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
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.
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.
You can read the results from our initial high street PC repairs investigation here.
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.
- Check out our computer repair top tips advice guide
- Need a new laptop? We have more than 50 lab-based laptop reviews
- Which brand of desktop PCs is the best? Which four bands do we consider Best Buys?
*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.