Currys PC World 'ripping off customers with £40 laptop setup fee', says Which?

CURRY'S PC WORLD has been accused of ripping off customers by forcing them to pay extra for laptops that have already been setup.

Consumer group Which? has issued a legal warning to the tech retailer after being inundated with complaints.

It comes a year after a fourth warning by Which? – it first reported the underhand practices all the way back in 2015.

Which? says many customers have had to fork out an extra £40 on top of the cost of a laptop after being pressured into paying for Currys PC World’s "Knowhow" laptop setup service.

Often shoppers were told pre-setup laptops were the only ones in stock despite having already reserved or purchased laptops online at a price that didn't include the setup fee.

The consumer group warns this could be seen as "bait advertising", which is when a retailer lures someone into their store with the promise of a good deal despite knowing they can’t honour the offer or there is only limited supply.

What are your rights if something is advertised at the wrong price?

YOUR rights when you've bought something for the wrong price depends on whether you purchased the item in a shop or online.

Here are your rights according to consumer charity Citizen's Advice:

Buying in a shop: 

  • If you haven't bought it yet – The store doesn't have to sell it to you for the mistaken price but you could ask it to honour the deal. The same rules apply if you see an item advertised at a lower price than the one on the price tag.
  • If you've already bought it – If a shop charges you less than the advertised price then you don't have to give the item back. If you were charged more than the advertised price, return the item and ask for a refund of the difference. Keep any evidence of the mistake, such as a receipt and a photo of the advertised price.

Shopping online:

  • If you've paid for it and/or it's been sent to you – The company can’t usually cancel your order, even if it realises it's sold you something at the wrong price. It’ll only be able to cancel it if it was a genuine and honest mistake that you should’ve noticed.
  • If you haven't paid for it – If the retailer realises its mistake then it is entitled to cancel the order.

Which? says the retailer could also be in breach of Consumer Contracts Regulations, which it says requires retailers to make the full price of a product clear to consumers when buying online.

The consumer group adds that it is considering pursuing “all available options” to ensure this unscrupulous behaviour is brought to an end.

Currys PC World says customers stung by an unwanted £40 setup fee can contact it on [email protected] to get a refund of the fee (they'll get to keep the laptop).

It adds that it's investigating Which?'s findings and has also contacted staff to remind them that the setup isn't compulsory.

Eleanor Snow, Which? consumer rights editor said: “It is very concerning that Currys PC World has allowed this unscrupulous practice to carry on for four years – despite repeated warnings and overwhelming evidence that it may be in breach of consumer law.

“Previous efforts from the company to resolve the issue have been woefully insufficient, so we now want to see it tackle the issue head on so no more customers are left out of pocket unnecessarily.”

A Currys PC World spokesperson said: “On a small number of new laptops, we pre-install software to help customers who want to avoid waiting a few hours in store for the service or having to do it themselves at home.

"This pre set-up includes configuring key settings, automatic updates and provides a recovery tool.

“This is not something every customer needs and, where a colleague only has a pre set-up laptop in stock, our policy is absolutely clear that customers should be made aware and not be charged for the service.

“We are investigating Which?’s findings and have emailed all 14,000 of our colleagues and management teams on an individual basis as a matter of urgency to remind them of our policy.

"If any colleague is found to be charging customers for a pre set-up laptop in the absence of any other available stock, we will investigate accordingly and would ask for concerned customers to get in touch with us at [email protected] to arrange a refund."

Currys PC World last month accidentally sold a £3,500 TV for £300 but angered shoppers by cancelling orders.

Meanwhile it also came under fire from Channel 4's Supershoppers for "pushing £80 HDMI TV cables which could be brought for £40".

In other news, the price of TVs made outside of the EU could fall in price if we get a no deal Brexit.



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