back to article Currys PC World given a spanking for misleading laptop savings ads

Currys PC World was today placed on the naughty step by toothless watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority over the way it misleadingly promoted savings to push laptops sales. A disgruntled consumer contacted the ASA to question the retailer's £200 discount claim on a lappy that was initially priced £1,149.99 for just 21 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The retailer reckoned consumers splashing out on a new portable PC were likely "tech savvy" and had resources and brain power to judge if the price was genuine".

    Really, tech savvy people buy computers from PC World? Not unless they are desperate.

  2. Geoff Campbell

    I've had a few reasonable laptops from them. There's normally something on "offer" at around £350 which will be perfectly usable for a couple of years.

    There's no way I'd buy a premium model from them, however.

    GJC

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the days of the £200 netbooks running Linux, I went to buy one and they tried to flog some (Windows) antivirus software as well as the obligatory extended warranty.

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    My last few machines*, generally high-spec, have come from PC Dixon's Curry World, for no real reason other than convenience.

    As a professional techie, I always come away feeling a little bit dirty, but at least I have a new machine.

    * apart from one, which came from Staples of all places

  5. Mark York 3
    Thumb Up

    Staples

    Had a few nice higher end laptops (ex-display) from Staples (Canada) & from my local branch in a small town outside of Calgary (Helps if you know the sales staff too) at good prices.

    Had some nice misc nice purchases from the clearance bins\end of lines, as its a smaller town the manager usually applies a 25% discount (at the till) as a minimum right across the board on some of the better items.

    I think my Sony 1080P camcorder cost me about $115.

    I treat Best Buy\The Empty Units Formally Known As Future Shop in the same vein as Currys\PC World.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had the Manager of a PC World pop into Maplins recently. He wouldn't buy from their own store. Go figure.

  7. katrinab Silver badge

    I had that with a MacBook. They also tried to sell a Windows version of MS Office, and they do actually have the Mac version in stock.

  8. djstardust Silver badge

    Don't believe that .....

    All Maplins stock is at least three years out of date and three times the price. Not a chance.

  9. Allan 1

    Sorry, but I've bought a couple of high end laptops from PC World, and are quite satisified with the spec and the price. Not happy with the way they really push hard to get you to buy McAffee, Microsoft Office, Knowhow Cloud, and Knowhow Setup though. A polite "No thank you" is not enough. You need multiple "No thank you. I said no. I am sorry but what use is mcrosoft office to me when I use libre office? NO!"

  10. Linker3000

    Things are really BAD if Maplin is a better option than PC World

  11. TheProf
    Angel

    I've bought several laptops from PC World. The trick is to order over the internet. Next day delivery and no salesdroid trying to flog tat.

  12. djstardust Silver badge

    Yada yada

    Same old same old. Sorta pointless rapping them on the knuckles once all the stock has been sold.

    It'll happen again and again and again.

    Remember folks, just like DFS sofas 50% off an artificially high starting price is not a saving in the slightest. Until retailers are stopped from increasing the base price then giving a discount to the "normal" selling price then nothing will change.

    Mind you, Debenhams have been caught out by this as no-one shops there at full price anymore, they just wait for a blue cross day and buy it then.

  13. AMBxx Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Re: Yada yada

    Boots Opticians used to alternate 50% off and 2 for the price of 1. No idea how they got away with it for so long.

  14. wolfetone Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: Yada yada

    "Boots Opticians used to alternate 50% off and 2 for the price of 1. No idea how they got away with it for so long."

    Because if you went during the 50% sale, and bought 3 glasses, you'd effectively pay for 1.5 glasses.

    And if you went for the 2 for 1, and you bought 4 glasses, you'd pay for 2.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Yada yada

    Not sure how much can really be done to prevent it, or why. If you think you're getting a bargain and presume that the retailer is genuinely offering you the best price on the market out of the goodness of their heart, then there's not much to help you.

  16. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Does the ASA not realise the free advertising they are giving Currys PC World?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World still exists?

    That's good, because I really need an overpriced HDMI cable with extended warranty.

  18. King Jack Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Re: PC World still exists?

    Make sure you get the one that 'improves' colours.

  19. Boothy Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Re: PC World still exists?

    Don't forget it needs to be gold plated as well, you can really tell the difference when they are, honest!

  20. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    I always get the oxygen-free cables with Teflon insulation. The bits slide through more rapidly and arrive free of rust. This allows the TV to work without a TV licence (a fact that I have conclusively proven).

  21. Richard Boyce

    Re: PC World still exists?

    "Don't forget it needs to be gold plated as well, you can really tell the difference when they are, honest!"

    Especially valuable with optical connectors, of course. It's not just PC World offering such bargains. http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-digital-optical-mini-tos-adapter-a14ny .

  22. kain preacher Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    LSD version ?

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    always get the oxygen-free cables with Teflon insulation.

    You have to be careful with those. If they get tangled the bits get all mixed up inside then.

  24. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    Optical connectors.

    That really is stupid. Even worse is that the linked one is £9.99, and this one: http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/digital-audio-optical-toslink-to-mini-toslink-adapter-web-only-l71ba is £0.22 despite being identical...

  25. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    Accept no substitute

  26. Boothy Silver badge

    Re: PC World still exists?

    @Aladdin.

    Thanks for the link, it's worth a read of the page if only for a laugh!

    Some highlights: (bear in mind this is an RJ45 Ethernet cable!)

    Quote:

    * Solid 100% Silver Conductors : Perfect-Surface Technology applied to extreme-purity silver provides unprecedented clarity and dynamic contrast.

    * Directionality - All audio cables are directional. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. Arrows are clearly marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality. For best results have the arrow pointing in the direction of the flow of music. For example, NAS to Router, Router to Network Player.

    * Dielectric-Bias System - All insulation slows down the signal on the conductor inside. When insulation is unbiased, it slows down parts of the signal differently, a big problem for very time-sensitive multi-octave audio. AudioQuest’s DBS creates a strong, stable electrostatic field which saturates and polarizes (organizes) the molecules of the insulation. This minimizes both energy storage in the insulation and the multiple nonlinear time-delays that occur. Sound appears from a surprisingly black background with unexpected detail and dynamic contrast.

    What do these people smoke!?

  27. MGJ

    Re: PC World still exists?

    There was a Chewing The Fat sketch with them flogging extended warranties 'for total peace of mind' on batteries.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ebuyer / Amazon Hard disk prices

    You could have a field day with Ebuyer and Amazon regards WD / Seagate Hard Drive prices, regarding their "was prices" on same principle.

    Amazon advertises the 4TB WD Red hard drive as previous £151.87, yet it's being £126.98 for a good few weeks now, to make this the 'normal price' and the 4TB Seagate Barracuda was £95 a couple of weeks back, now £108, yet "was price" is £182, a price it has never been sold for by Amazon.

  29. Dale 3

    Re: Ebuyer / Amazon Hard disk prices

    Top tip: Go to uk.camelcamelcamel.com and copy & paste any Amazon URL into their search. It will show you the price history of that item, so you can see how good any bargain really is.

  30. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

    Re: Ebuyer / Amazon Hard disk prices

    "it's being £126.98 for a good few weeks now, to make this the 'normal price'"

    Careful with this. The regulations have probably changed, but back in the day, the "normal price" had to have been charged for the item for at least 28 days of the previous six months, meaning that, of course, a brand-new item can't be advertised as "marked down from X" until it has been offered at X for four weeks... (So yeah, they stick it in one store on a weird shelf in the back somewhere so that nobody ever finds it, but if you stumble across it you could in theory buy it, and of course there's a "Beware of the Leopard" sign in front.)

  31. anothercynic Silver badge

    Re: Ebuyer / Amazon Hard disk prices

    Amazon has always been up front about their policy. The price you see is either the RRP (on which they have a very aggressive discounting policy), or the price they've sold items at (on average) in a certain period of time. But usually it's the former (i.e. RRP).

    I once worked for a group that tried to use Amazon as a selling channel. Being told by Amazon that they expected to be able to give up to 60% off the RRP (which cut into *our* profit significantly given that the RRP was 20% above cost) gave us enough pause to decline and say 'thanks, but no thanks'.

  32. pleb

    I'm quite sure there is an incubation area behind the staff toilets at Curry's where a single example of every impending promotion is 'offered for sale' at price plus future discount. Even if an errant customer stumbled across them, at that price they would only sell by accident. After incubation, the stock is rolled out to the high traffic displays showing the stupendous 'discount'.

    And even don't get me going on Amazon... but at least there is camelcamelcamel.

    Actually the furniture stores best the lot of them, they advertise 'discounts' against future prices they didn't even charge yet.

  33. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "Actually the furniture stores best the lot of them, they advertise 'discounts' against future prices they didn't even charge yet."

    I've seen sale prices at a sofa shop where the original price was stated as "previously on sale at £blah at our $town_name branch. I sometimes wonder if some of these chains have a "special" shop where everything is sold at $list_price + an extra mark-up (and rarely, if ever, sell anything) so they can then sell in every other shop at a "50%" discount.

  34. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Not one shop, instead, they make product A expensive in location #1, product B expensive in location #2...

  35. Commswonk Silver badge

    Another misleading advertisement?

    Quelle surprise...

    "Situation Normal" more like.

  36. Colonel Mad

    Keep Kalm

    Been doing it for forty years!

  37. A K Stiles Silver badge

    PC World pricing

    Haven't been in for a good few years now, but the one I used to visit occasionally always had items on the shelf behind price tags for similar-description-but-different-and-much-cheaper items. There was nearly always someone at the till complaining that an item had just been put through at way more than the advertised shelf price.

  38. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Re: PC World pricing

    Last time that happened to me, I had made sure the label was for the correct item. When the price came up on the till, at over 3 times as much, I went back to confirm, then got the manager involved.

    They honoured the price, that time, but removed the tag.

  39. Tachikoma

    I used to work for Tiny Computers when I were a wee lad and fresh out of college. They used to do the same tricks and the computer was only advertised on a small print out in a plexi-glass standee at the back of the store for two weeks before it appeared in the catalogue at the "reduced" price. One time the computer was legitimately a good deal even at the inflated price, and the "reduced" stock was always ridiculously low, maybe 20 units across the region just to get people in through the door and sell them something more expensive. I tried to buy the PC at the inflated price and got a call from the regional manager and was told explicitly that if I tried to go through with the sale that my time with the company will be short lived.

  40. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Then get a friend to come in and buy it, after some time spent browsing?

    With cash, of course.

  41. Tachikoma
    Pint

    That was an option, but I think* I spent the money on a Dreamcast and a boat load of alcohol instead.

    *almost certainly alcohol because I can't remember

  42. mrfantastic

    It has been bollocks for at least 20 years.

    I worked at WH Smith from 1992 - 1996. They bought a nice Teradata system, so they could do what Walmart did even they - i.e. know the correct selling price for a million SKUs and even change them depending on the weather at each store, historical trends, etc.

    Like most chains their Swindon branch was never discounted - this was to allow the '20% off at one store' bullshit allowed under ASA rules. Luckily most people in Swindon worked at their HQ, so got staff discount, which made up for this.

    If anybody tells me that 20 years hence there is no progression in IT, computers are not faster, and these chains cannot know what was sold at what branch for how much and when it is seriously time for me to give up and take up goat farming. These excuses are crap, and we need to start clamping down.

  43. Daedalus Silver badge

    The real scandal

    £1,149.99 for a laptop! Almost cheaper to fly to the USA to get one!

  44. Down not across

    Re: The real scandal

    Almost cheaper to fly to the USA to get one!

    Dunno. I'd rather pay bit more than have to travel there.

  45. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: The real scandal

    Yeabbut, Currys/PCWorld dont; give the you the 3rd degree while pulling on the arm-length rubber gloves. Yet!

  46. Anonymous C0ward

    Pfft

    I bought a Mac...

    (Not at PC World, I might add.)

  47. davenewman

    Re: He made one mistake

    There was a regulation on how long something had to be sold at a higher price before being used as a from price on a discount ticket in a retailer. Shops that broke the law were prosecuted by the Trading Standards officers. I don't know if it still exists, but it seems to be ignored by retailers. It could be worth reporting them to the local trading standards department as well as the ASA.

  48. Stuart Halliday

    If you haven't reported a store to the ASA, can I recommend you do so. It's fun and very easy to do.

    I reported a big single fruit company (not really fruit) and sure enough the advert was banned. The company tried to get in touch with me for a tour of their factory, hinting at a give-away. I declined.

    Done this reporting a few times now.

  49. AIBailey

    Would this "factory tour" also include a tour around the basement, including the areas where the lights are dodgy and the CCTV doesn't work, accompanied by a couple of oversized security guards carrying a length of lead pipe and a newspaper?

  50. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    That's not the basement, that's just the normal factory.

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