Users are being overcharged for PC repairs

Microsoft fix

Some users are being charged over the odds for repairs to their PCs and the service they receive is sub-standard.

So claims a report by Which? that found those using high street PC repair shops were subject to "poor quality repairs, aptitude and pricing from major High Street retailers and consumers paying over the odds for simple repairs."

The consumer affairs publication tested the repair shops by installing an easy to rectify software fault on 24 laptops. One laptop was then taken - using mystery shoppers - to six different branches of The Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World, plus independent PC repair shops. It also conducted the same test in six Apple Stores with six different damaged MacBooks.

Just 40 per cent of laptops were repaired successfully and many of the customers were asked to purchase a new hard drive for data to be transferred onto. In nine of the cases, no fix was found at all for the issue - despite Which? experts having repaired the problems in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, five of the mystery shoppers were charged double what they should have been for the fix (100 rather than 50), with one being presented with a bill for 170.

Carphone Warehouse came out at the top of the charts, managing to repair all but one of the computers supplied. The report noted that the mystery shoppers were charged varying amounts at different branches and a number of unnecessary fixes were applied - one of which cleared all data from the computer.

Apple came out second, with four of the six MacBooks repaired quickly and without charge, but independents and PC World performed worst with the latter only repairing one computer and charging 156 for something that should have cost less than 50.

"It's shocking that major high street retailers are failing consumers when faced with such basic repair issues and are charging people through the nose in the process," said Which? editor Richard Headland.

"We want to see improved staff training and repair procedures as well as fair and consistent pricing so people can be confident in the services they receive."

As the BYOD trend gathers pace in the enterprise such sub-standard work and overcharging could start causing business headaches as IT departments have to redo the repairs or users start claiming back costs for fixes via expenses.

Apple had not responded to the report's findings at the time of publication. A spokesperson for Currys and PC World told Which? the firm was disappointed it had failed to deliver its usual high standards of service.

"We repair 8,000 laptops each week, with a 97 per cent success rate, and the overwhelming majority of customers are very satisfied," he said. "We will learn from this to improve our service even further," the spokesperson added.

Carphone Warehouse said that it welcomed feedback in order to help it continue to improve the service it delivers. "The key learning for us is to ensure our high standards are consistent across all stores so customers receive the very best service wherever they visit," a spokesperson told Which?

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.