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 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.

Best PC repair services

Which? Local is a service where Which? members can recommend and consequently find the best local service providers in their areas. There are more than 1,500 recommended PC Repairers on Which? Locals.

More on this…

*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.

207 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.

    2. you should be able to walk out the shop with stuff under your arm, yes that is theft but that is what the have done to us, a so called leading high street shop. thought I sold say I have heard (from friend of an currys employee) that the mother board get shorted by the power supply which is faulty they gave me a replacement wrong power supply I have problems typing too, me details of this in my post below, good luck, take it back and refuse to leave shop threaten them with solicitors and tell them they are breaking the trade description and misrepresentation of goods act of 1971

  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.

  10. Our Bosch washing machine broke down on the 18 December after 12 years of faithful service. Decided a new machine would be more economical than a repair so did some research and found that Which recommended a Samsung as best buy – 5 year guarantee with 10 years on the motor. Off to Currys/PC World and paid for the new appliance which was delivered on 23 December.

    Read the instructions, removed the transit bolts, installed the machine and ran the
    calibration program. Did the first wash and there did not seem to be any problem. Second wash that evening and my wife noticed water on the floor round the machine. Thought that outlet house had come loose but as it was late at night decided to fix it next day.

    Christmas Eve, pulled the machine out and check connections but everything OK. Tried the machine again but with the pipework visible so I could make sure there were no problems with the connections. Sure enough the machine started to leak from a few inches behind the filter/emergency drain door.

    Phoned the help number on Currys receipt and after several voice menu options was directed to Samsung Service Centre. I explained that we had just received the machine and that it has a leak. After answering several questions to identify the location of the leak, the operator asked me to hang on. She came back to me and said she had spoken to her supervisor and that it was an installation problem as the inlet hose had not been connected correctly and I would have to get the installer back. I said that I installed the machine myself (it’s not exactly difficult) and that the problem is definitely with the machine. The evidence of the leak was about as far as it was possible to be from the inlet pipe. She was insistent that I should have the installation checked but when I asked for her confirmation that Samsung would pay for this, if the fault did in fact lie with the machine, she reversed tack and said that she would arrange an engineer but I would be liable for the cost if the fault was with the installation. I agreed to this.

    She arranged a date for the engineer but was surprised that they appeared to be closed. (Christmas Eve!). She said she had booked me in for either the 29th or 31st December. When I asked her which date she said the engineer would phone me within the next 24 hours. I told her that was highly unlikely (but that’s no doubt the problem when reading from a script).

    Also worth being aware of, is that Samsung’s terms state that the serial number of the machine must be attached for the guarantee to be effective. The serial number is on a gummed paper label stuck inside the door hinge. I have concerns that this would last one year never mind ten.

    In the meantime, I thought I would inspect the machine so refitted the transit bolts to enable me to turn it on its side. It was then I noticed that all of the bolts were bent, evidence that the machine had received some sort of impact. Looked under the machine and saw that one of the internal hoses was split. (I later learned from the engineer that this hose was connected to the ecobubble feature.)

    Drove back to Currys to request a full refund as the machine not fit for purpose. They said it had to be inspected by an engineer. As this was already in hand, I agreed. They told me that the engineer would issue an RA number to authorise its return to Samsung and which would allow them to authorise the refund.

    By the morning of 29th December, still no contact from Samsung’s engineers. I drove again to Currys who contacted Samsung and said that we would receive a call later that day. It was not until 30th December that they called to say that they would inspect the machine on 5th January. Also, on the 30th, I emailed Currys’ Customer Service with a formal rejection letter and received an automated reply that they were very busy and that ‘they were working hard to reduce the response time’.

    On 5th January, the engineer did call and confirmed the fault. Gave me a report but told me that he does not issue RA numbers! I took the report to Currys to obtain my refund. They checked with Samsung and then told me that the manufacturer had still to receive the engineers report. I explained that that was nothing to do with me but was between Currys and Samsung. My contract was with Currys and that I had fulfilled their requirements for the refund by producing the engineers report and they now had proof of the faulty machine. I had to insist on speaking to a manager before they agreed to process what they call a ‘Pending Refund’, arrange collection of the appliance and only then, would I then get my
    money back. They told me their van drivers would issue me with a form which I should bring into Currys together with my credit card and I could do this as soon as the machine had been uplifted.

    Next day, 6th January, the machine was scheduled to be picked up between 3:50 and 7:50 pm. I received a call at 7:45 pm to apologise for being late and that they would be with me in 15 minutes. However, they advised that they did not issue any sort of form or receipt contrary to what I had been advised in the store. They did however, kindly let me photograph their work order as evidence the machine had been collected.

    At last, on 7th January, have now received my full refund and surprisingly, without any further misinformation, delays or other annoyances.

    Oh, and just after I received my refund, I received a reply to my rejection email of 30th December saying ‘I regret that we are unable to offer a exchange or refund until the manufacturer has authorised the return of this appliance.’

    Currys will be pleased to learn that I will never trouble them again in the future.

  11. been broke for 20 years got some money, spent £350.00 on a lap top, i have severe plantar fasciitis and bad nerves in my feet, had to take it back.. lost count of how many times now I have unresponsive keys and a message came up telling me im using wrong power supply, they’d replaced it previously after i refused to take an used display model replacement, these people are clowns and nothing but common thieves, see what happens when take it back this time oh and the manager can only give me £10 for my troubles, this company break the trades description act and misrepresentation of goods act of 1971 and should be shut down

  12. I got the year of those acts wrong.. here’s some thing tat is perhaps relevant from a citizens advice bureau web page ***

    Misrepresentation

    If a business seller makes a false statement to persuade you to buy goods, they may have committed a criminal offence. You may want to report the trader to Trading Standards who have power to investigate this type of offence. For example, a trader selling burglar alarms may falsely tell you that you need an alarm because there is a higher than average rate of burglaries in your area.

    If you think you’ve bought something because of a false statement made by a business or private seller, you may have the right to end the contract and get a refund. The law that gives you this right is the Misrepresentation Act 1967 in England and Wales, the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1985 in Scotland and the Misrepresentation Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 in Northern Ireland, or the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

    If you’re in this situation, you should get advice.

  13. I have been trying to get my sons Samsung tablet repaired under my Knowhow policy since October last year. Due to errors with the store I still have my sons tablet at home NOT WORKING. I wish to get the money back that I have paid Knowhow for the policy as they have not delivered what they said they would. I have written 3 LETTERS to Sheffield and still not received an adequate response. How do I get my money back for the policy?

  14. Just dropped daughter’s laptop off as refusing to charge and just got stung for £130 for external hard drive & data recovery as they insist they need to wipe the hard drive for a charging fault!!! Not given much choice as daughter’s college work is on hard drive. Was told by we should have backed it up before bringing it in…which we would if it would actually switch on!
    We were not told of this cost when we phoned customer service. Laptop is less than 1 yr old.
    Really poor customer service!

  15. I have laptop insurance with knowhow and have done for almost 4 years now. I have normally had easy good repairs with them but this time not at all. I took my laptop in and it was said to be back in 9 Days. Having waited 10 I went back into the shop and found that pc world had booked my laptop in under a wrong name and wrong laptop and wrong address. They literally had no idea where my laptop was and what was going on. After half an hour of being in store they had some clue but said there was no return date on the system but it was ok because I have a no return in 21 day policy where I would get a new laptop. I went in after 23 days to find out where it was and after another 20 minutes of waiting I was told it was fixed and being sent back withing 2-3 days. It has currently been 26 days and I got a text from knowhow saying my laptop was in store and ready to be picked up. So I rang the store and was told to wait until pc world ring me and not know how. I am utterly dissapointed in the service I have received by both pc world and knowhow. Although some members of the pc world staff have been apologetic and tried to help, there has been no communication between them and me.

  16. The customer service team at Curry’s need taking out and shooting, I don’t think they have one brain cell between them.
    28.12.2012, I brought a Belling cooker from Curry’s GT Yarmouth. No problems buying the cooker and the warranty, that was straight forward. It is all the problems I have had since. In April 2013 had my first call out due to one of the rings not lighting, then a few months late another call out because of a carbon poisoning problem. The manufacturers – Glendimplex. sent letters out about the problem and that was another call out. Then I had to call them out a few months later because the cheap chrome plated on and off buttons were melting because I didn’t notice the oven wasn’t fitted correctly. (Well that is what the engineer said). The 18 months later after purchasing the cooker I noticed that were the glass lid opens and closes on the hinges was going rusty. Spoke to the Know how team who said speak to Glendimple. I sent a letter to glendimple, who said it was my fault because I as using the wrong cleaning products. The on/off button came away from the cooker and on close inspection, inside this button it is cheap plastic with a silver coating, which had split because when the oven is on the heat has melted them. After a eight week wait for an engineer to turn up today the 5th May on a all day callout, he never showed.
    After I had spoken to three idiots and spending over half an hour on the phone, I was told the appointment had been cancelled and that they were sending me some new buttons so I can fix the problem. This is now in the hands of my solicitor as the cooker was £800 and the worthless warranty was £149.
    My message is do not buy from Curry’s, unless you like wasting your money and phone calls dealing with idiots………..

  17. They have lost my brand new projector TV and are refusing to give me a refund for the £879.00 purchase price until they have completed their investigation.

    They will not tell me how long this investigation is going to take.

    What baffles me is why they expect me and my bank balance to suffer because of their loss.

    This seems very unfair, if not a form of bullying.

    I have found them to be very difficult to deal with and will never cross their threshold again.

    Does this seem reasonable to you?

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