Some high-street PC repair shops are misdiagnosing basic computer problems and overcharging consumers for easy repairs as a result, reveals a Computing Which? report.
Experts introduced simple faults to PCs and fieldworkers took them to 20 computer repairers – seven branches of PC World and 13 independents.
Prices to fix a loose cable ranged from #10 to #139 and researchers were charged from #20 to #260 to fix a simple software problem.
PC World performed particularly badly. At one store, after misdiagnosing the simple software problem, Computing Which? researchers were informed a repair would cost #350 and instead staff advised them to buy a completely new computer.
On six occasions branches of PC World refused to even look at a PC because the computer wasn’t returned with a boxed copy of Windows or a recovery disc – neither of which were necessary to fix either fault.
Some retailers were also found to cut corners by reinstalling Windows instead of finding the source of the fault. If this happens, consumers not only have to pay for new copies of Windows and its installation, but lose any data that hasn’t been backed up.
Despite poor results in some of the independent repair shops, the majority provided good repairs, lower costs and impressive service – some shops even helped to carry the mended computers to the researchers’ cars.
Abigail Waraker, editor, Computing Which? magazine, said: "Consumers rely on PC repair shops to solve a problem and to do so at a fair price. It is shocking that simple problems, such as a loose cable, can be misdiagnosed and stores are getting away with charging for their mistakes.
"PC World is the only big chain that repairs PCs it didn’t sell, making it the first port of call for many PC owners. We think that they should overhaul their training – they could learn a lot from independent retailers."