Major dissatisfaction with Carrera PC & service

  skyline 18:25 01 Jul 2004

In February 2004 I decided to invest in a new, high specification PC, to support my home and small business requirements.

I purchased three PC magazines, including PC Adviser, to research the best machine to meet my needs. A range of recent tests and surveys were proclaiming Carrera Octan PCs to be “best buys” for their performance and value. I had never heard of Carrera SSC (or Digital Networking PLC, under which they trade). However based upon the endorsement of your publication and others, I duly placed an order for an Octan 3200 AIW PC (including some enhancements), for £1,627.

Since this date I have experienced a miserable catalogue of problems, which has left me with absolutely no confidence in the quality and reliability of Carrera SSC equipment, or their support and service facilities (which incidentally are all outsourced to third parties).

In case you think that that I may be unduly harsh in making this statement, here is an abridged summary of the sequence of events, since placing my order :

• 12/3/04 - order placed
• 26/3/04 – advised of delivery delays due to factory move, expect delivery 1st April (yes, April fools day!)
• 01/04/04 – received telephone call to say that no delivery, as they had not had stocks of the TFT screen which I had ordered “for several weeks”. A substitute was offered, which after haggling was upgraded to a decent quality alternative.
• 03/04/04 – PC delivered. Machine failed to respond at all to the start button. Contacted hardware and software support numbers provided – held in succession of call queues, ranging up to 50 minutes. Eventually received call-back, asking me to remove casing, to check for loose wires! This revealed the CPU fan swinging free against the graphics card and on closer inspection, clear dents and damage to the casing (although the packaging in which the PC had been delivered, was undamaged). Also spotted inferior networking card, to that which had been ordered.
• 06/04/04 – machine was collected for return to factory for “re-build”.
• 15/04/04 – “re-built” PC was delivered back to me – absolutely no explanation as to reasons for damage to first PC or apology
• 15/04/04 – PC worked! Loaded full range of software, e-mail accounts, LAN etc. and began using for business documents.
• 30/04/04 – PC refused to start – I had important business deadlines to meet, with essential documents held on hard drive. I began calling Carrera support numbers, call sequence as follows :
o 9 am constant call queues and recorded messages on hardware support line, gave up at 9.45 and contacted Mark Johansen (Sales Director). He promised a call-back from their engineer “within the hour”
o 11.20 am – still no call-back, rang Johansen again. Apologised, promised call-back within 10 minutes
o 2.05 pm – still no call-back, rang Johansen again. “Please hold and I will transfer you to the engineer now”, put through to engineer. After hour long attempt to remedy, his diagnosis is serious hardware failure, PC needs to be collected and re-built at factory. I stress that it is essential for me to recover business files, to meet deadlines. He promises to ring back before end of afternoon with proposed solution.
o 5.30 pm – no call-back received, engineer cannot be found
o 5.45 pm – rang again, engineer has gone home, nobody else aware of my predicament

• 01/05/04 – contacted local PC contractor to extract hard drive and recover my files (cost £85)
• 04/05/04 – chased Carrera re arrangements to re-collect PC for repairs
• 05/05/04 – PC re-collected, taken back to factory
• 11/05/04 – rang Jamie Blundell (Customer Service Director) for update. No awareness or explanation re what fault was, or appreciation of inconvenience caused
• 13/05/04 – “re-built” PC re-delivered
• 28/05/04 – 17/06/04 : sequence of e-mail correspondence to recover cost of call charges to Carrera support numbers (£23, which Jamie Blundell had previously agreed to reimburse) and cost of file recovery £85.
• 17/06/04 – Jamie Blundell & Mark Johansen point blank refuse to reimburse £85
• 30/06/04 – as yet no reimbursement received for call charges (although itemised bill provided and returned).

My whole experience of Carrera (DN PLC) is summed up as follows :

• The PC equipment which they manufacture is shoddy and unreliable
• Their service culture, from the most senior level downwards is dismissive, complacent, inaccessible and unaccountable
• They do not demonstrate even a basic level of consideration or responsibility for the cost and inconvenience which they cause their customers

  spuds 19:34 01 Jul 2004

If you put Carrera in the PCA search facility, there are forty interesting postings. Carrera's only response to some problems click here

Carreara have now expanded, by purchasing the old Multivision company.

  Bart of Darkness 20:22 01 Jul 2004

Whilst searching for a new PC I considered Carrera but their reputation on these forums is just too negative.

SShame as they do offer some nice systems (on paper at least).

  pipedream 20:48 01 Jul 2004

I know someone who bought a Multivision PC a while back and experienced similar very poor service, so looks like these companies were made for each other...

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