Product Type: other in Misc Systems
Newest Review: ... that my Monitor was not in stock, but the Desktop tower was, so I then thought fine. Another week passes and nothing again. I check my... more
Member Name: TheGoodSurveyer
Date: 06/08/12, updated on 19/08/12 (270 review reads)
Advantages: Wide product range, reliable quality pakages.
Disadvantages: Expensive, technically incompetant.
:::::::::::::::::::: [ SHOPPING AT PC WORLD ] ::::::::::::::::::::
=== The Store ===
PC World is a computer store, which has grown over the years. Ten years ago it was only possible finding one store in the local region, now there are three or four stores within just a few miles of each other. They sell pre-made personal computer packages, computer tools, cleaning equipment and spare components. They have a separate section for used components, which they sell at a very slightly reduced price. They also sell a large variety of software, huge compared to many other stores. Their software includes operating systems, application packages, utilities, system tools, education packages and games. They also sell entertainment media such as movies on DVD and Blu-ray.
PC World sells some good quality and genuine products. I purchased a printer from them a number of years ago, which functions almost as good as new, even after all those years. In my experience PC World has also offered recycling for old inks. The inks are recycled by a third party, but you can place them in the envelopes and boxes provided. This service is standard with companies selling printer ink cartridges.
=== Advantages ===
Although there aren't many advantages to shopping at PC World, due to high quality and lower cost online computer stores in general, sometimes PC World offers competitive prices on certain items. An example is a HP printer I bought several years ago, which was ten pounds cheaper at PC World than any online store I knew at the time.
Another advantage of shopping directly from the store is that you can see exactly what you're purchasing, so there's no chance of receiving the wrong product. That is unless you have it delivered, in which case its possible for a mix up to occur. If all goes well, a home order should arrive within a few weeks. Shopping online can also result in receiving the wrong item, but you can collect in store at PC World; this saves from a lot of potential hassle. Purchasing in store also allows you to take a look at the actual product, so you can have a better idea of what you're paying for.
There's a section of used components, where you can sometimes find things in good condition. I bought RAM and CPU thermal compound (also known as thermal paste) from there. The RAM was used, but the thermal compound was getting quite old, so they placed it in the used section.
Every PC World store I've been to has free parking, which is an advantage if you drive. The store is open seven days, and has long opening hours. It's even open on Sundays.
=== Disadvantages ===
One of the greatest disadvantages of shopping at PC World is the hardware, which is mostly low grade and expensive. Buying pre-made packages is a better option when you need quality, but the store prices don't come even close to the competitive prices found at the alternative online stores. I bought a PC from there twelve to thirteen years ago, which was supposed to be very powerful for its time. A few months later I got more RAM for the computer, and bought a CD-RW drive.
The CD drive was supposed to be brand new, but upon opening the package, I saw a slightly cracked front bezel. I decided to connect the drive to that computer anyway, and switched the computer on. After logging into the computer, I found there was a CD in the drive. It appeared a technician may have been creating a backup of a customer's PC data onto the drive. The burn process failed, and they forgot to remove the CD before selling the drive. They must've been in quite a hurry repackaging the drive, so they ended up cracking the bezel. It turned out my theory wasn't entirely accurate, although they were trying to backup customer's data before wiping a computer. The drive wouldn't open, so I kept pressing the eject button every few seconds for a short while. I then shut down the computer and opened the CD drive with a paperclip.
I returned the CD drive to PC World. They refused to give a refund, but they agreed to exchange the drive. The exchange process took about half an hour; I explained the problem, and they took the CD drive and their CD. They told me their drives are normally brand new, completely unused, and this was a one off. Whenever shopping at PC World after that, I only ever bought components from the used section. The drive I got in exchange is still connected to that old computer, and it works properly.
I still visit PC World if I need to buy something, and don't want to wait for longer home delivery times. The workers sometimes want to help me find what system, device or component I should buy. This is a huge disadvantage, because most of them seem to know close to nothing about computers, so when they offer to help; they end up wasting my time.
I wanted to buy a USB3 express-card (54mm) for my notebook (details about the notebook can be found in my review on Acer Aspire 5920G). A PC World customer service worker wanted to help me find just what he thought I was looking for. I wanted a USB3 express-card 54, and he wanted to sell me a PCI express graphics card. He informed me that I can run USB games on this graphics card, so I have nothing to worry about.
:::::::::::::::::::: [ PCWORLD.CO.UK ] ::::::::::::::::::::
Although my review is mainly of the PC Store, they do have a website (pcworld.co.uk). The reason I haven't reviewed the website is, although I've shopped on the website, the general products are services are identical. To review the website would have much overlapping information. The website review would also have much technical web related content reviewed, which if done inside this review would make it too long. Besides, this review is about the PC World Store, not the website. It's useful to know they have a website, so I've mentioned it.
:::::::::::::::::::: [ PC WORLD TECHNICAL SUPPORT ] ::::::::::::::::::::
=== Warranty ===
Whatever you buy from PC World, they try to sell you extended warranty. Even if you don't buy anything, they never forget to mention their extended warranty. This is what happened when I wanted to buy a USB3 express-card; they wanted to sell me extended warranty with a graphics card. Any attempt at explaining to them that a notebook express-card isn't the same as a PCI express graphics card, was unsuccessful; they insisted they had the correct component with the right extended warranty package.
After a few minutes (that seemed like hours) of trying to explain what the difference is between the two card types, and that I had no interest in purchasing extended warranty, I decided I'm better off buying the component online.
I had a default (free) warranty with the computer package from PC World, and I had the default warranty with other devices I purchased.
=== Phone based Technical Support ===
I had a technical fault on the PC within a few weeks of purchase, which was still covered by warranty. Fixing the fault myself would have resulted in the warranty becoming void, so I contacted PC World. They gave me a very expensive phone number to call, which was about one pound per minute, and to make things worse; the phone technical support took very long breaks during the phone call.
Every minute or so, they kept saying "hold on, I'll check this for you". After keeping me on the phone for about an hour, the technical support agent told me that I'll just have to fix it myself, and this will void the warranty. I was told that I could take it into one of their stores, which could cost me a huge amount of money, but it wouldn't void the warranty. The total call cost came to about fifty pounds.
=== In Store Technical Support ===
I decided to take the PC to the store I purchased it from, and I described the problem. The problem was with the hard drive, the optical drive and the computer's memory. The hard drive fault was the easiest to fix using a free partition manager, the master boot record had to be cleared and the hard drive needed to be repartitioned and formatted. The other components needed replacing.
Technical support said they'll fix it, so I asked them if they knew what the problem was. They said the registry is corrupt, so they have to backup and reinstall the system. Their wrong diagnosis was a bit worrying, so to avoid further problems I bought the replacement components and fixed the problem myself. I had to exchange the replacement CD drive, which was damaged. Other than that, all went well.
:::::::::::::::::::: [ CONCLUSION ] ::::::::::::::::::::
=== Additional Information ===
Before giving my verdict, I'd like to add a few more examples of what I experienced as a customer of PC World. This will include comparing PC World to other smaller PC stores, and their differences in services and quality.
When it comes to hardware, PC World and all other stores in my local area (which I've visited) know little to nothing about the technical details. I used to assume that most people are aware of the difference between hardware and software, but one event made me less certain. I was at a computer store, where the technician told the customer that there was an operating system fault on the notebook, and he "replaced the operating system chip". I then realised that PC World isn't alone, when it comes to incompetence.
There was a time when I needed to replace a monitor back-light for a friend, so I called PC World. I asked if they sold monitor back-lights, to which the customer support advisor replied along the lines of, "monitors have a screen, why do you need lights?" I repeated the question, this time asking if they have mercury or CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) lamps. He thought it was funny that I had this idea of monitors containing light tubes, and he kept insisting that monitors only have a screen, and they don't have lights. I thought there's no point arguing, because if they sold them at their store; he would have believed in their existence.
I phoned two other stores. One of them told me to come into the store to purchase it, and they told me it costs ten pounds. I went to the store, but it turned out they were selling table lamps. I asked how they expect me to use a table lamp for a PC monitor, they said everyone uses them. The other store I asked gave a more useful response, although they don't sell CCFL lamps, they knew where I could get them. They gave me a phone number, which I contacted, got an order placed, got the lamps and repaired the monitor. It turned out the same supplier supplies components to PC World.
=== My Conclusion ===
Shopping at PC World has always been an interesting experience, even though not always a good experience in terms of customer service or technical competence. I sometimes wonder how some of their technical support worker managed to get a job there, even though they know little to nothing about computers. Maybe this helps the company make some extra money, because when a customer brings a PC for repair; it'll need replacing once the technical team have repaired it.
Majority of my buying experience with PC World has been quite good, mainly due to the fact that they don't sell counterfeit products, nor do they intentionally sell any devices which may cause harm to your computer. This can't be said about all other stores, although most sellers provide a moderately honest service, there are one or two that don't. At PC World, the only time the customer is deliberately getting robbed is when the customer has to make a very expensive phone call to the technical support team.
I give PC World a three star rating, because they have reliable products, a moderately reliable service, parking facilities and long opening hours. Had they not fulfilled some of these criteria, the ratings would have been considerably lower.
I believe PC World is a good store for purchasing a decent quality PC package, and the prices are becoming more acceptable. The store has high quality printers and scanners, which I've never experienced any major problem with.
Summary: Good store, worth buying from, but avoid the technical team.