Currys & PC World – Do they have the Knowhow?

Knowhow

Dixons Retail, the company responsible for Currys and PC World, has launched the new service, Knowhow. The Which? Tech team has put the desktop and laptop repairs aspect of the service to the test. See how it compares with the previous Tech Guys offering, and other high street electrical stores.

Dixons Retail, the company responsible for Currys and PC World, has launched the new service, Knowhow. The Which? Tech team has put the desktop and laptop repairs aspect of it to the test, to see how it compares with the previous Tech Guys offering, and other high street electrical stores.

Knowhow desktop and laptop repairs investigation

Laptop repairs

As with the undercover investigation we conducted in November 2010, PC World and Currys were unable to repair any of the three laptops we had introduced easy-to-fix faults to.

One of our four-year-old laptops was immediately dismissed for being too old. Instead, on this occasion, staff recommended an £80 data-retrieval service* for any lost personal files on the hard drive.

Staff took £50 payments for the other two models and kept hold of them for between seven and 19 days. Upon collection of these two laptops we were refunded our £50, and after telling us that the machines couldn’t be fixed, the staff then suggested a £700 data-retrieval service*.

Desktop PC repairs

Two of the desktop PCs were repaired satisfactorily, and one we consider to have been partially fixed.

We were charged £30 for reparation of the first desktop and £40 for the second. The first was repaired within a day, while the second was ready the very same afternoon – the staff even offered to carry the desktop to the car.

We were charged £94.99 for the work carried out on the third desktop PC. Upon collection we were told that a new hard drive had been installed, and while the old hard drive was returned, no offer was made to retrieve our personal data from it.

The results

Here you can see how the recent Knowhow test compares with the Tech Guys test from the previous year. You can also see how the results compare with the services offered by Best Buy, Carphone Warehouse and Comet.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

You can read the results from our initial high street PC repairs investigation here.

Our conclusions

The faults we introduced to the laptops and desktops were easy to repair. We’d simply disconnected the hard drive and the DVD drive on the desktops, and introduced a minor software fault to the laptops that could be repaired using a Windows installation disc – something all PC repair centres should have.

PC World and Currys were placed a lowly 98th and 70th respectively in the 2011 Which? high street shop satisfaction survey, and they appear to be attempting to address this with the launch of the Knowhow service. PC repairs is only a small part of the new service, but is key to many computer owners. It seems that Knowhow still needs to up its game further if it wants to keep its customers satisfied.

Share your experiences with Knowhow

We want to hear about your good and bad experiences with the Knowhow service from Currys and PC World. Which? member, Tony Gornall, has shared his:

My wife has a Toshiba laptop which crashed in April 2011. It was returned to PC World, and they told us they would save our data.  We called several times for a progress report, and then out of the blue we got a letter saying ‘if we have not heard from you within 14 days of the date of this letter we will take the necessary steps to dispose of your property.’ When we eventually got the computer back it had been wiped clean of all my wife’s work. In August the laptop crashed again.

Please share with us your experiences in the comments below.

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*The price discrepancy for Knowhow’s data-retrieval service is down to two services being offered. Knowhow charges £80 for data retrieved from an undamaged hard drive and £700 for a damaged hard drive. This wasn’t explained to our mystery shoppers.

198 replies

  1. The sound on my tele has an intermittent problem that I’ve been able to capture on a video which is less than 30 sec long. My TV is a little over 6 months old. Know how is claiming that there not allowed to access videos and that there not responsible for the repair. I have to contact Samsung myself and arrange it through them. How can a repair company honestly say that they know how if they can’t even open a video which is a great tool in being able to determine a fault. Very possibly this fault might just require a software update or a reset, that is the annoying bit.

    1. As far as i understood any faults within the first year you take it back to the shop your brough it from and its up to them to deal with it..
      Now myself i wouldnt be keen to open any video files (i think Knowhow have been court out once with a TROJAN as they dont like any software from outside the company, when they did used to)

      Tell them it has a fault with the sound and send it back, you have proof there is a fault they are spose to have it on testing it for sound and colour tho i understand cant always watching it, but the guys cleaning the TV’s watch them while they Clean so should be a reasonable test.

  2. took my laptop to them for a new motherboard and they took £50 pounds of us and when we got it back they had not replaced the motherboard and they would not give us owe money back we all so purchases a logic TV which the sound on it is horribly you have to have it on a 100 to hear any thing and knowhow would not replace the unit or repair it and it was still under a year old.

  3. Useful information.i would like to replace my laptop screen it was completely wrecked took my laptop to Elite this was happened couple of months ago.these guyz are amazing fixed my laptop good as new.Returned my laptop with less hassle,low-cost and minimal time.For more details check out samsungrepairer.co.uk

    1. Fixing a Screen is second to easy job.. DVD player is one screw .. Keyboard a few more but easy.. a Screen is dam easy .. take out the old one find the code on the back and slide it back in..
      Watch out for WIFI Cables .. and clips are so easy to break.tho cheat way to fix that is double sided M3 Tape

  4. My desktop went in for repair to Currys and I have never experienced so much garbage in my life, they had my desktop for almost five week and it was returned with nothing on they had not put the recovered items back on to my computer, I was backward and forward to the Manchester Fort Store like a YO YO which is four miles from my home, I may be 69 years of age but, I am not stupid and nor am losing my mind or memory. I had paid £4.49 and £2.99 per month for eight years to Currys for breakdown service which I had never used once until this very bad experience. I have been waiting for a reply to my letter since September and to date I have not had any reply only stupid e-mails from Knowhow, surely they must have all the documents regarding my repair. I can assure you I would not recommend anyone to buy anything from Currys.

  5. I bought a new 4K ultra HD Panasonic TV earlier this year from Curry’s and was advised to purchase their after-care support package. One of the benefits of the package was the provision of a replacement TV if your TV needs to be taken away for repair. The word we will “endeavour” is then used when a replacement is requested and a staff member of Knowhow (their servicing arm) admitted to me that there’s usually too much demand for these replacement TVs. There’s therefore usually a waiting list for the length of time it takes to repair the faulty TV. In our case however it took 5 weeks to repair the TV (!) and return it and we were eventually provided with a replacement. A week has passed and the TV doesn’t work again. Awful service from Curry’s and Knowhow!!!

  6. Sent my tv to know how team with a little crack in the screen I have wot ever happens cover on it had a phone call saying that they won’t repair it and are sending it back so when I got it back it came home in worse condition then it left looks like it has been dropped all the screen has been broke when I phone them they said Wright a letter to them about it how can they let this happen worse possible service ever

  7. I took my HP laptop in for repair at a branch of PC World for a power fault. PC booted but wasn’t taking in mains power when it was turned on. I asked to be informed of what would be done and for the technician to document any drivers which were updated which I thought was a fair request.
    After a week I received a call from their technician claiming the fault laid with the motherboard. I have some experience with computers so I was a bit dubious of this diagnosis but trusted the diagnosis and paid for a new motherboard at the cost of £329. When the laptop came back to me, no notes or information on exactly what was wrong were provided. Within a day the fault returned and then failed to boot at all. So I returned the to the store and rebooked the repair. I asked them to call me before the laptop was returned so I could discuss with the technician. I week later I call customer services for an update only to be told that it was already being returned the store with a “free” power adaptor and keyboard part. I asked them what the fault was and they conveniently said it was a combined motherboard, keyboard and power adaptor.
    Again I asked for the technicians notes but again they were not provided. When I received the laptop back the power fault seem to be resolved but within 3 days the computer started freezing after about an hour of use.
    I’ve since had the laptop looked at by another technician who has confirmed that the motherboard replace is faulty. So now i’m left with an expensive paper weight as it is useless.
    They’ve offered to repair again but quite frankly I don’t trust them. They’ve either not fixed what I’ve paid for or returned it with a new problem so I’ve asked for my money back which they have refused. They’re due to get back to me as I’ve escalated but not holding out much hope so I’m going to take it up with resolution services and then court if necessary.

    I’ll never use them again, as at every stage I’ve asked for detailed diagnosis they’ve been evasive. I asked for my parts which they replaced and they’ve conveniently said they had already been destroyed.
    Whenever I call them they pass me from person to person, no one knows what to do. I even had one of their customer representatives tell me that this is common behaviour.

    Knowhow? Yeah right….

    1. Hong – sorry to hear that long tale of woe.

      “I asked for my parts which they replaced and they’ve conveniently said they had already been destroyed…”

      Given some of the other postings on this thread about the re-use of secondhand components, I am inclined to wonder if the above actually meant “once we discovered your old motherboard was probably fine, we chanced our arm and used it as a spare part for someone else…”.

      I suppose it also possible that the fault on your old mother board might have been caused by faults on connected components. In that case, at £329 a throw, HP motherboards make expensive fuses, and Knowhow ought to know that. Your account also suggests that they do not seem to understand the full meaning of the word “repair” – sure any “repaired PC” needs to be properly tested before being signed off as fixed.

      I have just had to retire a ~9 year old Dell D505 laptop after it developed a power supply fault. Post-mortem dismantling showed that, in this case, the fault was indeed with the motherboard. After fiddling about with some of the onboard devices, I found I could result the fault but only with temporary effect.

      Cheap new laptops are very inexpensive at the moment – the case for spending any significant money on repair work must be dubious in a lot of cases.

  8. Went to Currys Crewe with an Ipad problem.
    The young girl I saw was technically incompetent and unable to solve the problem, then said I owed £30.00. When I complained to the manager he said I was paying for time and it did not matter if the problem was solved or not.
    Unable to speak to Head Office, they do not take calls – SURPRISE SURPRISE!!!
    Waited 10 mins to speak to their call centre, they agreed I should not be charged but unable to do anything as decision was entirely up to the store manager.

    Be very Careful if you have to use Currys, always use somewhere else first.

    1. Personaly i would sooner be paid on results…
      With any problem i would have to know the item a bit better (if there is any Common faults) and all the possible ways to check and sort out..
      Why im not a EXPERT or a WHIZ KIDD.. is because i believe cant know all the things about computers to be able to sort out all problems.. i seem able to wiz around windows quick enough, tho i may of not touched on it for some time or some of the versions, it just comes naturaly to me.
      Also i cant be bothed with Networking (never apealed to me at all) done programming (and Hack and Slash Programin too) but not to what i say any great level.
      But do have a stronge computers/Electrical/Electronics background.. as for APPLE, i dont touch the stuff myself too deal for me to look at or even to play around with..

      With Apple, for Insurance and Apple Techs.. you need to give it to a APPLE tech.. what Currys have, ever that or take ya luck with a Locale Computer Tech guy.. i would say Forums but they can be a bit NASTY at times and a lot of people who mean well but dont know what they really are doing, then you get the ones who know too much and get peed off you dont know every thing.

      I think last time i was in PCWorld trying to get a bit of advice on ram, i helped out 2 people in front of me so i could get to the head of the que.. sadly with no results… The Staff are SALES people not Tech People.. yes they maybe in to PRICES/BRAND-NAMES and TECH.. but not why it ticks and why its so good .. that kind of Person (Nerd/Geek) is the type of person you need for advice.. and for me .. to ask them .. if you had this problem what would you do … good way if you are buying some thing .. you got £££ cash what PC would you buy.. Get so many people asking whats the BEST OUT there and how much .. then WHATS THE NEXT BEST..

      VALUE FOR MONEY is the way to be
      (sorry about going off in so many Directions there)
      Over all.. Find a GOOD person in to Computers (BE A FRIEND TO) a SHOP AND STAFF are SALES not SUPPORT.. they might say Support but just after ya cash at the end of the day..
      as charging you for NO results on some thing they dont have a Clue about just goes to show

    2. Agree with all you say. Currys advertising is totally misleading. I will never buy from Currys again but only use them to look at items before I decide exactly what I want and buy elsewhere.

      It shows they are not interested in Customer service when you cannot contact head office!!

      Reason I find Which so good, I think most of the advice is impartial and definitely puts you on the right track

    3. This looks more like a complaint blog. I developed a hardware issue. They took it in and told me it would take less than 14 days and that they would give me a call if it needs any new parts. And they did give me a call and although I ended up paying almost 120 pounds for the whole service, they did repair everything and gave it back within 14 days. So I haven’t had any bad experience with them.

  9. I ordered a Bosch washing machine online and paid for it. I received an email confirming delivery on a Saturday. I stayed in all day but to no avail. I contacted Knowhow. I was informed that the delivery was actually scheduled for the Sunday. No one bothered to inform me. On Sunday afternoon I got a call saying that the delivery driver was violently ill but the delivery will definitely arrive on the Monday. I called on Monday morning and was assured that my machine was the third one on the delivery van. About 2 hours later I got a call informing me that they could not locate my machine! There was no explanation or an offer of another delivery. I had to cancel the order and asked for a refund. I lodged a complaint but was informed that I shall not get a response. I would not recommend this shower of a company.

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