Currys PC World 'delaying refunds or replacements during pandemic'

Currys PC World 'delaying refunds or replacements during pandemic'

11/18/2020

Angry Currys PC World customers have been left battling for refunds or replacements after surge of complaints during lockdown, reveals Which?

  • Which? has received 1,700 complaints about electronics retailer since January
  • This is 10% of all complaints regarding faulty goods sent to the consumer group
  • NHS worker suffered after leaking washing machine wasn’t properly repaired
  • IT student waited six weeks for Currys to send vouchers for replacement laptop

Complaints against Currys PC World are surging during the pandemic as customers reveal their struggles for refunds and replacements for faulty products. 

Which? has received 1,700 complaints about the retailer since January, representing 10 per cent of all complaints regarding faulty goods sent to the consumer group.

Complaints have included one NHS key worker whose leaking washing machine was not properly repaired and she ended up waiting months for a goodwill replacement.

Complaints against Currys PC World (file picture) have surged during the Covid-19 pandemic

And an IT student missed the start of their second year at university when Currys wrote off their laptop and took six weeks to send vouchers to purchase a new one.

The London-based consumer group said customers have complained that customer service at the UK electronics giant ‘has hit rock bottom in recent months’.

It mirrors the experiences of other Currys PC World customers reported to This Is Money in recent months, with more than 300 people having emailed the Daily Mail’s financial section since May to say they are having problems with the tech firm. 

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, any products customers buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.

If they do not satisfy any of these three criteria, it can be seen as a breach of contract potentially entitling customers to a full or partial refund, replacement or repair, depending on how long they have had the product.

From the NHS worker left washing her uniform in the sink, to the IT student forced to miss the start of term: How customers have suffered at the hands of Currys PC World 

Carl Walsh-Harris (right) was locked in a battle with Currys PC World when his 15-month old TV broke due to a manufacturer’s fault, but the retailer only offered to refund £114, despite the TV costing £300.

Currys PC World claimed the TV had lost 62 per cent of its value since it was purchased, however Carl persisted and the retailer eventually agreed to increase his refund to £170 as a goodwill gesture plus £50 he’d spent on an independent engineer’s report.

Carl said: ‘We were keen to buy a new TV somewhere other than Currys. We’re tired of talking to them, we gave in and accepted their offer.’

Currys PC World has since apologised to Carl for frustration and upset caused, and has refunded him an additional £130 after being contacted by Which?.

Alison, an NHS admin worker from Staffordshire, was left washing her uniform in the sink as she battled to get a new washing machine when hers started leaking in March.

Currys PC World advised Alison to contact the manufacturer to confirm the fault in the appliance. Despite multiple engineer visits and attempts to repair the leak, Alison continued to experience issues with the machine.

Alison said: ‘I’ve given Currys a lot of my money (£485), I haven’t got the machine I was expecting. I’m all that money down and no better off.’

Currys PC World has since apologised to Alison for her experience and the manufacturer’s delay in confirming the fault. It has since removed the faulty machine and delivered a new one in November.

An IT student told Which? they missed the start of their second year when Currys PC World wrote off their laptop but promised to send vouchers to purchase a new one. 

The customer had been paying £9.30 monthly for a care plan with a seven-day fix promise, however the vouchers failed to materialise within seven days and only arrived six weeks later.

The student, currently at the Open University, said: ‘They told me the same thing for four weeks, that they’d send it out the next day, but I didn’t receive it.’

However, Which? said it has spoken with 20 Currys PC World customers who have struggled to get a refund or replacement for a faulty product, and been either passed on to the manufacturer or left facing lengthy waits.

Among them was Alison, an NHS admin worker from Staffordshire, who was left washing her uniform in the sink as she battled to get a new washing machine when hers started leaking in March.

Currys PC World advised her to contact the manufacturer to confirm the fault in the appliance. Despite multiple engineer visits and attempts to repair the leak, she continued to experience issues with the machine.

Alison said: ‘I’ve given Currys a lot of my money (£485), I haven’t got the machine I was expecting. I’m all that money down and no better off.’

Currys PC World has since apologised to Alison for her experience and the manufacturer’s delay in confirming the fault. It has since removed the faulty machine and delivered a new one in November.

Meanwhile an IT student told Which? they missed the start of their second year when Currys PC World wrote off their laptop but promised to send vouchers to purchase a new one. 

The customer had been paying £9.30 monthly for a care plan with a seven-day fix promise, however the vouchers failed to materialise within seven days and only arrived six weeks later.

The student, currently at the Open University, said: ‘They told me the same thing for four weeks, that they’d send it out the next day, but I didn’t receive it.’

Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which, said: ‘We regularly get complaints about Currys PC World, but the number of problems reported has soared in recent months – suggesting customer service levels have hit rock bottom during the pandemic.

‘Customers may be entitled to a replacement or refund if their purchase is faulty or not fit for purpose and should not be fobbed off to manufacturers or face lengthy waits for their money or a new product.

‘While the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted deliveries and service earlier this year, many retailers have adapted, improving customer relations and service so Currys PC World has no excuse – it must clean up its act.’

Which? has said it will be sharing its findings with Trading Standards for further investigation.

A spokesman for Currys PC World said: ‘We are truly sorry to customers who haven’t received the standard of customer service we expect of ourselves.

‘While we are fulfilling the vast majority of our services successfully, we appreciate that one complaint is one too many.

‘All through the pandemic we have been experiencing unprecedented demand for the vital technology that has been keeping families fed, clean and entertained and helping people work from home.

‘Throughout, our greatest concern has been the safety of our colleagues and customers and have had to adapt to new ways of working in a very challenging environment.’

Consumer rights explained: What can I do if I want a refund? 

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, your purchases are protected should something go wrong.

The Act says products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, as described and last a reasonable length of time. Items must be installed correctly if installation is part of the contract.

Therefore, if you receive a faulty item, it is not as described and you can ask for a refund.

In order to assert your consumer rights using this law you must have proof of purchase which does not have to be a receipt, it could be a bank statement, for example.

If it is less than 30 days since the date of purchase and the item is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you can reject the goods for a refund. This is not the case where the expected life if the goods is shorter, such as perishable goods.

When it is 30 days from purchase, the trader can offer repair or replacement. If neither of these are possible or if the trader chooses, a refund can be given.

Your contract is always with the trader to whom you gave the money. So if you order something online, for example, from a trader and the delivery is delayed, contact the trader and let it take the time sorting out the delivery problem. You should never need to contact the courier.

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