Currys PC World customers are facing an uphill battle for refunds and replacements for faulty products, leaving many out-of-pocket and with worthless high-value products, a Which? investigation has found.
Customers have told Which? how customer service at the electronics giant has hit rock bottom in recent months. One NHS key worker was left frustrated when her leaking washing machine wasn’t satisfactorily repaired and she ended up waiting months for a goodwill replacement.
Since January, the consumer champion has received more than 1,700 complaints about the electronics retailer – nearly 10 per cent of all complaints Which? has received about faulty goods. Around 1,500 disgruntled customers have also joined a Facebook group called “Currys PC World – where’s my refund” with around 50-150 joining every week.
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, any products customers buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. If they do not satisfy any of these three criteria, that can be seen as a breach of contract potentially entitling customers to a full or partial refund, replacement or repair – depending on how long they have had the product.
However, Which? has spoken with 20 Currys PC World customers who have struggled to get a refund or replacement for a faulty product and been either fobbed off to the manufacturer or faced lengthy waits. Which? has also heard complaints about failed and delayed deliveries from Currys PC World.
In a recent Which? survey on the best places to buy home appliances, Currys PC World finished in 14th place out of 29 companies and received a poor two-stars for its after-sales service and returns.
As Black Friday and Christmas approach, many people will be looking for bargains on electronic goods and appliances, but Which?’s investigation suggests shoppers should factor in Currys PC World’s poor customer service record before committing to a purchase.
Says Adam French, Which? Consumer Rights Expert:
“We regularly get complaints about Currys PC World, but the number of problems reported has soared in recent months – suggesting customer service levels have hit rock bottom during the pandemic.
“Customers may be entitled to a replacement or refund if their purchase is faulty or not fit-for-purpose, and should not be fobbed off to manufacturers or face lengthy waits for their money or a new product.
“While the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted deliveries and service earlier this year, many retailers have adapted, improving customer relations and service so Currys PC World has no excuse – it must clean up its act.”
Replies a spokesperson for Currys PC World said:
“We are truly sorry to customers who haven’t received the standard of customer service we expect of ourselves. While we are fulfilling the vast majority of our services successfully, we appreciate that one complaint is one too many.
“All through the pandemic, we have been experiencing unprecedented demand for the vital technology that has been keeping families fed, clean and entertained and helping people work from home.
“Throughout, our greatest concern has been the safety of our colleagues and customers and have had to adapt to new ways of working in a very challenging environment.”
Which? advice for Currys PC World customers:
Know your rights to a repair, replacement or refund with faulty goods – If the fault is detected within 30 days, you’re entitled to ask for a full refund, or a repair or replacement. After 30 days, you’re entitled to a repair or replacement. If the retailer can’t fulfil a suitable repair or replacement, you can then ask for a refund. If you are within six months of purchasing the item this should be a full refund.
Watch out for sneaky fees – If you’re returning a faulty item you shouldn’t have to pay to send it back. Likewise, you should be reimbursed for an independent engineer’s report if it’s proven that the product is faulty. You also don’t have to pay for repairs or replacements to be installed.
Contact your bank – You might be able to get your money back by making a claim with your bank or credit card provider. If you paid with your credit card, You can make a Section 75 claim to try and get the money back in your account. If you paid by debit card you can make a chargeback claim, which is where your bank claws back the money from the recipient.
Check if you’ve got a warranty or guarantee – If you discover a fault after the first six months of owning a product, it will be down to you to prove the fault is inherent or was present at the time of purchase, so it might be easier to claim on your warranty or guarantee.
Report to Trading Standards – If you continue to face issues, or think the retailer is stopping you from using your consumer rights, you can report it to Trading Standards.