Customers overcharged for simple laptop repairs, says Which?

High street chains and independent shops charge three times amount of true cost in some cases, according to consumer group. Customers are being charged more than three times as much as they should be in some cases for simple laptop repairs from high street companies such as PC World, according to Which?

The consumer group installed simple software faults on 24 laptops and took these into six different outlets of the Car phone Warehouse, Currys & PC World, Apple and a number of independent stores.

A repair in this case should have cost less than £50, said Which?, but five of its mystery shoppers were charged more than £100 and one branch of Currys & PC World charged nearly £170. None of the retailers' repairers successfully fixed all of the laptops taken into their branches and overall only 40% of the laptops were repaired correctly.

Currys & PC World scored worst overall, followed by the independent shops. The Carphone Warehouse fared best, followed by Apple.

"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."

Householders might be able to fix some laptop problems themselves without spending anything, said Which? If a computer won't boot, for example, (the problem presented to the retailers) it is worth seeing whether, in the case of Windows-based computers, running an installation or recovery disc will help. Despite the failure of the independents in Which?'s investigation, the consumer group said that a recommended local company could be the best bet for providing a good service.


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