Time Computers is today rolling out an in-store support initiative across its entire 150-strong retail chain, as part of a company-wide effort to shift negative perceptions about the showroom retailer's service record.

Offering PC health checks, internal and external upgrades, troubleshooting and basic repairs, the in-store Service Stations are aimed primarily at customers who bought their systems from the Burnley-based box shifter.

Customers who have taken out Time's Covergold and Coverplus extended warranties will be able to bring their machines in for a free checkup.

Initially the Service Stations, collectively known as the Time, will sit demurely behind closed doors, while the chain gauges demand for the initiative. Initial estimates from the head office put anticipated demand at between 10 and 20 cases per store.

Over the next two months, however, the plan is to dedicate floor space to the Service Stations, complete with a resident technician, who will carry out basic troubleshooting, PC health checks and upgrades.

The rolling out of the Stations is part of overall plans to double the average floor space from 750 square metres to 1,500 square metres.

Entry-level costs for a checkup for non-warranty owners will be around £20, which will buy you a virus check, provision of all the latest drivers, along with the distinct possibility of 'upselling'.

'Upselling' is retail jargon for extracting more value from the customer and is entirely consistent with Time's stated intention of becoming a 'retailer that also manufactures' rather than a 'manufacturer that also retails'.

Classic 'upsells' will, we predict, consist of extra memory and antivirus software, closely followed by the opportunity to buy a larger or TFT flat-screen monitor.

Bookings for appointments should be made by calling local stores directly.