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Investigation finds that laptop owners are being overcharged for simple repairs

The desktop PC market has been in decline for a number of years as consumers move towards more portable devices, but a new investigation by consumer help group Which? Has found that laptop owners are being overcharged for simple repairs to their devices.

Research found that many high street retailers were charging over the odds for simple repairs to laptops, with many charging more than double for a repair. Which? Installed a simple software fault onto 24 laptops, which meant that they would not boot up and used mystery shoppers to take them to some of the high streets most well-known electronics stores; these included branches of Carphone Warehouse, PC World and Apple Store, as well as independent shops.

During the research, Which? Found that five of its mystery shoppers were charged over £100 for a simple repair which should have cost less than £50, and one branch of PC World charged nearly £170 for the repair, unnecessarily replacing the hard drive and installed the wrong version of the laptops operating system.

The research also found that only 40% of the laptops were successfully repaired, and in 9 instances the laptop failed to be fixed altogether. Seven of the shoppers were persuaded to purchase new hard drives and one lost all of the data off their laptop.

Which? Editor Richard Headland told the press, “It’s shocking that major high street retailers are failing consumers when faced with such basic repair issues and are charging people through the nose in the process,

“We want to see improved staff training and repair procedures as well as fair and consistent pricing so people can be confident in the services they receive.”

A spokesman from PC World said that the company was disappointed that it hadn’t provided the mystery shoppers with its ‘usual high levels of service’, he said, “We repair 8,000 laptops each week, with a 97% success rate, and the overwhelming majority of customers are very satisfied,

“We will… learn from this to improve our service even further.”

Which? Added that some laptop owners could be able to fix their devices themselves instead of taking them into a repair shop, advising owners whose laptops wouldn’t boot up to run the installation disc or recovery disc that came with their device. These discs contain useful repair tools which can help.

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