PC World's done it agin!

  ajm 00:06 05 Jul 2004
  oresome 19:17 05 Jul 2004

Quote "She thought there were a couple of possibilities. Those were - that the drive was received in that condition from the manufacturer, or that the disk was returned by a customer as new and unused."
The first 'possibility' seems unlikely. The second less so, but should the store accept a customers word that an item is unused and sell again as new if the packaging is open?

  bremner 19:26 05 Jul 2004

I find it absolutely disgraceful that a wonderful company like PC World are being picked on like this - I would willingly sell my house and all its contents to help PC World in its fight for justice.

  james55 20:00 05 Jul 2004

I think in any large company under sods law this will happen now and again. The only way to prevent something like this would be to disallow returns after a seal was broken. PC world have been very good to me over the years and I would hate to see this happening.


  oresome 21:01 05 Jul 2004

PC World has more experience of customer behaviour than most. It should therefore have procedures in place that prevent used items being sold as new. I doubt that a customer can reseal a box well enough to deceive staff into thinking the package has not been opened.

  Forum Editor 01:07 06 Jul 2004

hack coming into the shop and picking up a drive like this..........." Are surely the same as the odds against anyone else doing it? IT hacks are no different from normal mortals in that respect.

I imagine that it would take me about five minutes to repack a hard drive so that it would pass as unopened, and I imagine that it happens from time to time - and not just in PC World. Of course the company should not be selling second-hand goods as new, but it sometimes happens, and of course they should have a fool-proof method of preventing such occurrences, but it seems that they don't.

When considering incidents like this I think it helps to have a short pause for a reality check:-

1. If I was a PC World manager I think I would be able to make the mental leap that would result in this thought process: "Selling a used drive as new? Then make sure you wipe it clean first".

2. PC World's policy is to return defective products to the manufacturer; that being the case I invite anyone to explain why a store should knowingly attempt to sell a second-hand, faulty hard drive to someone when it doesn't need to bother.

3. It's possible, just, to conceive of a situation whereby a customer entirely lacking in integrity would attempt to return a drive as unused and get a full refund. Anyone who has ever worked in retailing will tell you stories about customer behaviour that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

I am not for a moment asserting that PC World did not deliberately set out to dupe the IT hack in question, but if they did they demonstrated a lack of guile that would have a four-year-old child smiling incredulously. Deliberately sell a used drive as new without first checking it for files? Please..........

And then there's that couple in West London - the ones who left their Word documents and Excel spreadsheets containing VAT details and "other sensitive information" on this perfectly good drive that they intended to return. They can't have too many neurones firing at the same time can they?

And finally..............if I was building a new PC I think I might just include a hard drive that was a tad larger than 20Gigabytes, but that's another issue altogether.

  gold 47 01:35 06 Jul 2004

I am amazed at people who don't wipe there hard drives leaving personal info on it but there you go.

  spuds 10:14 06 Jul 2004

This subject as been aired on many occassions, especially in respect of PCW. We are often told that PCW have procedures on goods return, and faulty items are sent back to the manufacturer. The PCW superstore in my locallity,like all PCW superstores have a 'Bargain Corner'. It is surprising how many times I notice ex-storeroom surplus or resealed,part open box components on sale in this section.Is it possible, that a storeroom clear-out could result in manufacturers returns, not actually being returned. Just a thought!.

  bremner 18:24 06 Jul 2004

Blind unquestioning support for someone or somebody who is clearly in the wrong is as bad as blind unquestioning critisim.

PCW have made a mistake that their group have been castigated for making before. It is their responsibilitity to ensure that the products they are selling are suitable for sale.

Quite rightly as it has also been pointed out it is very dull for whoever returned it to have done so without ensuring all personal data had been removed. But we must remember that the majority of people have no idea what goes on in their machines.

  Forum Editor 19:34 06 Jul 2004

there's a lot of knee-jerking going on, and as usual there's some defective logic at work as well.

1. Legally PC World don't have a leg to stand on - the drive obviously wasn't new, and it shouldn't have been sold as such. Nobody (I hope) is arguing otherwise.

2. The drive had an intact packing label, and therefore it's reasonable to assume that any one of us would have made the same mistake, had we been working for PC World - we would happily have sold the drive as a new item. After all, what possible evidence would we have had to the contrary?

3. The "IT hack" who bought the drive was obviously happy with the packing at the point of purchase - in fact he/she didn't notice anything untoward until he/she tried to install an operating system on the drive. It must have looked OK in all respects up until then.

4. That this has happened before is not in question. It's happened with other retailers as well as PC World, but because PCW is a large target it tends to attract the most criticism. I know of two occasions when precisely the same thing has happened with drives supplied by a major online retailer. Those drives also looked perfectly OK until files were discovered on installation. If a company sells 10,000 items and gets 100 complaints it will be performing far better than a company which sells 1000 items and gets 15 complaints......but we'll tend to hear all about the first company's 100 incidents. That's partly why there's this perception that PCW falls down so regularly. Go into a PCW store on a Saturday or Sunday and count the number of people there. Most of them will have a trouble-free shopping experience. Some will not, and it's those people we tend to hear from. The others don't post threads or write articles saying "Went to PCW today and guess what - they've done it again, sold me a monitor that works perfectly!!!!"

I'm accused of supporting PCW so often that I don't notice it any more, but what I'm actually doing is trying to maintain a sense of balance about it all. I have no axe to grind for the company, no shares in the Dixon Store group, and do not get any favours when I use their stores. I do hear stories of satisfactory purchases, mainly from my clients who go there on my recommendation. I also hear tales of woe in the forum, and some of them are completely justified. Some are not however, and I sometimes notice a distinct whiff of "Yes!! I've caught PCW out good and proper this time, and it's my chance to have a bash at them and make the most out of something that is really just the result of human beings being what they are - capable of making errors.

Expect any retailer to run a perfect operation and you'll wait until the cows come home. In fact you'll wait about the same time for some customers to stop trying to catch retailers out whenever they get a chance. Perhaps it's time we understood that it's an imperfect world, and we're part of it. Fair criticism is always valid - sniping at a big company just because it seems the fashionable (and newsworthy) thing to do is a shallow and meaningless act, and achieves precisely nothing. The concept of a company plotting and scheming to unload a bit of duff gear on the innocent and unsuspecting consumer just to make a fast buck simply doesn't wash I'm afraid.

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