Which? has revealed that computer shops across the UK – both high-street chains and individual stores – are overcharging customers for simple repairs and in many cases are failing to deliver what they have promised.
The consumer watchdog based its findings on a study it carried out using 24 laptops and few mystery shoppers. Which? installed a software fault onto the laptop such that it will prevent them from booting and asked the mystery shoppers to take them to retailers on high-street including Carphone Warehouse, Currys & PC World, Apple as well as independent shops.
Which? said that a repair in such a case should ideally cost £50, but in five instances shoppers were charged as much as £100 and in one instance a mystery shopper, who took the laptop to a branch of Currys and PC World, was charged three times the ideal cost – £170.
According to Which? the average repair cost at Currys & PC World was £162; independent stores charged on an average £127; and The Carphone Warehouse’s average repair price was £40.
The watch dog found through its study that The Carphone Warehouse’s in-store repair company Geek Squad had the highest success rate and they charged reasonable fees.
Some of the other findings of the study are:
- Out of all the faulty laptop only 40 percent were repaired correctly;
- 9 out of the 24 laptops were returned without fixing;
- 7 mystery shoppers had to buy a new hard drive, which wasn’t necessary at all;
- 1 mystery shopper lost all the data;
- One of the mystery shopper was charged £130, got the data back, but laptop was returned unrepaired.
“It’s frustrating that PC repair services still seem so hit and miss. We’ll be pushing the companies we investigated to improve staff training and repair procedures, have a clear data policy (so customers are full aware of what will happen to their information), and offer consistent, fair pricing”, notes Which?