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PC World's shop floor management and the PR machine behind the retail behemoth's marketing strategy appear not to be on the same page when it comes to customer satisfaction. You may recall our report last week about how a PC World customer, known to us only as Tikka, had been refused a hardware repair to his broken, still under …

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Comparison

Why is a PCW Customer like an amnesiac in a brothel?

They've both been screwed, and neither of them know it.

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Anonymous Coward

To all those "dial 08702420444 (option 4)" idiots

How should the poor guy know that 08702420444 (option 4) is the way to get some kind of PCW service? How should the poor guy know that PCW is the only shop in the world where the in-shop servants are even dumber than the call center dolts?

How should the poor guy know that it is apparently PCW's standard procedure to not provide any customer service in the shop at all, and that violating consumer rights is apparently part of PCW's business plan? You buy it at location X, you bring it back to location X is apparently to difficult to understand for those manning the magic 08702420444 (option 4) number.

Why can't any of you 08702420444 operators give Tikka and the store manager calls and sort it out from your end, instead of wasting PCW's company time by commenting here? Get your arse up and help Tikka, instead of following standard PCW procedure to insult the customer.

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Intelligence

From experience (including reading this thread this morning) there is a serious issue of intelligence when getting involved with PC World, maybe it's just a Curry's with a purple front (though I have found Currys cheaper), but being perceptive, listening to customers (when they are only trained to hear them) and various other communication/intelligence shortcomings are all what makes a shopping experience with them what it is.

Tikka - go see http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ and call them or email them, very useful service this but be totally sure of your facts before contacting the Consumer guys.

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@stop moaning.

Actually no, you cannot refuse to honour the warranty for a hardware fault because the software has been changed.

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They're morons - plain and simple

Disclaimer: I'm sure there are some staff at PCW who do have an idea about computers - but I'll be buggered if I can find any!.

This reminds me of my last encounter with the place - needed to get some RAM for a work PC so I go straight to the memory section and start looking for the right stick. In about 10 seconds a staff member comes over to ask if I need help which I (politely) decline - but he continues on to say "Ahh, I see you're after some memory things - most PC's don't have any of these, but if you do add some it's like putting a turbo charger in your car"

After giving him a dumbfounded look, I ask to speak to his manager who trys to tell me the exact same thing!

Have any of them actually USED a computer before?

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@ Hang on

"IME cracked hinges on laptops do not happen if this is treated as a fragile item and looked after, regardless of the OS installed."

Actually, they do if the laptop has a manufacturing or design defect - a fact to which I can attest after the hundreds I've issued over the years. Basically you're begging the question (in the classic sense), assuming the "fact" which your statement purports to prove. If your experience is that cracked hinges on laptops don't happen, then you obviously haven't dealt with that many. I've seen the problem on HPs, Dells, Sonys, heck, just about every manufacturer you can think of. All it takes is a flaw in the metal of the hinge. Simply opening and closing the laptop normally will cause the hinge (eventually) to break along the pre-existing flaw. In this case, the laptop was only a few months old; absent any accidental damage (and if there had been evidence of that, the PCW manager would have been all over it), that's a fault, and most certainly NOT (as the PCW muppet attempted to then claim) "normal wear and tear".

Oh, and retail store managers and staff flout (that's "flout", not "flaunt") consumer rights all the time, in the same way that they hand out dodgy advice. Their assumption is that the customer knows less than they do (even though they may not know very much) and will have the power to do even less. I'll file "In reality, no manager of any retail outlet will act to deliberately flaunt rights of a consumer under SOGA, as that would be acting illegally." along with "governments never lie", "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" and "an innocent man has nothing to fear from the police".

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Photos

So if Tikka went in with his frineds and camera (video) and recorded the sorry episode, why doesnt he post it here for everyone to see? Would be a sure entertaining laugh. Might be on for a you tube award for being funny/causing maximum laughter and ridicule.

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I'm ashamed to admit it!

Yes I got desperate between my 2nd and final year in university and I resorted to getting a job in PC World.

I went for the interview and the manager looked at me rather oddly, he said I knew alot of computers, I replied well thats what I study. He thought about it and then gave me a job in the software department, as the stores software specialist. When I asked him about the commision based sales posistion he said that I would be better suited using my knowledge as an advisor in the software area. I was pretty shocked to find out that half the people in the sales posisitions knew next to nothing about computers, they just recite the same drivel over and over just trying to make that particular branch the best in the region, they have huge competitions and leader boards its mad! (Kinda like that employee of the month film).

So I took the job being desperate or money and all. The job was a nightmare, half the people who came in there didnt know there arse from there elbow when it came to computers or anything related...some of the most amusing questions being can I use this wireless mouse on the left hand side of the keyboard etc! The people who did know what they were doing literally came in bought and went.

Anyway the reason why they probably dont repair laptops without windows is because there diagnostic tools etc are all windows based, plus they like to reinstall all the pcworld shite that you get bundled with the computer again. But they do sell mac and linux in store so i dont know why they dont support it. Its just not bundled with the electrical paper weights they call computers they sell there.

I suppose its your own fault for buying in pc world haha I have only ever used it in emergencys like needing the odd cable or spindle of dvd's.

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PCW - Comet - Powerhouse

I went into Comet to buy a Hoover and I had to show the sales guy how it worked.

If you think you're gonna get better service from a PCW because they're "a technology retailer" you're wrong.

The issue was and is the law, and their ignorance of it / refusal to adhere to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Forget the Reseller go DIRECT!!!

Stop going to PCW, and phone Acer.

Acers Support is: 0870 853 1000

Or Email Them: euro_mail@acer-euro.com

The Manufacturer will sort that out, PCW are crap, always have been and always will be.

Ciao.

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Anonymous Coward

New Name

'PC World Series' only some OS's invited to attend!

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Anonymous Coward

Reality Check

Has anyone forgotten that the super markets are in on selling PC's and Laptops now. If you had been on the receiving end of their service or the broadband providers extortionate and often useless support lines then you'd soon realize that while far from perfect, a good portion of questions can be answered by PC World's customer services.

The mass of questions I see ranging so widely from ability are often questions that other people haven't answered. Over 50% of the people I interact with on customer services just want questions answered about stuff they've never bought from us or stuff they bought years ago out of warranty. I don't send them away, I answer the questions as best as possible from the information they give me.

A massive problem is that most people don't know what to ask. They have a problem but can't express it clearly enough which makes trying to eke out a solution difficult at times. Imagine asking 20 people a day if their machine can go into windows or if we need a password to log in; and you get a blank stare.

On these sites your interacting with people that quite clearly have at least a rudimentary understanding of how to use their machines, professionals or enthusiasts (despite some over inflated opinions of their own abilities). But when you interact with the public you have to change how you think and explain things, because they just don't grasp the most basic things.

Trying to get someone to understand the difference between software and hardware when they've knocked out their DVD drive's Upper & Lower filters by installing wrong drivers or old software is incredibly difficult.

Customer services on the phone have the luxury of being able to hang up, and they forget that. When someone is in the store in your face you have to get the problem sorted, there is no escape. Again while branch call seem to be well trained there are exceptions where technicians with 8 or 9 years experience will ring up and tell them the machine has already been diagnosed with faulty RAM only to be told they don't know what they are talking about and should restore the machine.

But in the context of the masses of small independent machines that have no COA or media; or super-market machines that were sold by monkeys that can't even tell you what RAM is for; then I feel that PC World is the lesser evil. If the super markets keep grinding into the market the way they are then who's going to be left to actually sell the products?

The above example of a car sales man was dead on. Unfortunately no matter what company you buy from, at times you'll run into idiots that will have a little nugget of information and no real understanding. But if you make the right calls you will find that often the actions of a minority will often be so far against the rest of the team that you will encounter a positive supportive response.

For the record I've worked customer services for a big retailer for years, I've run super stores and have been the guy to make these decisions and at times give customers bad news. Some times customer expectations can be unreasonable and I have had no choice but to stand firm and take the risk of upsetting them. Other times I have to swallow my pride and forget the technical experience I have in order to follow company guidelines when I know I could get something sorted myself.

But my experience of competitors is that they are no different and that small independents are no better (the few that are exceptional at customer services usually go out of business).

None of this is to say I don't sympathise with Tikka, first thing I did to my Acer was make the recovery media and replace Vista with FreeBSD, SkyOS and Ubuntu. I just think that he could have got this sorted so much easier if he just called customer services.

The sceptical might wonder if he worked for a competitor and enjoyed dragging PC World through the mud, or others might say he was just a consumer sharing his experience as a cautionary tail. But it could have been sorted so easily by making a phone call.

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@na101010

Funnily enough, I'd heard that vista had a habit of making machines unstable, but I had no idea it took such a direct approach...

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Anonymous Coward

Staff

I used to work in a store as a "technician" for several months (I'd just moved to the area, was broke and desperate for a job).

It was a new store opening so there was a several month brainwashing course for the new staff, basically most of it was tactics to sell their Coverplan (or whatever it is called today).

I remember one day the store manager decided to put some PCs on offer and put them on a pallet in the front of the store. Later that morning a car pulled up outside, three guys ran in, grabbed a PC each, ran out and sped off :)

Anyway, this story doesn't surprise me, we were told many times to breach trading standards and similar laws, but they will always be big enough to get away with it and will always prey on those who don't know any better. It was one of the reasons I quit in the end. Ironically after I quit I became the administrator of a LUG and ran the servers for a Linux hosting company.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Reality Check

So Mr. "Reality Check", you work for PCW, don't you? Instead pf posting your PhD thesis and conspiracy theory, why don't you help that guy getting his laptop fixed? Call that Mr. G Tank, tell him to contact the customer and arrange for a replacement / repair.

Too difficult? Well, I bet. All words, no action from PCW.

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Ex-Tech Guy

The best thing Tikka can do is contact the Tech Guys (number is on their website or his documentation) once PCW have sold the machine they don't really know enough or have an real dealing with it. Support for PCW world sold computers falls to what used to be PC ServiceCall and owned by DSGi but now owned by Capita (I think). The provide the technical hardware assistance to the unit. One sticking point which is probably what the manager is getting confused about it in the manual of most OEM machine there is a clause stating that for support the machine must be returned to its original settings, i.e the original operating system must be installed. In most modern systems this is provided via a hidden partition which access by the pressing a function key, and the option to make your own recovery disks which from reading Tikka's blog he hasn't done. Although I am not defending PCW they are ultimately complete shite for support, you just have to know who to speak to.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Reality Check - you suck!

I once bought an Advent laptop from PC World many moons ago, and it had this annoying habit of freezing for 1 second at a time at random intervals (possibly interrupt req or something)... anyways, I took it back and they said nothing wrong with it, I would just have to live with the freezing?! Well... Im a programmer and a 1 second freeze is impossible to work with if it stops logging keystrokes during it (which it did). So I decided not to argue with the thick-chav who knew less than my mum about computers and instead I went home with my laptop in hand, calmly walked through my front door and straight out of my backdoor into the garden, walked halfway down and threw the thing into my boggy pond!! :)

Rang up homecare people (PC World insurance basically) as it started to bubble and sink out of view and told them what happened... they picked up the laptop within 2 days (still covered in rotten marshy crap) and within another week I had some brand-spanking new vouchers for the Dixons group!!

That time I went with a more reputable brand and bought from Currys (step up from PC World, but you still cant polish a turd!).... no more problems for 3 years. I vowed never to go in since then to any dixon group shop. My latest laptop is from an online retailer (not ebuyer! lol).

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More PCW..

A while ago we had a thread on usenet for PCWorld-baiting. It provided a diversion if you were in there for some blank CD's and some staff member annoyed you.

Lots of people got the "AMD stands for Another Microprocessor Division" within Intel (this was in pre-Athlon days) or that AMD chips were Intel chips that didn't make the grade.

My own entry (from PCWorld Leeds) was asking (in a suitably newbie innocent and confused voice) why my monitor was described as 17 inch when the screen didn't measure 17 inches across the width.. The answer was that the 17" referred to the distance from the front to the back of the monitor....

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@na101010

I Didnt mention anything to do with the OS, your warranty is not void by the OS, you just lose support... try and keep up

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Anonymous Coward

DON'T BUY FROM PC WORLD

I REPEAT DON'T BUY FROM PC WORLD, IT'S CRAP. You will feel robbed and depressed by the customer service.

I searched on their website for a linux distro as I know they sell it in store and the search results bring up vista premium!??? I mean wtf?? Maybe their website was created by PC World Staff, MOST LIKELY.

This situation Tikka is in is quite annoying. I say we all email PC World and demand they fix Tikka's laptop!

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interview

back at Uni I did apply for a technician job there....

in the interview they asked me what would I do if the brought me a non-booting computer, to which I answered:

"i'd ask the customer if the hard drive is failing, look at the BIOS, look at the boot files, try to boot fail safe"

the interviewer cut me short and said:

"NO! you would have to ask if they have an antivirus"

so I ended up trying to sell ironers and casio digital pianos in Comet just across the road, where I managed to last one day :D

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Anonymous Coward

carlos you moron

why is asking if they have anti-virus any less valid a question than asking if they know if the hard drive is failing...why does everyone that visits this site assume that end users have the faintest clue what a hard drive even is??? the simplest solution is usually the correct one...a non-booting machine could indeed be a virus issue - or it could be a floppy drive stuck in the machine - or, and trust me when i say this, it could be a blown fuse, or an unpaid electric bill...stop mocking other people's opinion when your own standpoint is on very shaky ground

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One more anecdote... in case you needed any more

I use PC world fairly frequently (apologies to the "why use it if you know what you're doing" crowd, but like most people I go for convenience, especially when I can serve myself and not rely on help). I've found the people there mixed to be honest, with the most unliterate being a senior person I asked a question a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, last time I was there I stood behind an irate customer having a rant. He'd been sold a modem or router, having been told that it would work p'n'p with his new Vista machine (don't get me started on Vista!). Suffice to say it didn't work as planned.

The Tech advice given - go back home and download the Vista drivers from the internet! Need I say more?

PS lots of opinions above re what the guy is doing wrong (re-install Wndows with a hardware issue? call Acer or PCW customer service rather than go to the shop?) some of which seem to miss the point. If you buy something and it breaks, you shouldn't have to go anywhere but where you bought it for a repair or return, and if you've used it in a reasonable way (i.e.a way that wouldn't surprise a normal user) and it fails, it doesn't work as promised, no question. Why accept poor behaviour from these people by going elsewhere or adding work for yourself. The law is seldom on our side, but in this case it is, and we shouldn't forget that fact.

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Anonymous Coward

Have you seen this cartoon?

Someone's reading the Reg....

http://www.bbspot.com/comics/PC-Weenies/2007/09/2997.php

M

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Carlos might actually have a point

It all depends on what 'non booting' means. There's not enough information in the question.

My first question would be 'what is the last thing you see before it stops'

BIOS screens I go with carlos, anything windows related I try safemode - and multiple AV installations were quite common machine killers.

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