Stay away from PC Specialist

  clf_foreman 14:41 04 Jul 2011

I recieved my new PC from these guys a month and a half ago, altogether came to £2768. Pretty excited, I opened it up, plugged it in and turned it on. Once it booted up, I opened up BBC iPlayer to catch up on some TV and almost immediately the PC froze. This happened a few times, so I called support and discovered that the RAM had been set to the wrong frequency, which was easily fixed over the phone. However, the problem persisted with frequent crashes. Another call to tech support revealed that the PC had an unstable overclock (which surely should have been discovered in quality control). So, I couldn't overclock meaning I had wasted almost £150 on the overclocked processor and liquid cooling. Not a great start, but I could live with a standard clock CPU. Now that the PC was stable, another issue came to the surface; a problem with the soundcard. Yet another call to their tech guys, and I was told to reinstall the drivers, and when that didn't work I was told to reseat the soundcard. This is when I found that the bracket to hold the card in place was bent, so I had to bend it back. After that, the PC was great for a whole TWO WEEKS. One day the fans went wild and the PC suddenly shut down. From then on I was plagued with constant blue screens, which Microsoft support identified as an issue with Nvidia. Nvidia helped me reinstall the drivers, solving the blue screen issue, but now the graphics cards would not work in SLI. Other problems I had was the PC not turning on properly when I pressed the power button, instead turning on and suddenly turning off again, as well as devices conneted via USB suddenly disconnecting for no apparent reason.

Now, you can understand why I would want a refund for a product with so many faults, but when I call them I am told 'Sorry, no refunds, we can only repair the PC'. I have contacted the Trading Standards Institute and having looked on Google I see many people who have had to go to small claims court just to get a refund, and I'm beginning to think I will have to join their ranks.

Overall, avoid PC Specialist if you can't pay by credit card, because it will be a nightmare trying to get a refund.

  961 14:51 04 Jul 2011

It's not clear how you paid. If by credit card or visa debit card simply claim through them

Regardless of how you paid the timescale involved here will enable you to reject the goods as faulty and not fit for purpose

Do that in writing sent by special delivery demanding a full refund

  clf_foreman 15:19 04 Jul 2011

Unfortunately I applied for finance with Hitachi Capital, who paid for the PC and I now pay Hitachi Capital monthly, so I am not sure what I can do in that regard. (making so many calls today)

Having spoke to ConsumerDirect, they've advised me to write a letter explaining that the PC is not fit for purpose or free from minor defects, which I'll be sending tomorrow.

It's just annoying that I have to go through all this because they told me I could not have a refund since I have had the PC for over 28 days.

  clf_foreman 15:47 04 Jul 2011

A brief update; I've now contacted Hitachi Capital and they have sent out some documents for me to fill in about the problems, and then they will get involved in trying to get me a refund aswell as me sending PC Specialist the letter regarding the Sales of Goods Act. Fingers crossed they will actually listen when it is Hitachi Capital complaining instead of just an individual customer.

  spuds 16:04 04 Jul 2011

If your finance was provided for a computer package deal and specified on the agreement as so (which your comment seems to suggest), and not 'a personal loan', then section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act should be your safeguard in dealing with this matter. Hitachi Capital (in this case) would hold 'Equal Liability' in helping to resolve any problems or issues raised.

If the above applies, then inform Hitachi Capital of the problems, and also quote that you are doing so under section 75. Keep records of any contacts, names or other information for later reference.

  spuds 16:15 04 Jul 2011

Looks like my very slow typing speed wasn't required, I'll need to type faster?.

Good luck in resolving the problem. As a word of advice, you may need to have an independent report about the computer problems available, before any refund or further action is sanctioned. So it could take a little time!.

  961 16:16 04 Jul 2011

That's good

There are a number of different ways in which a purchase is funded via a finance company loan. For example it can be by way of hire purchase or conditional sale. Perhaps you'd like to have a look at your copy of the agreement

In any event, if you carefully describe to the finance company what has happened you should find that they are quite helpful. It's important to emphasise the unsatisfactory nature of the goods as soon as you started to use them and also the varied nature of the faults and your continued problems throughout the short time you have had the computer, making the goods not of merchantable quality and, as a result you have no alternative but to reject them

Keep careful records of all correspondence and e-mails. Restrict use of the telephone because it's difficult to prove easily what was said

If you are uncertain how to complete the forms the finance company send, seek advice from local citizen's advice or trading standards

It's important that you do not stop paying the finance company as this will harm your position

  clf_foreman 16:55 04 Jul 2011

Thanks for the advice so far guys, I'm going to have a look at the finance contract tomorrow (I don't have it at my student flat)and then get back in contact with the finance company. I'll read through the link you have provided, see what applies to me.

The problem I'm faced with now is what to do with the PC. When I called PC Specialist this morning they told me all I could do was send it in for repair. However, I'd prefer a refund so do you think I should keep the PC at home until it is decided wether or not I get a refund?

  spuds 17:21 04 Jul 2011

Notify PC Specialist as to the action you have taken, and see what their response might be. If you send the computer back, without informing Hitachi Capital (they are now involved), then that might cause a problem in resolving the issue.

PC Specialist might take the return as an authorisation for repair, in which case you will then need to wait on their decision. Remember at this moment in time, the computer should be kept 'safe and secure', its still you who as the finance agreement.

  961 17:46 04 Jul 2011

Ideally keep the computer safe and secure waiting for it to be collected for refund and in the meanwhile do not use it

It might also be a good idea to get any personal information off it in case it stops working again. Also any software that you have installed that belongs to you

From reading the finance company agreement you may well find the computer actually belongs to the finance company and it is them who should instruct you

Be insistent that you are not interested in a repair but because of the myriad of faults you are rejecting the computer as not fit for purpose and wish a full refund

  clf_foreman 18:49 06 Jul 2011

Well, I got a bit of good news today. I used PC Specialist Live Support and got through to Wayne, who I informed about the situation and why I wanted a refund not a repair and had contacted both ConsumerDirect and Hitachi Capital. He told me that once Hitachi had advised me what to do, I would be able to RMA the PC and provided there was actually a problem then I could have a refund! I now have a record of that conversation, but looking on Google I see people who have sent their PC back only to be told there is no problem, but lets hope that is not the situation for me. I'll keep you all updated with anything else that happens.

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