Questions of Cash – September 2013

Q. I bought a Sony Alpha A58 camera on 29 August from Curry’s.  On 8 September whilst using the camera, the built-in flash malfunctioned. It seemed to me that a part of the plastic mechanism inside had sheared off. The built-in flash had worked correctly up to that point, although I did notice that once or twice it seemed to ‘catch’ when I closed it. This time something more drastic happened and it could not be closed at all.  When I took the camera back to the store the staff insisted that the camera body would have to be sent away for inspection. I explained very clearly that while in my possession the camera had not been knocked or otherwise misused in any way that could have caused this fault to develop. It has been kept in a well padded camera case and has not been out of my possession since I bought it. No one but me has used it.  Staff at the shop made it clear that they were suspicious about this and basically did not believe me.  I am frankly outraged at this treatment. I am a highly respected professional, I have had high level security clearance and I am not in the habit of lying. However this camera was damaged, it was not of my doing and I resent the implication that it was. As it was initially working, my suspicion is it was somehow damaged previously in a way that the built-in flash mechanism was weakened but did not immediately cause the parts to break. It was only when it started to be used that they deteriorated and broke. This would also explain the slight ‘hitches’ I felt when closing the flash.  I do not accept liability for this damage and want either the camera repaired or replaced as soon as possible. CT, Manchester.


A.  We have been in regular contact with yourself and Curry’s for several days and the matter is now satisfactorily resolved.  You have been vindicated and the inspection by Sony found a manufacturing fault.  You are being given a replacement camera.  A spokesman for Curry’s says: “A manufacturing fault has been confirmed following thorough investigation by our partners at Sony and we are therefore happy to organise a replacement immediately.”  Although you are very unhappy with the way Curry’s have handled your complaint, the retailer believes that it resolved the problem within the timescale it promised you.  However, there were difficulties caused by customer services giving you different information to that provided by them to us, via the company’s press office.  Despite this, we appreciate Curry’s assistance in resolving this.


Q.  On 1 August I handed in a computer to Curry’s/PC World for repair and to install Norton anti-virus software.  The next day I was phoned to say that the computer was ready for collection.  But as soon as I saw the computer in the store I knew that this was not mine and was not the computer I had left for repair.  The Microsoft Office Suite of programmes had been removed; my Windows 2012 had been removed and replaced with Windows 2009; the computer did not work; and the computer would not log onto to wifi.  It effectively was a complete piece of junk. It looked old, the operation was very slow and the battery did not hold a charge. This was clearly not a new computer, as was the one that I had brought in for repair. When I took the computer back into the store the staff agreed that it looked old and that the wear on the disc drive and in the charging port appeared several years old.  I was promised that Curry’s would investigate this and sort out the problem.  I have since visited the store five times.   I have a piece of junk that does not belong to me and does not work.  I am distressed and surprised by my experience.  I do not understand why this has not been recorded as a complaint by Curry’s customer services department. When are Curry’s going to either find and return my computer, or else replace the one that they lost?  PK, Lancashire.


A.  We are sympathetic to your complaint, but there may be alternative explanations for different software now being installed and the wifi not working than the wrong computer being returned.  We have been keen to fully investigate this matter, but we have been unable to complete our enquiries.  A spokesman for Curry’s says: “We are sorry to hear about [the reader’s] issue with his computer. Following initial investigation we have concluded that the unit is the same as that which he took into store. According to our records, there was only one Acer 5750 model in our store clinic between the original dates [the reader] left and then collected his. However, we are as anxious as [the reader] to fully resolve his questions. Therefore we would like to collect the computer, from his home, and deliver it to our National Repair Centre for thorough re-investigation and to attempt to recover the data cleared as result of the factory reset our team originally carried out.”  The investigation would have also compared the model number shown internally in the machine with that on the paperwork from your purchase.  This seemed to us a sensible way forward.  However, you have rejected this proposal.  “I do not want to let PC World have access to the only concrete evidence I have,” you wrote to us. “I will not let them take and remove any evidence from the hard drive and tell me that, NOTHING was found!”  We felt this reaction was unreasonable.  However, we answered asking whether you would instead be willing to pay for an independent inspection and accept the results of this.  You did not respond to this suggestion.  We can only help readers who are reasonable in responding to offers of assistance.  On this occasion we do not believe your response has been reasonable.

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