Only 28 days guarantee from PC World

  mt1 23:39 05 Apr 2009

Thinking of buying a netbook from PC World: Read this.

I bought an Advent netbook from their Canterbury branch as a Xmas present for my stepdaughter and now find that 'I' key has come off the keyboard and that that was only guaranteed for 28 days. Naively, I thought that the whole machine was guaranteed for a year . . . But, there again, that was because that was what the salesperson told me when I politely declined the expensive, rather useless-looking extended 'support' deal and asked. Before which I'd also politely ignored the guy's well-meaning sales pitch, telling me that MS Office might 'only just' fit on an 80 gig hard drive not leaving room for much else. (Okay, it wasn't well-meaning; it was a dog-ugly falsehood designed to get me to spend more money than necessary, but anyway . . .) And, I don't blame the sales guy for the breach of trading standards legislation that he committed in telling me that the standard guarantee was for a year; after all, their repair guy had to make a phone call to find out whether a three-and-a-half-month-old netbook keyboard was covered by a guarantee. So, if none of them know, they can missell dodgy netbooks with a dismal guarantee and sleep in peace.

So, today, laptop and 'I' key in hand, I went and asked for a repair, replacement or refund only to be told the news about the keyboard guarantee: if it's over 28 days since purchase, then it must be 'accidental damage' to the part in question: a small plastic square barely 1mm wide in places that sits under the key, holding it to the rubber underneath. Robust stuff, then. Couldn't possibly break through poor molding or extra tension from a slight misalignment. The netbook doesn't have a mark on it so clearly a screwdriver hadn't been taken to the keyboard and essays hadn't been typed with a hammer. But, anyway, the 28 day rule applies - so what does that mean? That PC World don't think their netbook keyboards are good enough to be guaranteed for longer than 28 days, in which case they're not 'fit for purpose' under the Sale of Goods Act. Or that they're so good that any breakage to this part after 28 days can only be accidental, in which case why not guarantee them for longer? It's incoherent rubbish.

Not that PC World will know: Despite the Sale of Goods Act laying the burden of proof on the retailer within six months of purchase, PC World have a blanket policy claiming all breakage of this part after 28 days can only be accidental - Yes, despite the Sale of Goods Act. So, if you're careless with your netbook and break it very quickly you might not be at fault; but if you're careful with your netbook, it might last long enough for PC World to conclude that you cannot have been.

Caveat emptor

  Forum Editor 23:49 05 Apr 2009

because PC World doesn't 'guarantee' anything. They may well offer a 28 day warranty, but that's a different matter, and can only be in addition to, and not in place of, your rights under current consumer law.

The correct position is that a supplier is liable for faults which manifest themselves within six months of the date of purchase, unless it can demonstrate that the fault was not present at the point of purchase. In practice that's a very difficult thing to do.

Your contract was with the supplier, so it is to the supplier that you look for a remedy. The law says that the remedy is for the supplier to either repair the goods within a reasonable time, or make a full replacement.

You may completely ignore the 28-day condition, for it has no force in law.

  wjrt 12:04 06 Apr 2009
  danbrazier 12:10 06 Apr 2009

I think there are some crossed wires here.

The "28-day-rule" as we affectionately refer to it, is relating to a straight swap. On the basis that any product should at least be free from defect for a month!!

The manufacturers warranty is purely a minimum period whereby they'll warrant that their goods should last for that amount of time - assuming reasonable conditions and use etc.

A key dropping off is always middle-ground - whenever this issue arrises at my store we take in to account the overall condition of the machine before deciding the remedy.

If the machine is pristine in condition - we can assume that it is a manufacturing fault that has led to the key being detached, and either fix it, or send it away for a keyboard (which seems to be a fairly routine thing for the service centers, I've never had to wait for a keyboard repair).

If the machine has taken a beating and is scratched up or has other signs of damange or neglect, then we'll often suggest that the user should call PC service call themselves to book it for uplift. This service is quicker for you that way, and also avoids anybody other than the technician who just does the job looking at the laptop and accusing you of using it unreasonably.

Failing a repair, it is still within your rights to request a replacement - but expect to have to follow the motions as far as the option to repair is concerned.

  mt1 12:40 06 Apr 2009

Thank you for your responses.

Dan Brazier: I wish I'd bought it at a store like yours - that seems a reasonable policy. To have a policy that assumes such faults must be accidental after a 28 day period is just wrong: they don't even look at the machine to establish fault. Indeed, the decision is made by people who are not even in the same building!

Forum editor: Yes, I agree. It's just needless bother and rather shocking.

  Mayhew132 22:04 17 Apr 2009

I recently bought an Epson printer from PCWorld in Canterbury, but had to return it for an exchange when the print head stopped functioning correctly (after trying 3 different packs of cartridges totalling £80).

Immediately at the store I was told the printer has to go in for a repair at Epson, so I asked to see where this was written, so they printed an "internal" document which basically showed staff what to do. I tried to explain that everying written there did not affect my statutory rights to which the employee denied. I then called consumer direct there and then to get my facts straight.

Consumer direct basically explained that the printer can be repaired but as its an essential item PCWorld has to agree a deadline with me, so I proceeded back into the store to explain this.

Left unattended was the document that was printed regarding the store policy on repairs and there was a store PIN code and phone number for booking repairs, so i called this number, entered the PIN and pretended to be a PCWorld member of staff.

I explained to the lady... "I have a customer here who has bought back an SX600FW but is demanding for the item to be replaced now, is this possible." the lady confirmed this saying "Whatever the store does is to their descretion, but the customer has to levels of warranty, one with the store and one with the manufacturer, so the item does not need to be sent back to us".

I relayed this back to a member of staff who immediately rushed to get their manager, I could then see the manager calling Epson to obviously complain about how that information was leaked to me (the document was now swiftly taken away).

Cutting a long story short I now have a working printer, but some of the staff at PCWorld Canterbury seem to fail at acknowledging statutory rights.

  papa lazarous 15:24 19 Apr 2009

OMG! PCW procedures photgraphed by reporter at 10 Downing St!

Come on! These aren't top secret documents. The reason they are not generally given out to customer is to prevent the very thing that was done by 'mt1' and have customers abusing any retail only channels.

The person at Epson was quite right in what they said but I'm not sure that 'two levels of warranty' was the right way to put it. As the trader, PCW is liable for any faulty product...
(now pay attention to the next bit very carefully)

...but that doesn't mean that PCW have to replace the item on the spot!

Stores have the option to swap every item that is returned faulty but as anyone with sense will realise, that would result in DSG going out of business within days (no smart alec comments please).

Smaller, low value, items are not cost effective to repair so they are often replaced immediately while still in their 1st year of manufacturer warranty. Larger, more expensive or more complex items are more suited to repair. Now obviously, all items cannot be repaired in the stores and this is where the store can arrange to get the items repaired by the manufacturer - this is done because as the trader, they are responsible for this. The option of contacting the manufacturer directly is given to customers as it often results in a quicker service than using PCW as the middleman. It does not mean that PCW are passing the buck.

Epson would have replaced the faulty printer on site (this would have been done at the PCW store but may take a couple of days, or at the customers address), a local Epson Express centre would have been able to offer an instant repair/replacement.

Which statutory rights were PCW failing to acknowledge?

This page is very informative:-
click here

  papa lazarous 15:44 19 Apr 2009

Apologies 'mt1', it was 'Mayhew132' and not yourself that contacted the Espon retail line.

  Mayhew132 20:34 19 Apr 2009

I take on your point, but when I took the printer back I was told that in order for a replacement or repair to take place there was a 28 day minimum wait, not the "couple of days" that you said. So I hope you can see my point as to why I wanted the process expedieted as I could not be without an essential item such as this for more than a week, let alone 4 weeks!

  papa lazarous 13:47 20 Apr 2009

The 28 days is a MAXIMUM not a minimum. This may have not come across correctly. PCW give themselves 28 days (or 6 weeks under PC Performance) to complete the repair process. Usually an Epson printer would involve a PCW tech calling Epson & booking it and then its just a matter of waiting for Epson to courier a replacement. Ideally it should take no longer than 7 working days. Any delays are usually by the couriers and manufacturers and vary rarely caused by PCW, although this may differ from branch to branch :(
The fact that PCW are really at the mercy of so many external companies is probably the reason that they get such slatings on forums such as this.

  Big L 266 14:52 20 Apr 2009

I too have had major run-ins with PC World.I bought a computer which went wrong the minute it was plugged in.It wasn't fit for purpose,didn't play music properly etc etc. In the end,after one almighty slanging match in their store in front of 50 customers,I stormed out,told them to shove my computer,and god-help them if I didn't get a refund!I got a call from their office lacky in the afternoon,and I went back next day for a refund.They wouldn't refund the pheripherals I bought saying I'd opend and used them!

In the end,having my letters,telephone calls,and emails all ignored at branch and head-office level,I wrote to my credit card company who took up my case for the additional refund of £177.00.After two months of sheer hard work on their part,my claim for all the pheripherals and telephone calls was paid in full.

Why do we both wasting our time patronising these places then?I for one wouldn't touch them ever again with a 100 foot barge pole.I went on to get another computer with pheripherals,and was treated with the greatest of courtesy and kindness by the people concerned.As far as I'm concerned,I will never ever again go into this most dreadful of despicable shops.

Big L 266

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