Dixons Stores Group has for the second time this year been caught not only selling returned goods as new but also failing to wipe customer details from those machines.

PC Advisor has discovered that between November 2000 and January 2001 a major London branch of Dixons sold the same notebook PC as new to two separate people without wiping its hard drive, so passing on customers' details to the next in the chain.

It seems none of the customers were told the notebook had been sold before. These actions contravene the Sale of Goods Act, the Trade Descriptions Act and the Data Protection Act.

This is the second time this year it has come to PC Advisor's attention that a DSG (Dixons Stores Group) outlet has done this. In the February issue of PC Advisor, we revealed as a print exclusive that an Exeter branch of PC World had sold a PC as new when it was a returned unit and without wiping the hard drive.

"We are extremely sorry [the] laptop was resold as new and without its hard drive wiped correctly," said Chris Langley, Dixons' managing director. Dixons is allegedly investigating how to deal with staff at the store. "The mistake was human error," said Langley.

But, PC Advisor has now found out that Dixons store managers are not required to tell anyone else in the company about staff misdemeanours. This means countless more possible crimes could be committed without the knowledge of DSG head office.

For more on this story see the new August issue of PC Advisor, out in shops on 28 June.