Taking legal action against a seller or manufacturer and other considerations
Make sure that you keep the packaging the PC came in if you have a RTB or C&R warranty, because the company providing the service will probably ask you to return it in its original packaging. If you send it back in what that company considers inadequate packaging, it might refuse to do the repairs on the pretext that the PC was in good order and that the damage occurred in transit due to the inadequate packaging. In short, do everything you can to avoid giving the vendor an excuse to call your right into question.
Moreover, remember that monitors often come with separate three-year warranties, so in case your monitor packs in after the first year, it is worthwhile checking if the monitor come with a separate warranty of its own. Most monitors that are purchased separately come with a three-year RTB or on-site warranty, as do hard disk drives.
The downside of buying a brand-name PC
For me, the biggest downside of buying a proprietary make of computer (from a company with a famous brand name such HP, Compaq, Dell, etc.) is that you will not usually be able to choose any of the components, or will only be able to choose from a limited list of components.
The case for building your own PC is growing in your favour all the time. All you have to do is do a bit of reading in computer magazines, or on hardware websites to become knowledgeable about the components of a PC. You will then have at least a year’s guarantee on the individual parts, with three-year warranties for hard disk drives and monitors.
Good advice is never to purchase components such as a monitor or hard disk drive by mail order unless you know what the return policy is. If you purchase a monitor from a local vendor, it will be far easier to return it to a local store. Mail-order companies might make you pay for carriage one or both ways. Not cheap for that much weight, so it would be cheaper to pay the extra amount that a local dealer is likely to charge for a monitor compared to the mail-order price.
Always remember that you should read the conditions of sale and return before you make a purchase – no matter what the source is.
If you want to read up on how to build your own PC on this website click Build. The article contains the links to some other articles on the subject, and you’ll be able to find many more by using a web search engine. Each article will contain information that has been overlooked by the others, so read as many as you can before you attempt to build a PC on your own.
If you prefer a third professional party to do your complaining and obtain redress from businesses and individuals for you, then try signing up with principlematters.com.
Here is how the site describes itself: “The principle does matter and so does compensation. As the UK’s premier complaint handling service, we offer a comprehensive facility that deals with your issue from initial investigation through to resolution. We have a successful track record, down the years, in negotiating more than fair redress.” – principlematters.com
Obtaining redress through the Small Claims Court
There is a limit on the size of claim you can pursue in an action through a Small Claims Court, but it is often within the limit if you are trying to force a computer vendor to restore a computer to proper working order, or even to restore it to the same state it was in when you purchased it, because it is not uncommon for a computer to be sent in for repairs and to be returned in a damaged state – and still not working.
For this reason, it is advisable to have witnesses examine the computer, and then take photographs of the back, front, and inside of the case and monitor (if it is also returned) before you send it in for repairs. It is also a good idea to place small marks on the motherboard, graphics card, and RAM modules, by using, say, Typex, to ensure that the same ones are returned, because it is not uncommon for high-spec cards to be replaced with lower-spec ones by service personnel.
Visit the following pages to check the pre-litigation protocols to see what steps are required to be taken before issuing legal proceedings:
If legal action is being contemplated against a limited company, check to make sure that the company isn’t already in liquidation and obtain confirmation of the company’s registered address:
If legal action is being contemplated against an individual, check to make sure that he or she hasn’t already been declared bankrupt by downloading and completing a K15 Land Charges Search application:
If you want to find out if the defendant has any outstanding county court judgements against his or her name, contact the Registry Trust, 173-175, Cleveland Street, London, W1T 6QR.
You can also find out if an individual owns a particular property. Fly-by-night dealers usually rent property, so if the individual owns the trading property, that’s a good sign that you’ll be able to get your money back. Go here to do that – http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-ownership.
You can use a search engine to find relevant sites in the US and others in the UK.
Sites or webpages of interest
Scams and rip-offs
Registrar of Companies –
The vendor or retailer may have a different company name than its trading name, or may be the subsidiary company of a much larger controlling company. In the UK, to find out what concern you’re dealing with, visit the site of Companies House: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/.
Illegal or unlicensed software
You may have doubts about whether or not a vendor has supplied you with legal, licensed software. If you suspect that you have been supplied with illegal or unlicensed software, you can make enquiries, or report the company concerned to an anti-piracy body such as the one at this site: http://www.bsa.org/.
The UK “Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000” –
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 contains some very useful legislation that governs the rejection or return of goods purchased over the telephone or on the Internet. See it here: