An undercover operation found that staff at Currys PC World have been giving false warranty information to their customers.
In a letter to Curry’s PC World’s owners, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reprimanded the retailer after a “mystery shopping exercise” in July 2019 found that “some customers may have taken out an extended warranty” without being given accurate information.
The CMA’s investigation discovered that 26 per cent of the staff that were tested gave incorrect information about whether the extended warranty covered cosmetic damage if the product still worked and was safe to use.
In the letter, the CMA said it was concerned that some customers may have taken out an extended warranty, mistakenly believing it would cover cosmetic damage.
In another case, 17 per cent of staff gave customers quotes for products that did not include important information designed to help potential customers decide whether to take out an extended warranty.
The watchdog noted that the percentage of staff giving these inaccurate quotes had also generally been higher in the years prior to the mystery shopping exercise.
In the letter, the CMA made clear that it had raised concerns with Currys PC World previously, and that while the company had agreed to make several improvements - including improved staff training and “enhanced” customer surveys - there were still fears that customers still “may not be receiving the appropriate information” in all the retailer’s stores.
A Curry’s PC World spokesperson said, "We have been actively engaging with the CMA to ensure that the sales process in our stores consistently meets the required standard.”
“As the CMA highlights in its letter to us, we have already taken a number of steps to address their recommendations, and we agree with the CMA’s comment that these actions should lead to benefits for our customers .”
The CMA said it did not consider any formal action necessary, and said it agreed that the “effective implementation” of the retailer’s changes to training and resources “should result in improvements for customers.”
According to the CMA’s advice, extended warranties “are a way of getting extra protection for a new product in addition to the standard warranty. They can cover the cost of repair or replacement.”
They made it clear that:
You don’t have to buy oneYou might be covered anyway through your contents insurance or your bank accountIf you want the peace of mind that extra cover brings, there might be better options than simply buying from the retailer where you bought the product
If you are worried that you might have been mis-sold an extended warranty by a retailer, you can contact Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.
Consumers in Scotland can call Consumer Advice Scot on 0808 164 6000. In Northern Ireland, customers can contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.