybody only defending the British public, blame should go where it deserves to go. I was left to defend myself in life and if you think about it that’s basic human nature but acceptance of hurt and suffering to others for the sake of peace I will never accept,- just to be “better thought of “.

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But since macro economics (and capitalism in that context) are far too complex to be understood fully, let alone to be able to designate those who should be blamed, I tend to agree with Derek. To return to your own surgery analogy, medics are taught to treat symptoms as all too often the causes defy easy explanation. In the case of your appendix, what was the cause? You won’t know, because there can be numerous contributory factors to that condition.

In terms of the current topic the best anyone can do is debate logically the pros and cons of Laptop sales, upselling and PCs in general with regard to the store in question. Debating it within a context of metaphysical perceptions doesn’t really help.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Burst appendix defies easy explanation Ian -ugh no ! I had that explained to me by the surgeon that carried out the operating . IMPACTED FAECES in the appendix due to lack of normal water intake -ie- not taking enough water. I suffer from a organic cause that prevents me feeling thirsty till it gets to the dizzy stage. -capitalism too complex – dont patronise me . Do you think I Spent years on international websites just arguing with Trolls ?? I spent years with US/German/and other countries discussing the causes of -recession/depression /or any fancy name HMG wants to call it. I know how the IMF/WB/ECB work and its objectives which are, in the end -get the public into debt and governments also by expending credit outwith their ability to pay back in real money -ie-gold.If this country had stayed on the Gold Standard we would have to live within our means – no big £billion,s for US armaments ,its like “Lend/Lease” you pay the US back . Well you pay world Banks back at high interest rates . Yes that’s simplifying it but I know who ends up $Triionaires -a select few while the poor get poorer who are the people ACTUALLY paying it NOT the CITY and the rich salt away their money overseas,if you know what I mean. How do you think Greece was brought down . I have the statement somewhere saying that Greece is not “obeying us ” so we will call in our loans etc. Read the unabridged History of the Bank of England – I mean the UN-censored version.

Profile photo of Ian
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Duncan: The exact role of the appendix is not clear. However, recent studies indicate that the appendix may be an area that hosts friendly bacteria, which help digestion and fight infection. There is some speculation that it may be related to the immune system and may influence the body’s ability to fight off infection. There are many conflicting theories about what the function is and, in short, we don’t fully understand it.

The reality is, however, we don’t yet understand exactly what it does and how it can become ‘burst’. Your doctor gave you the ‘Janet and John’ explanation; I’m talking about the root causes.

I’m not patronising you, either; I’ve never met anyone who understands international macro economics which, in the West, derives directly from a capitalist approach. If the world’s ‘experts’ find it too complex, I’m sure you’re not saying you’re better.

I suggest you read up on Modern Monetary Theory; it will prove an interesting read.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Firstly Ian -this wasn’t “indeterminate” my appendix was burst in FIVE places secondly impacted faeces is a know medical condition requiring immediate surgery , it doesn’t “go away ” like an infected appendix ie-“grumbling appendix ” . I was kept in the hospital for two weeks with a large plastic/rubber drain plug stitched into the surgical cut . I was left with a very large scar in width , NOT your normal thin line , I have a deep indent in my stomach region there –permanently . I had to have powerful penecillen injections EVERY day for that two weeks as my organs were affected by the blood poisoning travelling round my system. If you are trying to say-well its like the tonsils+adenoids – they don’t take them out now – how many have died from swollen tonsils ?? THEN look up how many died from burst appendix.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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Is this a topic for The Lobby? Or perhaps for certain contributions they could be placed in an appendix.

Member
bishbut says:
25 September 2017

Sellers of all things have used misleading tactics to sell unneeded things for years are not todays now called scammers just now doing the same thing persuading you do something that you would not normally do to extract money in some way or other Today it usually involves a large sum of money so has media attention Surely all hard selling tactics are scams too Call them scams to get everyone’s attention