Driven to frustration by PC World's poor service

  Pocket Weasel 11:52 11 Jun 2009

I bought an Advent netbook for my wife for Xmas from PC World in Milton Keynes, and it stopped working in May. No power, nothing. It did not even turn on.

I naturally took it back to the store, who were less than interested in helping. They said I had to contact the 'Tech Guys' myself and arrange pick-up for repair. I did this.

On Tuesday the laptop arrived back at my house, with a note saying that it had been checked and everything was fine, with a short typed note saying that damage from water was not covered by the warranty. This did not bother me, as the laptop has never been out of my living room and has never had anything spilled on it.

However, the laptop did not work. It was in the same state as when I sent it back. The technician had ticked a lot of boxes to say that everything was working (even things like the CD drive, which it doesn't even have), but it did not power up at all.

Another trip to the store followed, where I was basically told to call up the 'tech guys' again and send my laptop to them. It took an hour or to explain that I had done this, they had obviously not looked at it, and more needed to be done. All the time I was treated in a very hostile way - all I want is to get my wife's laptop working, but this turned into a major battle.

They finally said that they'd take care of it and send it away to the 'tech guys'. After I left the store they called me up to say that they's spoken to the 'tech guys' and because the laptop was water-damaged, there was nothing they could do under the warranty. Would I therefore come and collect my (useless) laptop?

This is incredibly frustrating. I know for a FACT that the laptop has not been water damaged. From the way the technician had just ticked all the boxes I suspect that they haven't even looked at it, and now they can use the excuse of water damage to get out of looking at it again. They have provided no evidence of this water damage, but because someone has put that down on a form they are refusing to take it any further to look for the real problem.

The irony is that I bought the laptop from a store because it is for my wife, and I wanted to be able to take it back if anything went wrong. How wrong this was!

I have had no success in getting anyone to take responsibility. No-one at PC World will tell me any names. No-one will give me any telephone numbers. I can only assume that they get so many complaints that they prefer to insulate the management from the hordes of angry customers.

I think that my only course of action is to pay for another engineer to look at the laptop and say that there is no water damage, and then to make a claim through the Small Claims Court. I really don't know what else to do.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant! If anyone can give me any suggestions on what I can do I would be very grateful indeed.



  oresome 13:44 11 Jun 2009

I can understand your frustration.

Let's assume for the minute that the netbook is damaged by liquid ingress.

You'd expect a communication from the service department advising that this is the case and explaining where the liquid has entered, what the damage is and your options. i.e. the cost of repair is not covered by the warranty, but it can be repaired for X pounds, is not repairable or whatever.

It's this lack of clear communications, coupled with a fault report sheet that doesn't provide any confidence that it relates to your machine and the shrugging of shoulders when you return to the store that makes the blood boil.

I think DSGI still have some way to go on the customer care skills.

I don't know the cost of the product and it's relation to how much it would be for an independent repair facility to confirm and or repair the fault. You should however be able to recover this cost if liquid ingress is proved not to be the cause of the problem.

My own experience of working in a service industry for 30 years is that many items are indeed damaged by liquid ingress and rarely if ever was this admitted by the customer. They may not even have been aware of the fact as a tiny amount is sufficient to corrode fine print on a circuit board.

  john bunyan 15:20 11 Jun 2009

Hopefully you can find another local "expert" who could give a report that the laptop is not suffering from water damage. Then you can go to the store and (armed with a copy of the report and a letter from you ) and state that as the goods are of unstisfactory quality, you want a replacement or a refund. I also suggest you phone your local Trading Standards for advice. The ssle of Goods Act makes the retailer responsible for selling satisfactory goods. I would go as far as the Small Claims Court if you are sure of your grounds. Do insist on seeing the store manager.

  Pocket Weasel 15:27 11 Jun 2009

Thanks both of you.

I feel I have been banging my head against a brick wall. It seems to me that it is very easy to write off any returned computer as being damaged by the user if you don't have to do anything to prove it. It then comes down to my word against theirs.

Having given them every chance to help me - the customer - and not even had the chance to engage in any sort of meaningful dialogue, I feel that it is now time for a totally disproportionate and futile gesture. I want to take them to court.

In a way this is a sad state of affairs. The whole thing could have been cleared up quickly and easily at the beginning.

  Kevscar1 15:36 11 Jun 2009

As said above you need an independant report to have any chance of winning a court case.
Armed with one I would send a copy to H.O. demanding a full refund, expenses and compensation.
Send it special delivery, recorded no longer has to be signed for and state that if no communication is recieved within 14 days you only recourse is to start legal proceeding against them.

  iscanut 15:53 11 Jun 2009

The retailer is responsible and cannot just pass you off to an unrelated organisation ( Tech Guys ). Stick to your guns, quote the Sale of Goods Act to them and good luck.

  wee eddie 17:58 11 Jun 2009

It is still within the Guarantee period. You did right to return to PCW.

If you plan to get Independent Verification of the problem, before visiting Trading Standards and/or The Small Claims Court, you will need to inform PCW first as they will be held responsible for reimbursing you the Cost of the Independent Report should it prove to be in your favour.

  ronalddonald 19:21 11 Jun 2009

be that the tech guys themselves water damaged it and trying to pin the blame on you and trying to get out of the responsibility of fixing the laptop which is under guarantee

  Pocket Weasel 19:30 11 Jun 2009

You know Ronald, the same idea occured to me.

Isn't it incredible how little trust people have in a major retailer? But the fact is that I believe them to be capable of things like this. I really do.

As it stands, I have the laptop now safely back in my possession. I have copies of all the documentation, including the falsified report by the technician that said that everything had been checked and passed (even the non-existent CD and floppy drives). I have formally asked PC World to provide a detailed description of the alleged water damage that can be used in court, and I have reminded them that under the Sale of Goods Act it is their responsibility to prove that there were no manufacturer's defects.

I have logged on to the online Small Claims Court (click here) and I am about to send a very calm and rational e-mail to all the Directors of DSG and PC World.

I refuse to be bullied by these people!

  skidzy 19:41 11 Jun 2009

You do need to contact DSG International !

I had a thread on a similar issue some time ago.
It was also an Advent laptop bought from PCW.

PCW did not show any interest what so ever and it was PC Advisor that guided me to DSGI.

Though slow to respond to our query/problem laptop they did offer some help...i am not going to bore you with the in and outs...but you will need to send the laptop to DSG for a diagnosis.

I would be hoping your machine has not been sabotaged !!

Good luck with this issue.

  Pocket Weasel 19:49 11 Jun 2009

Thanks Skidzy - that's encouraging to hear.

I may be getting paranoid, but I have visions of what will happen if PC World get their hands on my laptop now. They'll be tipping water on it, dropping it in the bath, flushing it in the toilet etc and then they'll hold it up, all dripping and wet, and say "see - we told you there was water damage!"

Call me suspicious (I am!) but I'd like to hear from PC World what the precise damage was, where the water came in, what components were affected, and what physical and visual evidence they have. Only when I have had this checked out independently will I let them near my laptop.

This is deep paranoia, I know, but after three days of dealing with these people this is how I feel.

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