PC World…worst store ever

Well there’s a leading title statement. However it’s true in my experience. And if you dislike rants stop reading now and go and watch Tele tubbies or something. 

The All-in-one Lenovo C20 computer bought from PCworld/CurrysI bought a computer from PC World / Currys back in mid February. It was always designed as a backup PC after the carry on I had in Venice a couple of years ago. It’s a Lenovo C20 which has a 19.5 inch screen, Pentium processor and only 4 gig of RAM despite running Windows 10. It was a relatively cheap machine at £350 but the thing I liked was that instead of the 6 amps that my monster machine uses, this one only uses about 3 amps. For the time I spend at work I don’t need the big one cos I am just in the work interface, so it will save me loads of power over time. 

The screen isn’t fantastic but the sound is very good and the machine is very light in weight, so all is well and I am chuffed to bits. Until that is the DVD stops working. 

Uh oh…

I’ve actually only used the DVD twice, to copy some DVD’s to the hard drive and now it’s stopped working. Windows doesn’t even recognise it at boot stage so something is terminal about the player. I’m going off to the continent soon so I take it back to PC World at Gateshead’s Team Valley who have a KnowHow desk, where all their tech types work. 

Except they don’t, because far from simply replacing the DVD it has to be sent off to someone who will do it. It won’t be back til Friday grr Never mind as long as I get it back on time that’s fine. Typical though…the backup fails lol

Anyway Friday comes and goes, so does Saturday, and I have an itinerary to keep so I rang them and said “I’m on my way to Cumbria, can the computer be rerouted?”

“Yes of course.” they say “It will arrive by Sunday at the latest.”

Excellent stuff so I set off to see my friend in Cumbria which I always do when I’m heading south. Sunday came and went and no PC. Monday came and went and no PC. I rang them and said “I have to be in Birmingham tomorrow because the van is booked into a garage. Can you re-route it a second time to the store I bought it from in Birmingham?”

“Yes of course.” they replied, “We’ll send you a text when it’s due to be delivered.”

No problem I thought. That’s what I get for thinking…

Know how…know nothing

So I get a text to say the computer has been delivered can I come and pick it up. I go there and it hasn’t been delivered at all. Many phone calls later it turns out it never did turn up at Cumbria, but was re-routed to Newark as that’s the main distribution centre. So someone ‘thought’ it should have been in Birmingham by now but it was probably en-route from Newark still. 

I go away and wait a while and get another text a couple of days later: come and pick your PC up. So I go again and again it isn’t there. Lots of telephone calls by staff and I was on my phone for a couple of hours and it turns out it was never at Newark, it had gone back to Durham distribution centre and was waiting to be delivered down top Birmingham. I was bemused. But apparently the texts are sent by a machine and the machine doesn’t know what’s going on. Or something. But then neither do the staff it seems because at this point neither the store, nor customer services, nor KnowHow know exactly where the computer is.

I was quite irritated and a manager had come down to help deal with it and he said to me “If you would stop jetting around the country and wait for it to catch up with you all this could be avoided.”

I was stunned and explained that I’d waited for it now 3 times and waited at least one day over the date I was given to pick it up in each place. so this could hardly be my fault. I asked then for a refund and he said he was not authorised to give one out, I had to contact customer services. I gave him a piece of my mind and stormed out angry that I was wasting so much time for the sake of a faulty DVD.

It turns out that he lied because refunds are always handled at store level I was told later by customer services.

Leave this store!

Never mind, KnowHow machine knows where it is because it texted me again 2 days later saying it was there, at the same store. So I returned and thankfully the manager wasn’t there (it turns out he wasn’t a manager anyway he was a deputy manager) and I spoke to another deputy manager who said the computer was not there. I started looking around for a video camera in case I was being pranked for Youtube. But no, he was serious.

One of the staff gets on the phone, he gets on the phone, I get on the phone. A half hour later no-one knows where the PC is. I say right, it’s time to re-route it yet again down to Folkstone, which is the nearest store to Dover, as I am catching a ferry in 2 days. 

“No it will be delivered tomorrow I am sure of it.” the deputy manager recites yet again. I am flustered with him and yet again show him all the texts I now have on my phone over the last 2 weeks saying that the computer had been delivered and was ready for pickup. 

“Why should this time be any different?” I asked. Also, I haven’t got time now anyway. I’m getting on a ferry in 2 days. We end up in a row and I call him an incompetent which he is because he refuses to call the store manager to authorise a refund and he is adamant that the delivery will be tomorrow when I’ve been told it will be delivered ‘tomorrow’ for over 2 weeks. He told me to leave the store hahha

I was so angry I faced him squarely and told him I’d leave when I was good and fucking ready to leave. My Ire was high, I was not in proper control, and I saw in his face that he had not a clue what to do so I left the store. 

Customer empowerment

I was so angry, at the fact it was only a damned DVD drive that failed, no-one knew what was going on, staff just weren’t helpful, and KnowHow is clearly atrociously badly organised. I decided to calm down and set off for Dover in the morning. I had no idea what my next step could be. As it happened I telephoned again later that evening and told the whole sorry tale for about the 5th time to another member of customer services who promised to call back. 

Indeed he did call back an hour later and said they had something called Customer Empowerment. It was a scheme devised to help out customers who had experienced service far below the level they should. So, I would be in Dover tomorrow, I could pop into the Folkestone store and pick up a brand new computer to take to the continent with me. It won’t be exactly the same machine as they don’t have any but it will be similar spec and similar money but even if it’s slightly more expensive they’ll let me have it. The manager there has been briefed so it should be a smooth transaction.

Oh and by the way we’re going to refund you £10 for your distress and the diesel you’ve spent driving around shops and the hours of calls you’ve made. I told them to stuff their paltry £10 right up as far as it will go because that’s just insulting, but I was pleased that finally we had a resolution. As if…


So, I pop into the Folkestone store and speak to the manager who knows absolutely nothing about it lol No surprise there really…

He telephones someone about it and gets the details because he said he’d only ever dealt with maybe 3 customer empowerments in his long career with PC World. Sure enough he does not have the Lenovo C20 in, but he does have a few other all-in-ones. The HP was mentioned as being a candidate when the customer service rep spoke to me yesterday. However I can’t have that one I was told as it’s £150 more than the one I’d had.

“What if I pay a little extra? Or maybe we go halfies on the difference?”

“No sorry, I can’t do that, we can’t give discount at store level, there’s so little markup on PC’s as it is.”

I looked at him a little stunned and said “What about customer empowerment???”

He simply stared at the desk and said all he could do was refund me the original purchase price and that despite customer empowerment the store retained authority to make their own decision about what to do. (The deputy manager of Birmingham WAS lying then!) He wasn’t going to budge on this, so I gave my card and got my money back. First thing in the morning I go away still without a backup computer, but not for the want of trying.

You might recall when I had trouble with PC World in Inverness, quite what possessed me to go back again I don’t know but  PC World and Currys are now anathema to me and I will not even look through their windows let alone buy from them.

Ohhhh Driver heaven!

I can’t quite believe it but…I’ve fixed my computer!

I’ve been trying to fix the driver problem on my computer for almost a week now. I’ve failed at every attempt although I’m not entirely sure why as it’s a pretty straightforward process. I was starting to run out of ideas though but I have loads of useful programs downloaded over the years and I was looking through them when I found one called DriverMax. It is from 2003 so it’s ancient in terms of computers but nevertheless I installed and ran it. However after scanning my computer it tried to go to it’s online database then crashed. Out of curiosity I checked and they do have a website still and there is still a driver program on there and it is still free!

So I downloaded the new one installed it and scanned and sure enough there was my network card. The one that has been giving me grief for nearly a week.

I clicked the download link and it installed the driver it had found for the network card and suddenly, in the window I had open of device manager, the network card began to operate.

With baited breath I unplugged the phone, turned on the wireless hotspot and waited…suddenly there it was…LIFE! Well, INTERNET anyway lol but WIRELESS internet!!
I am truly overjoyed lol

If anyone has a driver problem you’d best start here…

Movie night

Been working all day trying to get this computer sorted but nothing I do can fix it yet. Not known anything like this in my 35 years of messing with computers.
So I’m settling down with a movie called Wild with Reece Witherspoon. I know nothing about it except she’s a hiker.

A salad sarnie, a movie and a JD. Life’s simple pleasures eh?

Computer out of repair

I rang PC Specialist today and they said there was an option in the BIOS to disable the screen and this had been checked. I have never been into this BIOS so I don’t understand how that could possibly have happened. Anyway they have it on stress test and I can pick it up tomorrow.
Except I have booked the van in tomorrow at Gateshead for 7 am to get all the brakes replaced! It’s their company policy to not let machines go out without a thorough stress test but I persuaded them to let me have it and finally I picked it up about 15:30 and headed up north.

The first thing I did when I got parked was go into the BIOS, and work out what keystrokes I’d need to enable the screen in case that problem occurred again. I’ve never heard of a switch like that and have not a clue how it could have been changed. However it’s all done now so let’s hope it behaves.

Computer in for repair.

I docked at 11 am on Monday UK time and rang work and they agreed I could book the week in as holidays, and let them know if I got sorted before the end of the week.

I then set straight off to Wakefield where PC Specialist are based. I rang them on the way and explained and was pleased to hear they’re open til 20:30 now so there was no rush. I got there for about 2 pm anyway and handed the computer in. They said if it needed a new screen it could take 2 weeks, so I set off for Oldham where there is an Argos and a PC World. I had to get a backup computer.

I saw some lovely Lenovo all-in-one’s and checked their power usage and they would work in the van and the price was very favourable in comparison to the one I got from PC Specialist. However for various reasons I decided to wait on getting a back up. I found a nice place to park up for the night with stunning views and I couldn’t help but feel glad it was cool again instead of the 37 degrees in Italy. 🙂

Avant kicks Opera’s butt

I’ve been using Opera browser now for about 20 years or so. I’ve never liked Internet Explorer, Netscape was awful, I can not get used to Firefox and it often has lots of bugs and problems, and Chrome is just plain nasty. So I was amazed last year when Opera said they had done a study and no users wished to have bookmarks! What!? Bollox! Everyone I know uses bookmarks, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t! Now one of the main things I like about Opera is their speed dial. It’s a page where you have small thumbnails of your most used websites. Click on one to open it, so it’s just like a quick and pictorial bookmarks of your favourite sites.

So I set off looking for a replacement and that had to have similar features. I found two possibles that I’m trying now. Midori and Avant, they’re both free. Midori 

A screenshot of Midori browser
Midori browser

as you can see in the screenshot here  has the speed dial page, although it is not customisable as Opera’s is. The resolution is not great so it looks blurred too, which kind of sums Midori up for me, it sort of feels ‘blurred’, or half done. As if they forgot to finish it off. Despite them saying on their website that it is blazing fast it’s not, in fact it’s very slow, so it’s second choice at the moment.

A screenshot of Avant browser
Avant browser

Avantbrowser is the other and instantly the speed dial, which holds 5 instead of three columns looks better. The whole browser feels better and it is quite fast. It’s brilliant for video playback and has a button to easily download any video you’re watching. It’s got ad blocker as Opera had and you can also quickly zoom the page in and out if you wish.  Like anything new I have to get used to it but I’m liking it already so I’m moving over to trying to use it all the time now.

It feels odd not using Opera after so many years, almost since I started using computers regularly but hey, it can’t be worse than divorce can it? haha