[NOTE: John Browett is no longer the CEO of Dixons Group. As of January 2012 it has been reported that he has joined, of all places, Apple!]
Dear Mr Browett,
Last year I was looking for a new laptop after my previous notebook, purchased from PC World, had a catastrophic hard drive failure after just 2 years. I decided to go for a much higher spec than the “dead” machine and browsed my local PC World store in Farnborough for a suitable replacement.
Of all the models on display in the store, the majority were pretty average consumer models but I spotted a well-specced Hewlett Packard, noted the model number and walked away to do my homework.
After careful research and consideration I decided to purchase an HP DV7-3110ea from PC World online. It had all the spec I needed (17″ screen, 4GB RAM, fast quadcore i7 processor etc) and I found a discounted model online, saving me a not unreasonable amount of money.
My laptop turned up at my workplace one day, flimsily strapped to a piece of cardboard by a sheet of plastic in a box otherwise devoid of any padding or packing. I was disappointed at the poor packaging but grateful and lucky that there had been no damage in transit.
For nearly a year I enjoyed the power of this new laptop until the warranty reminder came through. The “3″ key had stopped working and there seemed to be a problem with the power pack, so I decided to take advantage of the warranty before it expired.
I returned the laptop to my local branch of PC World on 23 June 2011 and left it for the courier to pick up and deliver to KnowHow so that they could repair my notebook. 10 days was an extremely long time to wait for such simple repair work (about an hour to replace a keyboard) but I decided to have these repairs done under the warranty.
When the notebook was returned to PC World Farnborough in early July, the staff informed me that the screen now had a scratch across it that they couldn’t shift, despite all their attempts. Absolutely livid that it had already taken 10 days and that my notebook had come back with more damage, the store staff very kindly said they’d do everything to rectify the problem. I was fuming but what options did I have? I really needed my laptop back in full working order but PC World/KnowHow had to fix the damage that had happened whilst it was in their possession.
The laptop sat in the store for a day or two before being sent off for yet another 10 days away! Whilst I was deeply disappointed with the “service” I’d received I felt there was no alternative but to have to wait a total of 3 weeks to repair a “3″ key and fix the power issue and now the scratched screen.
When the laptop returned to Farnborough for a second time, around the 15th July, I was hugely relieved that my laptop was (hopefully) fully functioning again and back in my possession, despite being without it for 3 weeks! I could now catch up with my work and my life. I returned to my workplace and plugged it in. Everything seemed to function correctly. I was happy.
An hour after plugging in the laptop I went to use it and was given a warning message that there wasn’t enough battery life left to execute the task I was attempting. I checked the power input and there was no charging indicator light on. I unplugged then plugged in the power pack. Still no light.
Absolutely fuming at this I instantly called KnowHow to express my utter fury at the piss poor service. I was told to write a letter detailing the issues of my complaint and that I would have to arrange to send the laptop away again!
I said I’d consider my response.
Since the HP laptop first went away on the 23rd June I started to fall behind in all my employer’s work and my personal work, I fell behind on keeping an eye on my accounts (with my accounting software being installed on my HP laptop). I’d even purchased a replacement HDD for the defunct Compaq laptop in order to try and compensate for the downtime. Whilst helpful, the backup laptop hasn’t been able to deliver the performance nor spec I need in order to catch up with my workload.
The HP DV7-3110ea went home and was plugged back in. The power was intermittent and the issue seemed to now be from the power input port itself, which was OK before the laptop went away for repair. Had the AC in port disconnected from the motherboard when it went in to Knowhow? How did they miss this? Was the laptop checked or inspected to be in full working order before it was returned to me?
The laptop, a portable device that I took everywhere with me, now sits on a desktop in the spare room of my house. I dare not move it in case the power fails completely because I try and squeeze work out of it when I am at home. I cannot use it at work. The email client on my spare Compaq mysteriously crashed and lost 2 months of emails and now won’t connect to the internet at home. I’m trying desperately to catch up with my workload and I have to juggle this between my workplace and my HP DV7-3110ea which is stuck at home. That’s why, two months after getting the DV7-3110ea back, I’m still so behind and so stressed out that I haven’t been able to write a letter of complaint about “KnowHow” and the utterly appalling failure of PC World/Dixons to give me any swift or satisfactory level of customer service.
So, as you can see, it’s been a torrid time. Nearly 3 months after first handing my laptop back for repair it still isn’t fixed. I can’t move it. I’m stuck catching up with my personal work at home and stuck in a particular room. My backup laptop is almost useless as I don’t have the time nor money to fix it so that it can connect to the internet again so I am unable to use any of my laptops remotely.
Consider this then as my complaint – I am still behind in my work and my life, being behind with my accounts cost me bank charges after going overdrawn and I had to spend time fighting to have the extortionate charges dropped. I am still stressed out, absolutely furious with KnowHow/ PC World/ Dixons Group and stuck with a half broken laptop that I don’t know when it will be fixed and how long I can go without again. It’s inconvenient, the customer service has been shoddy and the processes in place at the aforementioned organisations are in serious need of a shakeup. I’ve used PC World since buying my first PC in 1997 an, despite having had previous experiences of incompetent staff and sloppy procedures, have continued to use PC World.
I am now considering whether I should ever spend any money with PC World again but, with this lengthy complaint now in your hands, would like to know what PC World/ KnowHow/ Dixons Retail are going to do next to ensure that this epic failure comes to a satisfactory conclusion, not just for me, here, now, but for all current and future customers of your business. I’ve posted my thoughts and experiences in my blog about how awful the “service” has been with this particular laptop but I am equally happy to shout about any efforts to genuinely and actively improve the service to myself and others and to find a solution to this issue.
All I want now, as a paying customer, is for a happy outcome for this episode. I hope you can make it so.
Paul Mackenzie Ross
This is the 3rd installment of this catalogue of epic failure by KnowHow/ PC World/ Dixons Retail. For previous episodes see 1:
You Never Know How Much You Appreciate Your Tech Until It’s Gone and 2: The PC World Update.