PC World sell used goods as new, customer service says “whatever”

PC World flog us used goods as new, customer service shrugs their shoulders

We’d had bad experiences with PC World in the past, but finding ourselves in an emergency after our router packed in two weeks ago, we thought we’d give them another go.

Hot-footing it into their Tottenham Court Road store in central London, we handed over £129.99 for a  top of the range  modem router.

We’ve been conned!

On the tube journey home, we thought we’d take a look inside the packaging and have a flick through the manual only to find a sticker inside informing us that the item was in fact second hand.

PC World flog us used goods as new, customer service shrugs their shouldersWe’d been sold used goods as new!

As soon as we got home, we fired off an email via their website stressing our disappointment with the company and the urgency of the matter.

Paste it in

A leisurely three days later, we received this response from a Glen Frost from the PC World Customer Support Team.

(We could be wrong, but we suspect that Mr Frost is partial to the odd bit of copy and paste)

Please be assured that providing a high level of customer service is of paramount importance to Dixons and on this occasion, the service you received, does not reflect the high standards we are normally able to deliver.  Details of this matter will be fed back to the store, so that the service offered can be assessed and changes implemented where necessary.  To resolve this matter, please return the product to the store, where they will replace it or offer a partial refund.

I apologise for your recent experience, but to also thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us.  Whilst it is always disappointing to hear from a dissatisfied customer, it is by receiving correspondence such as yours that we can effectively address ourselves to customer care issues, and improve our level of service

It was good to hear Glen being so keen about hearing feedback from customers, but perhaps his commitment might be called into question seeing as he writes from this address: no_reply <no_reply@pcworld.co.uk>.

The fact that he seems to think we bought the item from Dixons wasn’t too encouraging either, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt, although we never did find out what was meant by a ‘partial refund.’

Desperately seeking Glen

With no means of replying directly to Glen, we were forced to write back via their website.

We asked if they might consider at least compensating us something for their dodgy antics and our inconvenience, and requested a reassurance that they would have a bona fide new router in stock before we set off into town all over again.

It seems Glen was too busy to respond to that one, and with nine days drifting by and our inbox still untroubled by an email, we thought we’d give them a call.

On the phone

We spoke to an Abby Armitage who really showed us what customer service was all about.

Did they have the router in stock after all? No. So Glen’s advice was useless.

Suitably annoyed, we asked what the company might offer us after (illegally) flogging us second hand goods as new, ignoring our emails and generally being, well, useless, and leaving us without a router that we’d repeatedly told them was required urgently.

Used… schmused

It seems PC World feels that selling used goods as new should be treated as no worse than a minor inconvenience for customers, and would only offer us a straight refund. And that was it.  Oh, and 25p per mile travelled to return it the dodgy item.

As for an apology or compensation for the inconvenience and dreadful customer service received? Forgeddaboutit.

Never again

We try and play fair with customer call centres, so at the beginning of the call we asked to be put through to a supervisor (request ignored) and while we were still talking, we told Ms Armitage that we would be writing about our experiences on this website.

Perhaps she could she put us through to their PR department so they could have their say? Nope.

So there you have it: PC World sold us second hand goods as new, have a Customer Support Team that despatches bad advice and refuses email dialogues, and the company officially expects customers to foot the bill for their own cock ups.

PC World. Never, ever again. EVER.

*UPDATE 30/05/2010

We reluctantly travelled back to their Tottenham Court Road store on the weekend to get our money back on the used router.

Despite there being no less than six purple-shirted staff sat behind the repair/returns counter, we had to wait for over 20 minutes as the single till was permanently “in use” with one customer returning an iPad – a process that seemed to involve an inordinate amount of paper work.

When we were eventually served, the assistant was courteous and apologetic. Perhaps their head office staff could learn from him?

We’ve now written to their heads of public relations inviting them to comment on our experience. We’ll post up their responses here.

About mike s

Editor, wirefresh.com

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13 Comments on “PC World sell used goods as new, customer service says “whatever””

  1. That’s shocking.

    Most decent companies would be bending over backwards to apologise for such a cock up – and what were they doing selling used goods as new in the first place?!

  2. and what’s with the whole “you can’t reply to this email” thing?

    Alliance and Leicester (ie Santander) told me in all seriousness that “we don’t have an email address that you can reply to – you have to send us a letter”

  3. You may be interested to learn that in the latest Which? customer satisfaction survey of 100 retailers PC World came 97th. The frightening thing is that there are stores worse than PC World. I wonder if they also sell new second hand iPads?

  4. I would rather spent more on price on item then shop at PC World.
    another reson I don’t use them rip of my Neighbour

    They wipe my Neighbour (Age 72) laptop as he need a OS reinstalled as would start up.
    Tech guys didn’t ask or tell him if there was Doc or photo needed to be backed up.

    When he what back to shop tech guys said it would cost xx to get data back.

  5. Again, those fakirs.

    I’ve been fortunate in so much that the few items I have bought from there have worked and haven’t needed returning.

    The staff in my local branch are bleedin’ useless on anything more than the basic of questions about products.

    It’d be nice if you can get this article ‘syndicated’ on other tech websites or on MoneySavingExpert or something.

    Serve ’em right.

    I agree with the Trading Standards mention above.
    I’d have phoned them on day one to be honest.

  6. We’ve just got a response from their head of consumer PR, offering us a massive £20 as a, “goodwill gesture for the inconvenience caused.”

    Naturally, we’re totally blown away by their generosity and their desire to ensure that the customer is fully satisfied in the face of their cock ups and incompetence.

    (insert facepalm smiley here)

  7. I have my very own incredibly shocking story very similar to yours.. Today i was in Nottingham buying a Brand new PC for near enough 850pounds and suprise suprise when i got home and set it up it happened to have a password on it.. which naturally seemed strange

    I somehow managaed to get it right by finding the store number on the receipt and randomly trying that. I got in and was very happy untill about hmm.. maybe .5 of a second the pc was taken over by some kind of PCworld program.

    Thats when i realised the pc was infact one of their on-show models that i guesse they set up in store for customers to look at. There is no way whatsoever of making a new account or escaping from this PCworld program. And funnily enough the account user name is PCWorld.

    So it turned out that after calling them this morning, hearing they only had one in stock over all of the East-Midlands i got them to reserve it. When i got in store it took them about 30minutes to bring it out. Now i see why.. because the useless theives decided to box me up a used on show pc instaid.

    How very kind.

    Ill be ringing them in the morning and demanding either a new one or a full refund. But from what you mentioned about a “partial refund” i am worried if i will get one. but surely it is illegal to refuse a return when you have a receipt?

    Then again its illegal to sell used good as new, especially as i didnt even get one of those lovely notes informing me inside.


  8. I have now had a complete refund, but have not bought a new computer from PC world
    in fact I shopped at Curry’s in Arnold Nottingham Had a great experience good service
    pleasent staff they could not have been more helpful, It is hard to imagine they are part of
    the same group

  9. Not surprising at all.

    To anyone looking for the answer to the demo issue – do a system restore. Usually all you have to do is tap F8 repeatedly from boot until you get a menu with the option “repair your computer”, then follow the instructions to do a “destructive recovery”.

    Either that or hit escape and type “dg”

  10. Support @ Universal Music for a Justin Bieber Purple Hoody, item in stock & i paid by credit card ‘ delivery within no later from 10 days to 14 , 21 days later no goods , called 08450702036, they said ” sorry item not in stock & was not in stock at the time my order was taken ” they then admitted that was a fault but no apology , then they could not say to when they will get any others in . so i cancelled & told them that there was a lack in communications to the customer & was possibly ilegall , my money was debited str8 away , i was advised that my money would be credited back within a few hours .

    4 days later i get a email today 28/2/2011 at 18.15 , my refund will be credited back up until 30 days later, i am only one person but that means that my money sits with them for 2 months , my credit card company will charge me if it is not back in my account by the 5/3/2011, they are not concerned by my demands to have my own credit back !!!!!!!

  11. not that i am in favour of pc word nor do i work for them but surely when buying an item such as a computer laptop or high priced component then many come with void stickers on the opening??? a simple check to ensure this item had not been open could have saved you guys many hours or arguments with customer services.

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