back to article Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

Closing-down sale posters are being plastered over the shop windows of moribund Brit 'leccy tat emporium Maplin Electronics, but even now the discounted goods can still be bought more cheaply from rivals. The Maplin administration team at PwC, appointed on 28 February, has so far failed to strike a deal to sell the retailer’s …

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  1. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Hands up, everyone who is surprised the prices are still too high?

    No-one?

    ( Although, to be fair, comparing maplin prices to ebay is unfair. One gives you absolutely zero ongoing customer support or legal backup. And the other is ebay. )

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Support from Maplin ?

      so how much support do you think that Maplin will give you on kit that you buy from them today ?

      Dead companies do not give support -- which is part of the reason why the price as to be low enough to make the risk worth while.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Support from Maplin ?

        @Alaiin you may want to re-read the OP. That was the exact point made...

      2. Michael Strorm

        Re: Support from Maplin ?

        @Alain; As Alien8n already noted, that *was* the OP's point... but you also seem to have missed the point of the story itself. The closing-down prices really aren't "low" at all (#); still more expensive than many online outlets and thus hardly "low enough to make the risk worthwhile"!!

        (#) "Take the Western Digital 8TB My Cloud Home for example: it is being flogged by Maplin at £278.20 compared to £309 before the closing down sale began, but it is also available brand new from eBay for £254.99."

      3. quietreader

        Re: Support from Maplin ?

        In the Strand store (the one pictured, I thought I recognised it) on Sat, there were notices up in the window and instore stating that purchases made after a certain (earlier) date were not covered by anything other than statutory rights - and good luck getting them!

    2. boltar Silver badge

      "One gives you absolutely zero ongoing customer support or legal backup. And the other is ebay."

      The law gives you redress if its faulty so its irrelevant what a given shop provides in the way of consumer protection. Also ebay is full of scammers and junk. At least in a physical shop you can see what you're buying first and take it back the same day if it doesn't work instead of pissing about going down to the post office to send a parcel and hoping for a refund from some nameless person who might be a fraud (assuming you received the goods in the first place). Quite what the appeal of internet shopping - aka electronic mail order - is I've no idea. Mail order was crap 35 years ago when sending off a cheque to Sinclair and hoping something showed up, and its crap today.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "The law gives you redress if its faulty so its irrelevant what a given shop provides in the way of consumer protection."

        Does it? Even if the retailer is bankrupt?

        1. boltar Silver badge

          "Does it? Even if the retailer is bankrupt?"

          Obviously not, I was talking in general just like the OP. However if you pay by credit card you are covered.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "However if you pay by credit card you are covered."

            For about 90 days usually...

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        "

        The law gives you redress if its faulty so its irrelevant what a given shop provides in the way of consumer protection.

        "

        "The law" provides no redress whatsoever. It can however compel *the retailer* to provide such redress. So long as the retailer is still in business ...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        WTF - are you over 60?

    3. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Tandy it ain't

      I remember the halcyon days when Maplin was a slightly better Tandy: bigger, more stuff, more interesting stuff. A veritable Aladdin's cave for electronics geeks.

      Then it became PC World 2.0 with a few token electronics bits thrown in for good measure, and awful prices to match.

      Maplin is not only dead, it's long dead. It's just taken a couple of decades to bury its rotting corpse.

      There's a reason that private equity companies are known as vulture capitalists.

      1. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

        Re: Tandy it ain't @Oh Homer

        Got to take issue with the "I remember the halcyon days when Maplin was a slightly better Tandy:" line,

        Maplin in it's heyday was run by hobbyists and staffed by hobbyists in the shops, it was *much* better than Tandy, you could get valid opinions and valuable, accurate advice in stores and the catalogue was a work of art in many ways, not least the cover art.

        Then came along the investors and venture capitalists to suck as much profit and knowledge out of the company as they possibly could, the result was a drive to make the once great into something as bland and useless as any other retail park shed.

      2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Aladdin's cave

        I don't recall ever having a cave.

      3. Peter D

        Re: Tandy it ain't

        I gave up on Maplin when they stopped selling Ethernet cable by the metre with plugs so you could build the length you needed and were instead forced to buy vastly overpriced ready-made lengths.

    4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Being unfamiliar with European and/or British consumer law, do consumer goods there not carry a statutory warranty? This ensures that, among other things, if the retailer that sold you the goods no longer exists, you can simply deal with the manufacturer (or local distributor) of the goods.

      1. Huw D

        In a complete about face...

        "Being unfamiliar with European and/or British consumer law, do consumer goods there not carry a statutory warranty? "

        Yes, they do.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: In a complete about face...

          Statutory warranty. Not in that sense. There are strong protections about the durability and fit-for-purpose of the goods. But the contract is with the retailers ( and/or credit card company where applicable). If the retailer goes the warranty goes. Unless the manufacturer chooses to give a warranty.

          1. Paul Shirley

            Re: In a complete about face...

            Even if you can claim against the manufacturer (a big IF), you'd struggle to even id the manufacturer of most of the tat they sell and fail completely to get those far east sweatshops to respond anyway.

      2. the spectacularly refined chap

        This ensures that, among other things, if the retailer that sold you the goods no longer exists, you can simply deal with the manufacturer (or local distributor) of the goods.

        No. Your contract is with the seller, not the manufacturer. Any warranty offered by the manufacturer continues to exist but that is separate to your statutory rights.

        OTOH once a company is in administration any subsequent transactions are underwritten by the administrator. You have reasonable legal protection now buying from Maplin: enhanced customer-service terms such as buyer's remorse provisions may well no longer apply but your statutory rights are watertight. Oddly enough, now they are in administration they'll have no problems getting credit insurance as a consequence.

        The difficulty arises for a transaction that occurred before administration but there is an issue to be addressed afterwards: in that case all bets are off.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Two of us have said this;

          "Your contract is with the seller, not the manufacturer. Any warranty offered by the manufacturer continues to exist but that is separate to your statutory rights.".

          I've quoted the other person's. That person got no votes, up or down. I got a down vote. For stating the simple truth. In the UK you have a contract, a civil contract, with the supplier. When that contract fails, because the supplier ceases to trade, you become just another creditor. And since the hierarchy of creditors runs, insolvency practice, government, preferred lenders (banks etc), everyone else there is little chance of getting redress from the insolvent supplier. You join the back of the queue.

          Unless you have a manufacturer's warranty that gives you the same protection ( it's unlikely to offer yo a refund). You can claim on a credit card against the card issuer if you paid for part or all of the item by card.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        do consumer goods there not carry a statutory warranty?:

        Yep, of up to 6 years. However your contract is with the retailer you purchased from, not the manufacturer. The manufacturers obligation is only any additional voluntary warranty that they might choose to offer.

  2. d3vy Silver badge

    "Maplin shut down sale prices still HIGHER than rivals"

    If anything this is probably one of the main reasons that they are closing down - people are savvy enough now to realise that if they can wait 24hours for delivery that they can save a decent amount of money..

    The maplin near me is next door to a PC world, Last year I needed a new external drive *same day* I saved £20 by walking next door (And PC world still ripped me off compared to the price online!)

    I'm sure that if maplin were competitive on price with online retailers that they would still be around now.

    That said, their AA rechargeable batteries were always good value - I might go and stock up!

    1. Mage Silver badge

      AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

      Really?

      I thought expensive.

      Maybe cheap compared to Tesco,

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

        "Really?"

        Yeah they put them on offer quite frequently - Bought a few packs of 14 (which is an odd amount to supply in a pack) for £10 a while ago.

        Useful for remotes and xbox controls for the kids.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Holmes

          Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

          Useful for remotes and xbox controls for the kids.

          Oh really? I thought batteries where just pocket warmers. Thanks for the tip!

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            "Useful for remotes and xbox controls for the kids."

            If I'd have only known that you could do a "Captain Cyborg" type hack to the kids (& by extension the wife), the last 28 years could have been a lot cheaper & quieter.

          2. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            "Oh really? I thought batteries where just pocket warmers. Thanks for the tip!"

            No douche, it was an indication that cheap batteries have a specific use case over their more expensive counterparts or disposables.

            Its funny that people who KNOW they are being wankers always sign is as anon isnt it?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

        Given I've not purchased any batteries since 2010, they were cheap compared to quality rechargeables such as Hahnel. Although in my box of circa 50 AA batteries(*), I do note that about 50% of the Maplin batteries have failed compared to ~10% of the Hahnel ones, 30% of the Ansmann & Jessop own label and ~80% of the more widely known high street brands (eg. Uniross, Energiser).

        (*) Large number due to using flashguns that eat rechargeables and having kids who toys could also eat batteries.

        > While I respect your attempts to avoid disposable batteries, considering your lossy use case you'd probably be better off with the disposable ones in the kiddie toys?

        Been there, no comparison: especially at Christmas, there is no real comparison between a 2800mAh rechargeable and a cheap multipack of Duracells from the discount shop.

        1. earl grey Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

          using flashguns

          Not as bad as popping in those flash bulbs and popping out a hot one into your hand.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

          "especially at Christmas, there is no real comparison between a 2800mAh rechargeable and a cheap multipack of Duracells from the discount shop."

          Agreed, but possibly not in the way you intended. I have lots of kids, and I had lots of rechargeable batteries. The problem was getting them to keep apart the newly charged and the ones that have lost charge by not having been charged for a few weeks or having been drained by heavy use. On Christmas afternoon the toy running on 3 fresh cells and one spent one doesn't perform to well, which is frustrating after having religiously recharged all the NiMh in the run up to Christmas to try to avid their inherent self discharge problems.

          Now I just buy big boxes of disposable batteries, and everyone is happy. Even me.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            >The problem was getting them to keep apart the newly charged and the ones that have lost charge by not having been charged for a few weeks or having been drained by heavy use.

            This problem... :)

            For the very young it is handy the battery compartment tends to have a fiddly screw lock requiring Dad's attention...

            For the not so young, my son has discovered the importance of not mixing used and charged batteries in the Xbox controllers and thus labelled two clip top containers: Charged & Dead...

            Also a 4 battery fast recharger doesn't take up much space - important when Christmas has to fit in the car as it is spent at the grandparents :)

            FYI I think the investment I made in AA rechargeables back in 2004 was the correct one - for the pocket and ease of use when shops are closed or I can't be bothered to go out, given how frequently the charger is on...

            One thing I did omit, none of the C sized rechargeable batteries have stood the test of time, probably because they weren't used as much. Neither have the AAA sized, in part because whilst they work in telephone handsets they don't seem to last in toys or other appliances (eg. TV remotes) where they aren't constantly being recharged. So for battery sizes other than AA, I still buy conventional batteries...

          2. Paul Shirley

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            "especially at Christmas, there is no real comparison between a 2800mAh rechargeable and a cheap multipack of Duracells from the discount shop."

            My experience is there was no real comparison between a Maplin 2800mAh rechargeable and a rechargeable with 2800mAh capacity after the 1st cycle. Probably not even before then.

        3. Paul Shirley

          Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

          Some of the poorest quality cells I've ever bought and consistently bad.

      3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

        Really?

        I thought expensive.

        Maybe cheap compared to Tesco,

        But sometimes the standard rechargable just won't work. I have a digital camera that stubbornly fails with rechargables, and doesn't even care for your standard disposable either (and I'm not talking "dollar store" batteries). I find the ones it prefers are "photo batteries"; I'm presuming there's something to do with discharge rates (especially when using flash) that kills regular disposables, and rechargables simply can't do.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

          Aren't most rechargeable AA and AAA batteries 1.2V instead of the 1.5V from disposable batteries?

          That's why many gadgets complain that the batteries are low very soon after putting them in, but keep on going for a long while anyway.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            >Aren't most rechargeable AA and AAA batteries 1.2V instead of the 1.5V from disposable batteries?

            Yes, this can cause problems, there are various articles around the web, below is one I found from a quick search.

            http://www.electronicswarehouse.com.au/blog/lower-voltage-in-rechargeable-batteries/

            I actually found the big issue was that rechargeable AA's tended to be slightly larger than disposable so were either a tighter fit in the battery compartment or didn't fit it at all.

            Given how long rechargeables have been around, I suspect very few gadgets designed in the last 15 years exhibit this problem. Certainly, I've not encountered any devices that won't work with rechargeables, including those the manufacturer say aren't suitable for rechargeables.

            One thing I've noted more with rechargeables is with the flashgun (uses 4xAA). If I haven't used the flashgun for a while, with rechargeables, I can expect the first set to drain very quickly. However, with the disposables, because of the different discharge characteristics the first set seems to last longer, until you measure the flash cycle time and realise that it has grown longer. Additionally, with rechargeables, I get greater consistency of cycles - useful when taking pictures in rapid succession, before they quickly die.

          2. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: AA rechargeable batteries were always good value

            "Aren't most rechargeable AA and AAA batteries 1.2V instead of the 1.5V from disposable batteries?"

            Standard rechargeable batteries are a pretty steady ~ 1.2 volts for most of their life even at high currents. Versus disposable batteries that rapidly drop in voltage - especially under load. So if you care about voltage over the lifetime of the battery, rechargeable are likely a better bet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm sure that if maplin were competitive on price with online retailers that they would still be around now.

      That's true, but not terribly helpful. If they were an on-line only retailer they'd have the same relatively low cost base of other online retailers, but then they wouldn't be a bricks and mortar retailer with a wide geographic footprint. And for on-line only we've already got people like Farnell and RS, a range of smaller specialists, not to mention Amazon skimming the non-specialist market, aided and abetted by that company's devious tax avoidance.

      There's no way for a high street retailer to compete with online sales, because of business rates, sales staff costs & the support overheads, property lease costs, and the low turnover per square foot of a retail outlet. My local Maplin has/had a business rates bill of about £50,000 a year for a large retail park unit. Staff costs I'd guess at 4 FTE, so fully loaded for corporate costs that's £120,000, lease costs I'd guess at £200,000 a year for this location, plus utilities, insurance, maintenance, etc that I'll guess at £30k, giving me a neat round £400k a year for one retail park store. That's £400k extra that Farnell or RS don't have to factor in. It's over a thousand quid a day in this store that on average probably only sells about a thousand quid of product a day....

      1. Shaha Alam

        woah woah, slow down, it's not like online distributors dont have any costs. they still have staffing, warehouse, distribution, utilities, packing, support, management, marketing. its not the same cost base, for sure, and is likely cheaper (hence the competitive advantage, you've stated), but it still comes with it's own set of costs.

        1. Duffaboy

          Really

          Faceless warehouse with minimal staff paid on zero hour contracts at the minimum wage.

          1. d3vy Silver badge

            Re: Really

            "Faceless warehouse with minimal staff paid on zero hour contracts at the minimum wage."

            You realise that these businesses are not just warehouses dont you?

          2. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Really

            "Faceless warehouse with minimal staff paid on zero hour contracts at the minimum wage."

            Thats ok, so long as people can get their cheap tat without having to get their fat backsides off the sofa they could be chained slaves in those warehouses for all they care.

            1. Keith Caley

              Re: Really

              ..."they could be chained slaves in those warehouses for all they care."

              Shades of Breaking Bad!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RS have 16 over the counter locations in the UK

          And they are an FTSE company operating worldwide with revenue of 1.5 beellllion pounds

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          woah woah, slow down, it's not like online distributors dont have any costs. they still have staffing, warehouse, distribution, utilities, packing, support, management, marketing.

          Too true, but I was looking only at the EXTRA costs of a bricks and mortar retailer.

          Maplin still needed warehousing, stock control, picking, warehouse-to-store logistics, not to mention the costs of their own dismal online presence. Warehouse to store logistics will be cheaper than warehouse to consumer, but then there's other costs of retail outlets like "shrinkage" that probably offset the lower logistics costs of bricks and mortar.

        4. Peter D

          "woah woah, slow down, it's not like online distributors dont have any costs. they still have staffing, warehouse, distribution, utilities, packing, support, management, marketing..."

          Costs? Try renting a shop on the Strand then come back and talk about costs.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        It's like nobody learned a lesson from the Jessops story.

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Jessops shops are back in some parts of the UK, and it is still more expensive than the competition. How it continues as a business is a complete mystery to me.

          1. graeme leggett

            I once bought a PVR (Daewoo brand. Yep surprised me too) from Jessops online presence.

            Quite a good machine at the time and best price around. Served me well for quite a while before being supplanted by Mrs L's Skybox

            Reminds me I ought to open it up and see if there's any residual use in the hard drive before sending it to recycle.

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