Mesh Computers …Good ? … Bad ? … or Both ?

  ASTRoberts 07:44 20 Feb 2006

I have been a Mesh fan for many years, but now I have some doubts. I bought a PC from them back in the 1990s and it is still giving superb service. I needed to ring Customer Service in the 1990s, and not being computer knowledgeable there were a couple of occasions I had to ring Technical Support aswell, and in those days a real person answered the phone promptly and they were polite and helpful. Technical Support would ring you back usually within the hour, after they had checked your computer’s specification, so the support was virtually free. I am a private investor and I was so impressed by Mesh that, although small companies are risky, I even considered investing in them, so I know something about the history of the company.

When I discovered this forum in November 2005, you can imagine my surprise when I read some of the critical postings about Mesh. It is true of course that critics are far more likely to post on forums than fans, but the Mesh critics are often making similar complaints and sometimes they are clearly very angry. Late delivery, long waits on the phone, no response to emails or letters, problems regarding repairs, difficulty in persuading Mesh to agree to a refund and delay in actually receiving it, seem to be the most common criticisms. There must surely still be many more happy Mesh customers today than disgruntled ones, but it does seem that those customers with a problem are not receiving satisfactory Customer Service. This certainly does not seem to be the same Mesh which I knew from the 1990s. I bought from Mesh because they offered what I wanted for about 10% cheaper than I could buy anywhere else and, even in the more competitive market of today, they still seem to offer good value for money. Perhaps to do this now, Mesh are including very little in the price of their computers to cover Customer Service and consequently their Customer Service is underfunded and inadequate. Certainly some of the Mesh critics will have messed up their computers installing software, but probably in most cases the only difference between Mesh fans and Mesh critics is the fans get a good value computer which does not give any problems and the critics get a computer which is faulty and then have an ordeal with Customer Service. Mesh fans say Davey Whyte does a great job on this forum by helping Mesh customers get their problems resolved or obtain refunds, but Mesh critics say it is just a public relations stunt otherwise Mesh would put him in charge of their failing Customer Service. The criticisms on forums like this must be damaging Mesh and most of them appear to be easily rectified. The only obvious reason for not doing so and providing proper Customer Service is that it would cost money.

Mesh were a very successful company in the 1990s, they became a Public Limited Company (PLC) in 1992 and I seem to recall them opening retail outlets in Leeds and Edinburgh. However, according to the Companies House website, Mesh now have no branches, so it seems they must have closed these retail outlets and after over 12 years as a PLC they delisted in April 2005.

The facts about Mesh seem to be fairly clear, it is a matter of opinion what picture you see when you put all these pieces of the jigsaw together. For me it is a sad picture of a once excellent British company struggling in today’s marketplace. So what could have gone wrong at Mesh? Well, there are some generalisations which apply to most businesses. It is usually easier to make a profit in a new market than a mature one with fiercer competition, it is usually easier to make a profit from small expensive products like diamond jewelry than large cheap products like lawnmowers and it is usually easier to make a profit if the value of your products is rising, as the recent Shell and BP results illustrate. Unfortunately for Mesh on all these counts the business climate for building and selling computers in the UK is more challenging today than it was in the 1990s. I bought a reasonable value Olivetti 286 in 1990 for £1,400 (over £3,000 in today’s money), but you can get a bit better computer for your money today! As a retail product computers are becoming more like lawnmowers year by year. Worse still for Mesh, forums like this together with increased computer knowledge and expertise among the UK population has enabled many more people to build their own computers.

continued .....

  ASTRoberts 07:46 20 Feb 2006

..... continued .....

So, Mesh Computers …Good? … Bad? … or Both? Well in my opinion, it seems they were “Good” in the 1990s, but now they are “Both”, Good if you have no problems with your computer, but Bad if you have to avail yourself of their Customer Service. Personally I do not think I would risk buying from Mesh in their present state, but if you do take the risk and buy from them, then the odds are still in your favour of getting a reliable good value system. It may be safer to stick to a bog standard advertised Mesh computer rather than a bespoke specification. If your computer arrives and there is something wrong, then a rejection under The Distance Selling Regulations may be the best course of action, given the travails of dealing with their Customer Service, but you will lose the cost of collection and return to Mesh, typically £30 to £50.

As for the future, the bad news for Mesh is that although my heart hopes they return to their former excellence, my head cannot see how this could happen. If they cannot do diamond jewelry then maybe they should try lawnmowers. At least disgruntled lawnmower purchasers are less likely to post on lawnmower forums than disgruntled computer purchasers are on computer forums like this. The good news for Mesh is that I am not a brilliant entrepreneur, whereas the two owners and joint chief executives of Mesh are, and time will tell whether the action they are taking is going to revitalise the company and return it to its former glory or whether they are simply shuffling the deckchairs. Time may not be on their side. If Trading Standards received complaints, there certainly seem to be some failings of Mesh Customer Service which would be investigated and if Mesh became “Bad” then the market would eventually condemn them to the same fate as Tiny and Time (both apparently resurrecting again). That would be a great pity for a once excellent company like Mesh, which still offers good value computers. If they went under, all of us would probably pay a few percent more for our computers in the future, because their demise would relieve the competitive pressure on the remaining retailers.

Well, there should be enough here to arouse both fans and critics of Mesh and a lively debate with contributions from both groups will hopefully help those readers who are considering ordering from Mesh.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:49 20 Feb 2006

I have yet to see any company that has not had adverse comments about it. By your analogy you would not purchase anything from any company. Concise and to the point.


  rmcqua 10:15 20 Feb 2006

OK, concise and to the point: Rapid growth rate not supported by equivalent rate of increase in customer support and quality assurance.
The same old story that can be seen in lots of companies. Not uniquely a British problem, but significantly so.

  Dellman 10:29 20 Feb 2006

All businesses run to different the end of the day though, "cash is king" can always lose money as a business, however, you should never run out of money (to lose!!)!! say, for example, Rover!!

  The Spires 10:40 20 Feb 2006


  spuds 11:56 20 Feb 2006

It's apparent, that as an investor you have researched your market. But like all companies who have 'been in the field' for a number of years, have perhaps leaned to far back on their past performances.The markets are changing, and the public are asking for more, and quite rightly so.

I have witnessed many world renown companies, that have failed, due to various factors. Poor management, lack of experience and customer involvement are but three main subjects that usually condemn a company.

  Forum Editor 13:20 20 Feb 2006

is the point of all this? All companies - every single one - receive accolades and brickbats.

We're here to deal with computer problems, and offer advice with regard to consumer issues - not to debate the finer points of the evolution of businesses.

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