The way PC World dealt with our broken laptop just didn’t compute – The Guardian

In September last year my husband and I took our Dell laptop into our local PC World as there was a disc stuck in it and, although it still worked, we wanted the drive fixed.

We gave it to the Knowhow team for a 10-day repair. We signed a document saying we had backed up content but had no reason to believe there was a threat of lost data as the computer worked fine.

We chased them for a month and were told there were delays etc until 15 October, when they rang to confess the computer had been lost.

We urged them to find it. Nine days later, we received a standard letter (starting “sorry that your Dixon’s product was not up to scratch'” so it was not even personalised) with £599 of vouchers for its store saying the case had been closed and that our computer was lost.

We have been trying to get them to formally apologise and reimburse us for the original cost of the computer/ inconvenience/poor service ever since.

Last week they sent a letter saying that if we want the £50 repair cost back we need to return to the store. They also claim they will not pay for the lost software without receipts (but we had sent a receipt for our Microsoft Outlook package and anti-virus software).

Our computer cost us more than £800 and, while I appreciate that these things lose value, we have had a really terrible experience.

All our family photos were on the computer (including the birth of two children) and lots of confidential client information relating to my work.

My energy for the fight is starting to flag but the unapologetic tone of their correspondence and failure for anyone of seniority to take responsibility is still making me very cross! EC, London

Losing an item when it goes into repair is a common fear and it is understandably distressing when – even in this day and age – it happens. The two issues at the heart of your complaint are compensation for the lost machine and an appropriate apology.

Dixons (parent group of PC World) claims to have apologised for losing the machine and it has promised relevant internal investigations to ensure this doesn’t happen again. It has since expressed further apologies for the impersonal nature of the letter/cheque you received.

The company offered £600 in vouchers which, it said, in today’s market would buy you a better spec/performance laptop than your original.

After initially refusing to pay for lost software it has now offered a further £170 of vouchers to cover all software lost – McAfee security software and Microsoft Office – and a further £80 of vouchers as a gesture of goodwill for the distress and inconvenience.

Crucially, you say you did back up all the data stored on the computer. So since our intervention, the company has upped its offer to £850, which should certainly buy you a decent new machine – despite your reluctance to do so through PC World.

Although your complaint has been resolved in terms of adequate compensation, you say your main desire was some kind of recognition of poor service and a gesture to that end.

It’s a shame PC World failed you on this front.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number


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