Currys & PC World – Do they have the 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.

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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.

214 replies

  1. I just hope I don’t have any problems with there services because my laptop is like my P**** it is needed for tech and hobbie and for software developing

  2. just had my laptop returned after having the power jack repaired, nothing else wrong. However when i got back found only the lower half of my keyboard worked and it would then flash notification that my internet cable was being plugged in and out repeatedly when not in use. Simple repair screwed up my laptop.

    1. Ask to see the NOTES on this Repair, it should go via QA to check things like that are working as a backup to the Tech checking it

  3. I took my laptop my laptop to knowhow for repairs after paying them £100 for parts plus £50 advance for taking the product, 2 weeks later they told me they have lost the laptop through transit.
    they have given me a new laptop, however, I am wondering if I can still claim my repair money back? if anybody can advice me on this issue I would be grateful.
    thank you

    1. I have a extended warranty on my laptop, it stopped charging and I had to take to Currys to send it knowhow on two occasions.
      My initial phone call to book in this laptop for repair was hostile and not very helpful.
      Although the majority of staff are helpful the policy makers are only interested in you buying because they have a monopoly on computer high street outlets.
      I had a my share of problems with this company and would not be buying anything from any store associated with this company in future.

    2. Rocky, I would claim the money back. You paid for a service. You did not get that service. That’s just straight breach of contract. They don’t have a leg to stand on. On top of that, you can claim for financial loss that results from PC World’s breach, ie, phone bills for every time you called those morons thus costing you money as you tried to sort this out. You can also get damages. In this case, money for the lost laptop although they have given you a replacement so that part of the claim has been resolved. As you can see the damages element is separate from the refund part so just because you have been given a new laptop, it does not mean you are not entitled to get your money back. BEWARE – PC World has been known to lie when you start using your consumer rights. They told me I could not rely on the Sales of Goods Act and as they deal with it every day, know it inside out. Now, if I’d been an ordinary customer I’d have thought, ‘They probably do so I’ll give up now’. When I questioned them on their interpretation of SOGA and which parts they were relying on in refusing my rights, suddenly the bloke U-turned and said he wasn’t an expert in it. PC World, next time you lie to a customer about the law, make sure it’s not a barrrister.

    3. Evelyn,
      Just got off the phone from PC world,
      I asked pc world to do a data backup of one apple mac to external, send me the original hdd back and put a new hdd in the machine. They charged me £543 for this, I got the pc back with new hdd, but now im told they lost (possibly stolen) my backup and original with 5 years of family pictures, files and all personal and financial docs. They asked me how much compensation I felt fair. how do you value this, 5 years of holidays etc. Not to mention someone possibly using my data in the future. I so angry…….

  4. battery needs replacing yet knowhow are refusing to do it. one person says it is built in and as such not covered; another says it is not built in but still not covered. the agreement states built in batteries are not covered but laptop batteries are not built in. another employee stated all parts of laptop are built in so battery is classed as built in and not covered. when i asked why this was not explained when purchasing the product he refused to explain. when i asked him where on the agreement it states that removeable batteries are not covered he refused. the charger is included so why isn’t the battery. he then started waffling about how you wouldn’t claim for a light bulb on home insurance.

    when i asked why currys mislead consumers he stated they didn’t. when purchasing this agreement they clearly stated and emphasised that if there were any problems/faults then they would repair/replace free of charge; the battery on my laptop has suddenly decided to not charge or work properly and as developed a fault so, according to their sales staff it comes under the warranty. they did not tell us the battery is not covered by them under any circumstances, regardless of whether the laptop is 2 years old or a week old.

    so be warned everyone, their knowhow is a bit of a scam. parts are not hard to replce nor are they expensive so gonna cancel the agreement.

    1. As far as i know that Batteries are a External so are not covered. Its a easy thing to kill off over time and sending it in with a dying battery would mean they would have to change everyone’s.

      if your battery is going and you need repairs they will not replace it but they might, just might lose it and then they have to give you a new, to really save face. I didnt know about the charger being included myself.

      There is another Battery in the Laptop a little Watch Type battery, but that has its own case that is easy to change or clip on ones with a connections. Cheap things, but all they do is keep the Time working really.

      I dont think a Battery can get a fault, but the charger part can I guess. I was told by KnowHow that the Battery was not covered tho. As for the warranty, there is TWO types, one the Makers normally a within the year and then it comes down to KnowHows own sales warranty, that should be standard about on electrical goods.

      mm DSGi warrantys have always been like this, 3 years warranty but one year is FREE as its makers warranty so its only 2 years!! As for mending a Laptop,

      I would suggest doing it yourself, better understanding and cheaper by far, just go at it with LOGIC.

      * Screen Take out ALL SCREWS easy to miss some, there is a nice Plastic Tool you can get for pulling off the Bezel, suggest hooking that from the Screen out so not to break any teeth, keep a hold of all screws, its a easy job to do, but do need the correct screen, so when you take the old one out you can find the code on the back and order one.

      *DVD this is a SO SO job, most of the time there is just one screw holding it in and then you can just push it out or pull it out. if there is a Disc inside you can pop it out normally from a HOLE in the Drive, just get a paper clip and poke it in to eject. Removing the DVD Bezel you need to LOOK AT IT and think were the Catches are and push on them while pulling.

      *keyboard, normally there are Keyboard icons on the laptop and you just unscrew them and pup the catches, some keyboard have a strip above them to hide other screws so might have to take them out. Most of the time i take out the Rom Drive so i can push on the case to pop it out.

      *Case, easy replace but note down were things go back in. The Bottom case can be a bit more harder as that has the Motherboard in it.

    2. In fairness its a consumable unit battry life is down to the users own fault as for the agrement you would have been given upon purhcase it does say its not covered iv just had a look at my own agreement and it says what it says and to be honist i signed it and never read it so. really not a leg to stand on.

  5. they fixed our laptop by replacing a hard drive that did not need replacing but about 2 weeks later the keyboard stopped working so we sent it back and they said that apparently we had split something over the keyboard and we would have to pay them 30 pounds to fix the keyboard or the will keep the laptop we think that the people in the repair had split something over the laptop and blamed us to fet more money out of us. we will never use the knowhow service again.

    1. Think they do a HDD test to check the drive and you can still use the Drive and it can be Damaged.

      What did it get sent in for may i ask?

      a Keyboard not working is a very basic thing, I myself only seen this due to spillage or the motherboard not working correctly (they can work but it can just send the keyboard only wappy)

  6. The national repair center is full of highly trained monkey’s… they couldn’t care less about the quality of the service they provide. While there are a few there that are very good at their job the overwhelming majority are nothing but part fitters, they know nothing about the job they’re doing and will bodge unit’s in order to meet their targets. Having worked there I would never send my computer there for a repair. Avoid, you’ve been warned.

  7. I’ve been trying to help here….

    Knowhow, just a suggestions to people using them to repair Laptops/Desktops/Tablets/PVR.
    If someone one has done a bad job then Name and Sham them with the Job Number.
    And if a Good Job then give there First name and say they did a good job.

    I would hope that the Laptops/Desktops come back in working with all the test and QA they do. But as i suggested before, do take Photos of the Item to show, if the item comes back in a bad state than it went out in. Video it would be better pointing out the faults and damaged it might have so any new ones you can point them out.

    As for Data Lose they do get you to sign a waver mm

    As for some thing getting a fault and they have noticed it and changed it and you didnt know. Myself I wouldnt know my HDD is dying, which it is over time, there could be bad parts in it and I’ve just not hit them to notice. Ram can have a Fault on the last logic chip and you dont notice it unless it just happens to hit it, could only happen once in a blue moon (know that personally)

  8. ive been having problams with my Toshiba laptop which i bought from Curry’s its less than 12 months old. The 1st time they said they had put a new hard drive into it but when i got it back it still had lots of problams so i took back the second time they said they had to remap it whatever vthat is got it back and its still got problams with being very slow non responsive and it keeps freezing so ive taken it back again last week.the girl who served me said she was going to request that they write it off and give me a new one but still not heard from them.i told them i need a laptop i can use.its very anoying. i want have another Toshiba

    1. They have a Thing that if its been in repair for 4 time they want to write it off, i dont fully understand that.

      A LOT of people have too much software running in the background, things like DVD burners AOL Adobe Office load themselfs up, even if you dont use them. I like to turn them all off myself, if i dont need it, i turn it off. (click on the windows icon and in the search type in MSCONFIG, should bring up a Window and a Tab with StartUp can disable most of that, just keep your anti virus and such) also dont download any software off the internet for speeding up the PC, a lot of scams for software that dose nout.

      also few as possible icons on the DeskTop.

      the people at the Repair should clean the Fan out, can block up and make the PC Crash.

      It is Poor Repair, if they had it fixed in the first place then wouldnt do the write off rubbish.

    2. The whole point of the 4 repairs and a write off “No Lemons guarantee” is to help customers who have a consistent fault. The T&Cs behind the write off is 4 repairs for the SAME FAULT within a 12 months period. It’s there to protect customers who have been unfortunate enough to buy a product with a recurring fault. I’ve seen machines have 3 new mainboards in for the same fault and it just keeps failing. Sometimes you simply cannot repair a product and the idea of this Write Off is so the customer doesn’t have to suffer for it.

    3. Not necessarily. I’ve seen units have a brand new part fitted and the same fault reoccurs. I myself had a laptop which had 3 new mainboards fitted and still died after approx. 5 minutes use, Power, POST error of Graphics. Sometimes you do just get a dead item.

  9. Some say you need to take Computer to a Qualified Tech and not a load of computer geeks
    Uni/College/School work builds a background in the field
    but hands on is far more important, a Geek who has no Education, learning by doing wrong and fixing it or Reading up things is a good way to go to get your computer fixed.

    Famous People with No Qualifications due to having to drop out of College/Uni
    Steve Jobs, Woz, Bill Gates

    As for Hardware, this is a Ditchable Moden Age (find that a bit upsetting but its the way it is) I myself have place on new Caps on to Boards due to them dropping off and tried to fix tracks on my motherboard, to put a new chip on a HDD. But most people just swop it (personally i want to know why it went but that costs and its time, and you want your computer back NOW)

    Software: Windows is a messy put together system (so many bits of software just mixed in to one) and with so many bits you can change for a personal touch, brings so many faults. A good way to fix this would be to have Windows on a Different Drive and even now and then when it has a fault you just flow over its Image (like a Face lift) a good way of doing things would be to have 2 Recovery Files. 1. Brand New 2. Last good settings then when you install some new bit of software or some thing a New Recovery and wait a month to see if its still stable.

    A better understanding (i know its a pain) of the Computer Hardware (Just replace it if it goes wrong sadly) Software (its a battle that never ends) BackUp and Dont go on SHARE or download software.. Keep a eye out to avoid ONLINE software that say VIRUS we can fix that for you or SPEED up you PC .. they are MALWARE bad items. Do this and you shouldnt have to PAY or Talk to these TECH Support persons (like trying to keep heathy so you dont have to see the Dr)

  10. After buying this laptop 30 January and having many problems Currys know how have only just acknowledged the laptop is at fault and not little gran but still refuse to change it but just want to keep sending it back to repair shop, it has never worked from day one but they still refuse to exchange it. Will never purchase from them again and never buy a Toshiba product again. They are quick enough to take the money for guarantee etc but have not honored it.

    1. Sorry to hear that, i guess there main thing is to repair it, get it fixed to be used again, and that is it.
      If the laptop has gone in for 4 repairs (hardward) within a 12mth i believe you can ask for a right off.

      But if the system is still within the year, then that is Toshiba’s doing, they say what happens to it within that first year, not knowhow.

      Laptop wise, i like ACER (tho they are taking over the world) buying up other Laptop companies and adding it to there line. But like every thing you need to know how to care for the item to get more life out of it, Sadly Cleaning fan out and putting new Paste on it, knowing how much you HDD has done and when it might need changing before it dies and you and you lose all hope. Using ReadyBoost to give a bit more of a boost, 8Gb of Ram to give a bit more of a Ram boost, Dont Play 3D games it kills laptops 90% of them were not made of Complex Gaming (But so many people do use that)

      One of the biggest problem is Humans, Putting on Softwere/Drives that isnt suited to the system or malware. Even I have problems with malware from time to time, it is a endless fight and can not be worn, unless you have a LIVE OS that vanishes at the end of use. It would be used for Internet/Office work but not for Games or Emails (unless you have a online account) but would mean you dont have to have a Hard Drive, stuff a lot of ram and a USB/Memory Stick for files, no new software tho.

    2. What!, so by the time they repair it, the 12 months will be up, so I have had a laptop for nearly 8 months that has never worked properly and can not be used, So you think that is acceptable. Look out for the daily mail and see what the public think of it.

    3. You miss read what i posted.
      You said that it has been in and out of the Repair. I was pointing out two points, first the 12month from new Warranty from Toshiba, and then if you have Brought a KnowHow Plan, (that if the Laptop is repaired 4 times WITHIN a 12Mth Time you could have it written off) that is while your plan is STILL LIVE.

  11. I would love to know what FAULTS they found and Repairs they did… Within 8Mth this is still under Makers Warrent. (im trying to keep this simple as I am a bit worried my words will be misread)

    1. The laptop will keep freezing and going to blue screen because it will not allow the windows updates to install so keeps taking all the power, Toshiba says once currys/pcworl purchase from them the warranty etc is down to them, I have contacted trading standards and also Daily Mail to publish this because it is outrages, after nearly 8 months of not being able to use a new pc and they admit it is an original fault they should just replace it. Now because it is so long they say it has to be repaired 4 times. I am disgusted and so is my family and friends and I will be making the public aware of how they work. My experience of them will be posted as much as possible for a long time so the public get an understanding of the company etc.

    2. So you only have the Toshiba Warrenty that they Let KnowHow do all the work.
      I dont know if the “4 Repairs within 12Mth” is in force as it is Toshiba Warrenty.

      In this age you have to learn how to fix things as people take you for a ride. This isnt NEW to the Likes of Currys (i know my parents will not shop with them, because they were bitten by the same thing you talk about, but that was in the 80’s, so for 30yr+ they have been doing this and no one told you)

      Publish every thing that has Happend and they are doing, Make a Diary of it, from buying it and all the repairs and the Reasons why they couldnt do this and that, i do think it will make a good read.
      But for laptops i will always suggest learning yourself how to fix things, cheaper and you wil feel good about it.

    3. I will be making a video about the unusable laptop to put on youtube and facebook also, I will do all is possible to educate the public about how it works. will post on all my reviews how it goes etc. Keep well. All the best.

  12. Sent my laptop to have a faulty screen and cracked chassis repaired, both listed on the repair list they provided me with. It came back with a working screen but the chassis was still cracked; I returned next day to PCWorld asking for the laptop to back to repairs only to be told that the insurance had expired while it was being repaired and that the chassis won’t be covered.
    I objected that it was a repair that should have happened the first time around but they were having none of it, despite the help of the admittedly very sympathetic employee at the desk who had them on the phone who told me this happens all the time.
    They are the kind of company that makes you lose faith in honest business and generally in humanity.

    I for one can’t wait for these idiots to be replaced by machines as they at least have no excuse for being soulless.

    1. That is bad, if that is the repairs to be done and its indate when you get it then you should fix it.
      dont think they have a big countdown clock and when it hit the second that the your money was touched one year ago or so.

      I’m guessing they put the Casing in back order and by the time it came out they found a reason not to do it.

    2. The company is terrible when it comes to the guarantees, we have had a laptop from new that has never been usable for nearly 8 months but they refuse to change it and are keeping us waiting by sending it back for repair again, by the time it gets repaired if at all possible the years guarantee will be finished, so if it still does not work I wonder what they will say. They admit it has been faulty from the beginning and unusable but still will not replace it, it has now gone to escalated repair center which means it may be replaced but what a hassle it has been and still it may be replaced with other parts but that means we have lost 8 months worth of time. Terrible attitude to there customers, think twice before buying from them.

    3. How about suggesting sending to a PROFESSION LAPTOP Repair lab and send them the bill as they cant fix it.

      As for Warranty, i had a Creative Labs Sound Card £200, i couldnt get it working, some thing with some thing on the motherboard and the card didnt like each other, back and forth with Creative Labs how to sort it out, Dear Valuable Customer (I DAM WELL aint you wouldnt be treating me like this) well in the end they were calling me by my first name. But I never got it fix as they cut me off after two years trying to get this sorted, they said it worked ok with that motherboard, i asked for there set up and ill copy it, never got a reply and like the repair, as soon as they 2yr was up GOODBYE will never buy there stuff again, well not for that price cheap and nasty only from them, that way i only lose £10 a time than £200 of sound card i couldnt use

  13. I was wondering if anyone at Which could give their best guess as to what they they think the price of the new Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 16gb wifi will be please? I just dont understand why Samsung are keeping it such a closely guarded secret. Thanks

  14. Please join FB page ‘PC World – Customers for Consumer Rights’ to report problems with PCW customer service. The aim is to get Trading Standards to investigate it.

  15. Will be returning 160gb iPod tomorrow for 3rd time this month! Would not sync with iTunes and the first repair was giving us a new USB cable! As if we hadn’t tried that ourselves. Just picked it up again on Friday and now they say they’ve replaced the HDD….. we now have a 30gb iPod!!! Can’t wait to find out how they lost 130gb

    WORST company ever to have the misfortune to do business with, I am not a complainer, i have my own business and understand customer service and how to deal with faulty/damaged goods and give customer satisfaction. Curries PC world / knowhow DO NOT TRY TO HELP AND WILL GIVE YOU ANY EXCUSE NOT TO EXCHANGE FAULTY GOODS OR GIVE REFUNDS which they would be legally bound to do but because they are a big company they will try everything to flout the rules and FOB YOU OFF with BULL%%IT. NEVER EVER BUY ANYTHING FROM THESE SCAMMERS better (and cheaper) to buy online and you will have better back up from manufacturers / websites returns policy /guarantee. OR just ask your local retailer to match PC world price for same item and then at least you can talk directly with the shop owner / manager if you have any issues. Curries PC world / Knowhow hide behind their central call centre and visits to their store are fruitless.
    You have been WARNED…it’s your MONEY…don’t be SCAMMED by these ELSEWHERE

  17. On 27/07/13 I bought a new Acer Aspire V5 laptop from PC World and signed up to the Knowhow standard ‘If anything happens’ service, on 08/09/13 the hard drive failed and the machine would not boot. Knowhow/PC world at the store would not replace the machine but insisted on sending for repair. I also requested data recovery. Machine was due back in the store on 22/09/13. That is two weeks without a nearly brand new machine. After repair it ‘missed the delivery van’ and was not returned until nearly a week later on 26/09/13. The repair sheet said the HD had been replaced and the laptop given a complete clean and QA to ensure fully working. Switching on the laptop produced a message about the sata drive0 being locked and requiring a password.
    Not sure how this passed QA! Knowhow could not fix and after I insisted on a full refund this WAS given (to be fair). However the ‘recovered data’ was entirely corrupt. I would not buy from PC World because the 21 day replace/refund policy is too short and Knowhow are not able to fix things.


    1. i believe its, if its been in 3 times within a year for hardware fault.

      Strange thing is my parents had the same problems back in the 80s with washing machines.. so in 30years people still doing the same thing with the same company just with new names.. even mice getting electric shock learn quicker

  19. We recently took our laptop in to have some photos recovered. We sent it in with our hp hard drive which had photos of our children on it. Pc world have not recovered photos but just put the ones that did not need recovering and were already easily accessible from the laptop on to another hard drive (not ours) charged us £80 and have advised us that ours cannot be found.

    I am very concerned that our hard drive with photos of my very young children could be anywhere in the possession of god knows who.

    Not only have they not recovered the photos from the laptop they have lost the only other ones of my babies that I had.

    1. The best way to “Recover” data such as a pictrues/files/videos etc
      is to get a SATA to USB connection £10 MAX uk prices
      this then turns your Laptop Hard Drive in to a USB Drive
      making it easier to pull the files you want.
      this i think is the best way to do it, but it could be too badly damaged even for this
      but if the damage to the hard drive is a bad hard drive or windows then it should pull off the bits you want (i would guess a bad hard drive will only have bits within the drive damaged.

      as for your Hard Drive, I believe that you can ask for it back. It has Personal information of yours on it, not sure if that would come under the data protection act or what, but personally i would give any ones hard drive back to them, incase they wanted to pull any more data off it any other ways that i do not know.

  20. Our new washing machine was due for delivery by KNOWHOW. On the due date we received a text with a tracking number.

    The tracking website reported delivery would be between 3:20pm and 7:20pm consistently through the day.

    At 19:20 no machine had turned up. At this point we called the information line, discovering it was a PREMIUM RATE NUMBER laden with automated delaying tactics!

    The customer ‘service’ rep informed us that there had been delays but the machine would be delivered before 9.00pm. TWENTY MINUTES LATER we were called by the driver to be informed that they had finished for the day and our machine would be taken back the depot! No amount of protesting would change his mind.

    We then called the premium rate number immediately to find the office was closed!

    We called back the next day on the premium rate number and insisted they called us back to avoid us incurring more costs which after much procrastination they eventually did.

    We were informed that the machine would be delivered today between 3:20pm and 7:20pm.

    It is a disgraceful to treat customers in this way and immoral to use premium rate numbers to handle the aftermath.

    We have raised a formal complaint and will not be using Currys, PC World, Pixmania or Knowhow again.

  21. WARNING do not buy a Know How Appliance repair its a sham poor service and redicules contact. If they knew even a tenth of what they say they can do it would be a miacle. Engineers are not even techs, bodgers would be a better explanation and endless phone calls to different departments. DO NOT GET TEMPTED IN TO BUYING THIER REPAIRS you will regret it

    1. 100% agree, my sister had nothing but bother, they “lost” her laptop for a while and sent it back with new issues… Poor poor service, would never recommend

  22. Right, in these times.. when buying any thing New, Warranty is on the electrical item, after that time i would suggest some locale repair guy, trying to make a living and it is keeping the Money within your town..

    As you know with a big company, you are just another bit of MEAT in a meat market NEXT, and for ever Sucker they upset there are 10 others waiting to take the place, but a locale repair guy needs a good word of mouth in there own area.

  23. I can’t believe there are so many issues…before Christmas my 5 yr old Dell 1720 died, they couldn’t get parts so wrote off after 21 days, had to replace with HP envy as only machine with equivalent screen size and took out warranty, six weeks later the envy died during a windows update, again booked for repair and again went over 8 days this time, again wrote off and supplied vouchers!!! I really have found the process surprisingly easy but I have to say the staff at my local store are very good!

  24. The worst service I have ever had- do not use this company. Didnt turn up depsite the fact that i had paid for the repair. Didnt then call to rebook as they said they would. Called back a full week later, to say th earliest they could get to us was ten days later again- and then would not give a refund. Customer service was rude beyond belief and whilst it all went on I was put on hold for over an hour and a half in total and spoke to four different people none of whom could do anything.

  25. Use locale computer shops. Who need to keep a good nane as word of mouth is how they make money, with knowhow its more that they can rip some else off with poor service for years and just change there name techguys to knowhow. And still the money comes in… so like they same more fish in the sea and wider net over europe.

    Only when people get stubg and know of tricks and lf legal cons used from the 80s

  26. Ive changed the mainboard 3 times, all with different faults the one i replaced was a second hand one, given right back from the stripping down dept, giving a faulty boards back in to the system. So swaping one fault for another isnt good, getting a part that is 50:50 isnt a way to fix thing. Would youwant me to fix breaks on a car with second hand ones but we dont know if they worked in the fix place. Just swopping parts it not the way to do things, people are paying for things with a.half life.

  27. I’m concerned after the reviews i have been reading. I paid £50 for my laptop to go away to their centre to be repaired. The power jack had broken, the guy in the store said the power jack had broken but now they are ringing me and telling me the motherboard is broken and want £80.00 from me to fix it!
    The £50 i paid is apparently non-refundable and i have not had my Laptop for a week already! Not sure whether to pay them the £80 to get my laptop back or to just get them to send it back and take it to someone else?

    1. Catch 22 hay.. they have you, if the motherboard is GONE, then it would cost a LOT £80-100 ish..
      I would say Pay it, it will cost you that much any way.
      But i wonder if you could catch them out a bit, tell them to go ahead and put in a NEW Motherboard, and if you can record it.. they tend to use 2nd HAND parts, me being in to electronics and such, i wouldnt have a CLUE of how much LIFE is left in a 2nd Hand Motherboard, the chip set could of over heated in the past and on its last legs for all i know.

  28. Took my laptop in to have the DC socket replaced, they did not replace it and instead told me the adaptor was at fault and charged £16 to replace (they didn’t though as my name was still written on it!). They returned it to me in a worse condition as it wouldn’t start and it said there was a hardware fault, they are now telling me my hard drive is broken and want to charge me to replace it. I feel a long battle ahead. :(

    1. £16 to give a New Charger is a good price (can get risky ones form china for cheaper if you like) not giving you a New Charger and making you pay for it.. is stealing isnt it..

      As for the Hard Drive, its a Common thing to say its damaged (what in a way it is, as soon as it gets used it decays a bit, so over time its drop. but still dose the job and dosnt need replacing its not like a Break, personaly i would say BACKUP data from now on, as it could go maybe in a Mth or a Years time)
      I did one Laptop that just needed some thing fixing, i came to test the HDD and it faild!! i asked what to do, as this wasnt the fault that it came in with. Replaced the HDD and reinstalled and send the old one back so they can take the data off it, i couldnt as they didnt give me a USB to IDE/SATA what would of been nice to drag things off for the person.
      I did lose a lot of my own tools in that place, its more REPLACE IT than FIX it.

  29. Put laptop in for repair was only 8 months old keyboard wouldn’t work and kept going into refresh mode . laptop had already been in twice before for faults which they renewed the motherboard first time when I got it back worked for 5 mins then failed again so had to go back to which another motherboard was put in . This time they sent the laptop back unrepaired saying that there was a liquid splllage on the keyboard to which they said the guarantee doesn’t cover .I said to them that we didn’t spill any liquid on the computer, they weren’t interested . Took laptop away ordered new keyboard fitted myself and away it went working again for the price of £25 for a new keyboard.My experience of knowhow and currys have left me in no mind not to buy anything from them again poor service . there customer care and knowledge gets a 0 out of 10 from me

    1. 2nd hand parts, had one motherboard replace just to find out a Transister was missing, replace again with a 2nd hand mobo, and 3rd time, and a 4th i did say i would been better off with the first one and just putting on a new transister.
      2nd Hand parts have a TOTALLY unknowen or Garenteeneed life span.
      If you put in 2nd hand parts, you should expect a cheaper price for the Risk it has

  30. Had problems with my 4 Year old HP desktop, software would not do anything; speakers, wifi, office etc etc even though the screen showed them as there they would not function also when delving deeper to control panel I could not switch them on, or if I did they would not function, furthermore some of the ikons on the screen looked different rectangle shapes with white background and black text so after messing about trying to fix I concluded there was a virus so off I took the pc to PCW.PCW ignored everything I said and told me it would cost £80 for Data rescue and £50 for Desktop Fault Finding. The store guy told me about data being transferred and back on to the my disc I told him I had recently purchased a Seagate 2TB internal drive and it was still in the box new, he told me to bring it in and he would send off with the PC; I further mentioned that I belived the CPU Fan was noisy and need replacing, could they do that at same tiime, he sail he would mentiion it on the paperwork. 15 days later they call me advising I need to pay £34 for new hard-drive and I need to pay for the transfer of data onto it.. they say they cannot transfer to Seagate and the 1TB when full I will not be able to transfer to internal Seagate 2TB (( the 2 people I have spoken to cannot get the tech guy to talk to me. HELP PLEASE SOMEONE.

    1. Im guessing here because, people call things a bit different.

      To me sounds like your in a Profile that isnt a ADMIN person (ie cant use the control pannel)
      also if the Layout is all different, i think, it is in the settings of the Layout, now i cant remember were things our, i’ve been using so many Windows over the years… But i could change all the Windows and the text also the size… Im now on Linux so i cant easy check

      Personalization i think its called

  31. I have to disagree with the majority of the comments on this page. I have had nothing but fantastic service from currys/pcworld. Fast Repairs, great knowledge and customer service. I dont think i would take my computer anywhere else to get rapaired. I had left my computer in to a local repair shop with a minor problem and it ended up coming back to me a week later with a new motherboard, data wiped and a NON GENUINE copy of windows reinstalled. I had to reload my disks again because of this. In all it costed me £120. Later i found it was just a BIOS flash needed on the motherboard. When i got a virus on my computer i left it into knowhow and had it back the same day with virus removal done and a report of what was checked on my computer. Great service very speedy repair time.

    1. If its the same day then that is the SHOP, the commons on this site is about the Repair Labs.
      I think main thing is how did you get the VIRUS, Ive done 16yr online and had one Virus
      (sent to me in the Post on a Burnt Disc, when i told the guy about it,he said funny that i had that Virus..)

  32. I bought a Windows 8 hp laptop from Currys earlier today. I made it clear from the start that I don’t know the first thing about computers and this was just for Football Manager & iTunes so thought that the £30 “walk out working” deal was perfect. I also got Mcafee virus protection and Cloud back up, knowing that I’d probably been done to some extent but I wouldn’t have known where to start had I challenged the salesman at the time but still well within my budget I was willing to spend so wasn’t too fussed.

    Got home and plugged the laptop in and switched it on and connected to my Wi-Fi, tried to start downloading iTunes but no sooner had I started doing this my “new” laptop started scanning files and saying I had 1070 files at risk, I had to download Java, upgrade Java, I had low disk space, there was Trojans detected and better still the thing kept freezing whenever I try and scroll down and it’s as slow as a week in Barlinnie prison. Now, I was on this thing going round in circles for no more than 90 minutes so how could I have 1070 files let alone 1070 at risk/infected files??

    I was told that buy purchasing the “walk out working” deal my laptop would be ready for use straight away which clearly isn’t the case.

    What I would like ask more computer minded people is whether I have been done, sold a dodgy laptop or is it something I am doing wrong and whether this can be fixed in the store or if not I am able to claim a full refund??


    1. Hi

      I would get a refund and buy one from John Lewis as they have a automatic 2 year guarantee and (in my experience) better customer service. Currys should have a 7 day return policy.

      Depending on budget, look for one that comes with an SSD. SSD means Solid State Drive, similar to (but slower) than the RAM of the computer, which makes it very fast indeed. Budget for at least 8GB Ram, as this will give you a more enjoyable experience (especially with iTunes) even on a laptop with modest specs. Almost anything with an Intel i5 or i7 processor will perform well, but will cost more than AMD based laptops which generally are not as good. If you are not playing any graphically demanding games a Intel graphics card is fine, but if you are then look for laptops with either an ATI/AMD or NVIDIA discrete graphics card. These will give much better performance albeit at a premium.

      Avoid *anything* to do with McAfee! Instead, look at a number of much better alternatives such as Kaspersky, NOD (Eset), Bitdefender etc. There are also some good free alternatives (Microsoft do their own for example), but make sure you read the reviews to get a balanced view.

      Hope that helps.

  33. Took the laptop back to the store and despite their technician adamant it was a software problem caused by me even after he opened it up and we stared at a blank screen for around 3or4 minutes he gave me the option to reset the device or do a diagnostics check which he claimed would be waste off time it turned out to be a faulty hard drive. Thanks

    1. If you ever want to check HDD (and they can die, lie every thing it is a slow dead from birth with them things) you can use a program called SeaTools (what knowhow use) you can burn to a Disc or boot up from a Memory Pen/Card.. also most makes of Hard Drives make there own HDD Testing tools you can use (ANYONE Can use) the make of Hard drive wil be told when you boot up or if you look in the BIOS

  34. I acquired a 6 year old Toshiba Laptop from some friends who had purchased the item new from PC World, along with an extended warranty. I was interested in the item because I knew that they looked after their possessions, and also because they told me that the machine must be in ‘almost new condition’ as many of the parts had been replaced under extended warranty by PC World (KnowHow).

    HOWEVER, this is what I have discovered about the machine:

    1. No COA for Windows VISTA on the case, so re-installing VISTA would be a problem without the Toshiba restore partition.

    2. Screw missing from underside of the case (it was one of over 20 holding the case together). I later found the screw loose inside the case where it could easily have caused a short-circuit or hardware failure.

    3. DC Jack socket for the mains adapter broken (but this is a very common fault on Toshiba laptops). Upon opening the case, I discovered that the DC jack socket had been wedged in place by a couple of sticky labels (marked “FAULTY PARTS”). Clearly a bodged attempt at a repair.

    4. The original 120GB hard drive had been replaced in 2013 with one of 200GB capacity, but it had been manufactured in 2007! The power on count for the HD show over 9500 times, but had only been used for 8 months since installation in that Toshiba laptop. So, the HD was presumably certainly second-hand and about 6 years old when fitted as a replacement in this computer. With HDs typically lasting for between 3 and 5 years, there may not be much life left in it.

    5. The ‘new’ hard drive had been formatted so that the user only had access to the first 93 GB, the remaining 93GB was given over to the Toshiba Recovery Partition – which was almost empty!

    I have the PC World (KnowHow) repair dockets which show:

    Item purchased May 2008 (Apparently system imaged by Toshiba February 2008).

    December 2009: New DC Cable and new bottom case for the laptop after being damaged. ( I guess that this was when the Windows COA went missing.)

    September 2010: New A/C Adapter.

    September 2013: New A/C Adapter and new DC cable.

    February 2013: (“Boot failure”). Replaced speakers and keyboard.

    March 2013: (“Boot failure”). Replaced hard drive AND motherboard.

    Some of these repairs are understandable and may have been necessary, such as the DC Jack Socket/DC Cable and the hard drive. But one has to question the replacing of the speakers, and the keyboard and motherboard if the HD had apparently failed. And TWO new A/C Adapter failures!

    According to the paperwork, PC World (KnowHow) do not say that they will use new parts when replacing items that they decide are faulty, but to install a used 6 year old hard drive as a warranty repair beggars belief, as does the bodged DC jack “repair”. I have no way of knowing if the motherboard and keyboard were new when installed under extended warranty, but the motherboard doesn’t look particularly new to me.

    I now have the unpleasant task of telling my friends some home truths about their ‘repaired under extended warranty by PC World’ laptop.

    BTW, with the help of a couple of videos on YouTube, and at a cost of under £5 for the part from an eBay shop, I replaced the broken DC jack socket myself in under 30 minutes with a new one that looks better made than the ‘original’. Anyone with reasonable DIY computer skills could carry out such a repair themselves provided they take the usually precautions and care in handling delicate components such as the ribbon cables.

    1. They dont always replace them with new Parts, some are re-claimed from dead laptops

      1) you can get the COA from the Laptop, ever going in to WinEdit or some little program that can bring up the codes for it and MS Office.

      2) that is bad a screw shouldnt be inside, also there are different sizes screws, ie long ones you might think are stiff could be poking out the other side.

      3) Lol they should of used a Double sided Stick, normal its very thin flaps that hold the DC Socket in, a bad design made to break.. Faulty parts in RED inch and half by an inch insize .

      4) if its a IDE HDD then it odds on is a 2nd had one..

      5) that partition dosnt sound right to me, if it was orienaly 120Gb would mean you only had 30Gb to play with say..

      Yes the Missing the COA on the bottem case is a BAD error, should move over all lables and COA FOR SURE..
      the hardest part about fixing a Laptop is the Screws all in the right place, the good thing is you are dealing with ONLY one laptop..

      Screen Damage can be a Pain, as you got to take off the Bezle without breaking it there is tools for opening it up but dont force any hiting till you checked around for screws.
      Keyboard is DEAD simple to replace.. Hard drives are easy to get at and so is Ram..

      I would suggest Cleaning your Fan out once a year maybe… and check the Hard Drive (SeaTools is what “Knowhow” use) it will tel you when its about to got and you can get ready to jump HDD ship that way.

      Other fauls is the grill by the Heatsink breaks.. Live with it .. other wise be changing bottem case after bottem case.. just dont stick yoru fingures in the hole.

      Power Packs jsut replace them, and as you say DC Sockets are on a Cable with a Connection on the end.. open up FOLLOW the cable and put in the same place..

    2. AngelLaH, thanks for your comments.

      >They dont always replace them with new Parts, some are re-claimed from dead laptops
      So we have discovered! But the original owner of the laptop was under the impression that, because warranty repairs had been carried out, new replacement parts had been used. Hence their view that, since much of the laptop had been replaced under warranty, then it was almost a completely new machine. LOL!

      As far as the general public is concerned, the above isn’t an unreasonable assumption to make because that’s what happens when they get , for example, their car repaired under warranty or extended warranty, i.e. they fully expect that new parts will be used. So, IMHO, the PC World/Currys should come clean and make it clear when selling the extended warranty, that used parts may be used if new ones are no longer available. Also, KNOWHOW should surely state on the repair document if they have used new or used parts .

      >1) you can get the COA from the Laptop, ever going in to WinEdit
      > or some little program that can bring up the codes for it and MS Office.
      Yes, that’s possible as long as the hard drive has not failed. If the HD has failed then, as far as I can tell, without a backup of the full HD or recovery partition and the COA on the case, you are into the realms of trying to get Windows re-installed with the SLP key encoded in the BIOS – not an easy option!

      I’ve never heard of WinEdit! But, for sure, there are other well known tools available that will work on a Vista installation to help recover a valid and legal key. People reading this and wanting to recover a key code need to be very careful and only download and use recommended tools, or they may be introducing something nasty into their computer.

      >2) that is bad a screw shouldn’t be inside, also there are different sizes screws,
      >ie long ones you might think are stiff could be poking out the other side.
      Toshiba use two different screw lengths for the main case assembly: each screw hole has the code for the appropriate screw length moulded into a small circular section on the case alongside every hole (codes are F5 and F7). Therefore, as long as you can take out one screw for each code first, then it’s easy to match up the two different screws to the appropriate codes.

      >.. Faulty parts in RED inch and half by an inch insize
      Sorry. I don’t understand that statement!

      >3) Lol they should of used a Double sided Stick, normal its very thin flaps that hold
      > the DC Socket in, a bad design made to break..
      Using double-sided tape may not prevent further damage to that area.
      I totally agree about the bad design: the thin bits of plastic do appear to be a point of vulnerability. Indeed, broken DC sockets are a very common problem on laptops. Makes you wonder why the problem hasn’t been addressed sooner, or at all, by the manufacturers.

      My Toshiba had the actual DC jack socket broken and I sourced a new replacement DC Jack Socket/Cable assembly (through eBay) – one which had thicker plastic sections and fits much better into the main case moulding. Only time will tell if it’s strong enough, though!

      >4) if its a IDE HDD then it odds on is a 2nd had one..
      SATA on this model, so no excuses for fitting a well used one that was 6 years old – it is very likely near the end of its’ life. And THAT is the most unforgivable of the actions.

      You can still buy unused IDE HDs. IMHO, if they are offering extended warranty on such parts then they should try to keep a stock of new/unused parts, ideally sourced with the approval of the OEM – that is what manufactures of white goods and cars do through approved repairers. Which begs the questions:
      Is KNOWHOW an ‘approved’ repairer for any OEMs?
      Do computer manufactures have approved repairers? For example, Apple do it themselves – at a price and up to a point!

      >5) that partition doesn’t sound right to me, if it was originally 120Gb would mean you only
      > had 30Gb to play with say..
      Using the serial number, I have the specs from Toshiba for that laptop when manufactured and shipped to retail. All the sizes I have quoted are indeed correct. Vista doesn’t take up anything like 80GB! Yes, it’s not a huge amount of space, but it was ample for the original owner. :-)

      There are plenty of good videos on YouTube showing how to dismantle Toshiba laptops. Just takes the right tools, a logical approach and some care (especially when working with the fragile ribbon cables and, as you say, the screen).

      We are straying away from the purpose of this Which web page, but perhaps the tips we are giving may help inform others of the value of so-called extended warranties on computers, and maybe they will consider using a recommended local repair shop – or even tackling the repair themselves if they have some basic appropriate DIY skills. BUT only if the computer is out of manufacturer’s warranty, of course.

      The idea of offering a one-stop computer purchase and warranty/repair shop for the general public is fine as long as it’s of reasonable quality, transparent and good value for money. I do wonder if anyone from KNOWHOW/PCWorld/Currys reads all these comments and makes some attempt to address the concerns and suggestions raised by (ex) customers? If they don’t, it speaks volumes about the company. It’s up to them to set up the quality control linked to customer feedback. If they don’t, customers may not return to purchase goods in the future. Quality control in retail is nothing new; I think it was Tom Peters who said something like: for every happy customer you get 3 or 4 new ones: for every unhappy customer you loose 10 potential customers.

  35. Lee

    That is an interesting and detailed account. I suspect that it would not make commercial sense to fork out for a brand new motherboard and hardrive for a 5 year old laptop like your Toshiba, so using secondhand spares makes a lot of sense. My source for them is also ebay.

    Once you have an old computer that is “beyond economic repair” it can be quite rewarding to take it apart and fix it. At best, you’ll have a working computer again; at worst you may just have a pile of scrap (but there will usually be some usable parts that can be re-used). Ebay is a great source for cheap spares. I recently purchased a cheap secondhand Toshiba L450 that I have since upgraded with more RAM and a faster CPU. Mine came with Windows 7 but has a somewhat faded Vista product sticker on its base (and is now running Linux). It didn’t come with a working battery but, as luck would have it, every room in my house has mains electricty, so I can just plug it in where I want to use it.

    1. Derek,

      My intention was to shed light on what one might get under an extended warranty, especially if people in general expect new parts to be fitted. Also to expose the nature and quality of the work carried out. In the main, I have tried to be objective, but some of the things I discovered were not good news and hence my opinions.

      Would I recommend this company? No!

      I agree about the motherboard, but not about them fitting such an old and used hard drive.

      Also agree about refurbishing: but costs can easily escalate. On this one: the battery may be shot, so more cost there; have sourced a cheap RAM upgrade to 3GB (not sure if the Toshiba’s BIOS will truly support 4GB); CPU upgrade may not be worthwhile or even a possibility; VISTA sucks, so trialing Windows 7. If that works, a major cost will be for the license. Also about to try an SSD to see how it performs – but that would be an extra large cost too!

    2. I did point out to Knowhow seems they have all these CPU/RAM laying about from Dead systems give them away free as a good will feeling to people…

      But was pointed out to me that people would complain that it wasnt in the same set up as it was given to us..
      Having someone report me on Ebay for telling them were to buy things for cheaper than what they lost a big on.. i can understand this

  36. I handed my laptop in for repair on Sunday and 4 days later they hadn’t even sent it off for repair yet! Claimed they were waiting on an email from their service centre to authorise them sending it through… They acknowledged that all laptops go to the same place for repair -so why wouldn’t it just be sent? I asked for my lapto back and they refunded me my money. Took it to a local repair shop who fixed it same day and for less money. Beware.

    1. I would say support yoru Locale Tech, Knowhow are just PUMPING money in to things, for a name. I talked to Knowhow Trained Tech about Power, P=IV and they got the formula wrong.. and checking out a Speaker, i pointed out if it had resistance then it is working and must be a fault in the connection… Difference between a Tech and Swap Parts Monkey
      Were Knowhow can chuck money at changing every part, were a Tech will try and figure out first off before swapping every bit of the machine.

  37. Hi, I bought a dell laptop in August 2013… In March I found it was faulty as the power just knocked off and would not turn back on. I took it back to Currys and they sent it to Dell. It came back and 2 weeks later the same fault reappeared, I took it back again and they sent it off. Again it came back and broke again later that month. This has now happened 3 times and they seem to just be trying to get out of the warranty time. What can I do because I asked for a replacement after the third time it broke and they said they would ‘request’ one from Dell but i didn’t get this.

    What can I do?


  38. My laptop is 9months old it has now been repaired 3times for the same fault I am paying £8.50 per month for premier cover from knowhow the last time I got it back the repair lasted 5days, I really don’t want the laptop back can I get my money back?

    1. i did think Knowhow had a thing that if it comes back 3 times within a 12mth time fram that it is written off..

      What on earth is the fault

    2. hi Helen you have to write to knowhow to request to have the laptop written off and then they give you money back in vouchers ( to the value of the laptop and you can only spend it at curry’s pc world they wont give money to your bank account) but trust me I had the same problem to get it written off it took the best part of 5-6 months to get it written off.

  39. i would never recomend this service, i have there knowhow premier cover, which entitles 7 days or replace, and after 3rd repair replace, and covers mishaps, my laptop has been in now 2-3 times due to touchpad, once because the hinge was broken, once because they sent me a windows 8 cd by mistake which i installed to then find no auth key to install properly.

    Sent back to them the 4th/5th time with ac charger, asking for the laptop to be replaced, or as they called it, written off, which i would then get a voucher for the cost of laptop, instead they sent it back to me after 5 days without contacting me till the day.

    All they did was reinstall windows 7, fix a broken key on keyboard and DID NOT send me back the AC charger, spoke to a manager he has told me one will be sent within 3-5 working days, so 5 repairs (which according to them software doesn’t count) 2 mistakes on there part, and being sent back after 5 days and now have to wait a further 3-5 days due to there mistake (making a total of 8-10 days, which is breaking there contract again, as it should be repaired in 7).

    Not only this but according to the manager, although the touchpad is starting to go, until its gone they won’t fix it, and the hinge which is partially damaged is only cosmetic so they wont fix that either.

    4-5 repairs, which even though not stated, doesn’t count on software, a 8-10 day repair due to there mistake not sending back the AC charger, but also there mistake of sending me a windows 8 cd i cannot use, and they still wont follow there replacement/write off on there cover, and the manager couldn’t seem to care less.

    any advice other than cut my losses and leave them and never look back?

    1. hi

      I had a lot of trouble with the knowhow service I had a laptop been in 6-7 times and they took 5-6 mouths to get it written off write to knowhow and tell them you want the laptop written off.

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