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Currys PC World accused of delaying refunds on faulty products

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The electrical retailer’s customers are facing an uphill battle for refunds and replacements for faulty products, leaving many out-of-pocket and with worthless high-value products, according to Which?

Currys PC World customers have told Which? how customer service at the retailer has hit rock bottom in recent months.

Since January, the consumer champion has received more than 1,700 complaints about the electronics retailer – nearly 10% of all complaints Which? has received about faulty goods.

About 1,500 disgruntled customers have also joined a Facebook group called ‘Currys PC World – where’s my refund’, with about 50 to 150 people 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 a product doesn’t satisfy any of these three criteria, it can be viewed 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.

Alison, an NHS admin worker from Staffordshire, was left washing her uniform in the sink as she battled to get a new washing machine when hers started leaking in March.

Currys PC World advised Alison to contact the manufacturer to confirm the fault in the appliance. Despite multiple engineer visits and attempts to repair the leak, Alison continued to experience issues with the machine.

Currys PC World has since apologised to Alison for her experience and the manufacturer’s delay in confirming the fault. It has since removed the faulty machine and delivered a new one in November.

An IT student told Which? they missed the start of their second year of studies when Currys PC World wrote off their laptop but promised to send vouchers to purchase a new one.

The customer had been paying £9.30 monthly for a care plan with a seven-day fix promise, however the vouchers failed to materialise within seven days and only arrived six weeks later.

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.

Currys PC World customers struggling to get a refund or replacement for a faulty item should make sure they are aware of their rights when approaching the retailer.

If the fault is detected within 30 days, customers are entitled to ask for a full refund, or a repair or replacement. After 30 days, customers are entitled to a repair or replacement. If the retailer can’t fulfil a suitable repair or replacement, customers can then ask for a refund. If customers are within six months of purchasing the item this should be a full refund.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “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.”

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.”