Questions of Cash: PC World tried to blame my son's faulty laptop on 'liquid damage'


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The Independent Online

Q. I bought three identical Acer V3 laptops from PC World to give as Christmas presents to my triplet sons. But when they opened them only two of the laptops worked. I took the third, faulty, laptop to my local PC World store in Newbury on 26 December.

The store described the problem on the repair docket as "blooming" on the screen. PC World decided there was "liquid damage" that could not have happened before the laptop was unpacked and it should be returned to me unrepaired. The inference was it was "damaged" by "liquid" by us. I was invited to have the laptop inspected by an independent engineer, but when I went to collect the laptop from the store it was not there. It was still at a PC World workshop. IM, Newbury.

A. Initially PC World insisted to us its diagnosis was correct. But it agreed if an independent engineer confirmed your explanation the laptop was not damaged by you and there had been a manufacturing fault, it would replace the faulty laptop and cover the cost of the engineer's report.

The report you commissioned concluded: "The problem with the display is known as 'clouding' or 'Mura'... Mura appears to be a manufacturing fault in the display panel. Display panels with this fault cannot be repaired and must be replaced... In my opinion the technical staff at PC World should have recognised a known fault and the laptop should be replaced as it was faulty when they sold it to you."

PC World has accepted this report and agreed to cover its £72 cost. It is also providing you with a replacement model that is of a higher specification than the faulty laptop as PC World says the model you bought is no longer available.


Q. I applied for a mortgage through a broker, who applied on my behalf in November 2013 to the Hanley Economic Building Society for a two-year fixed term mortgage at 2.59 per cent. I have now, in February 2014, received a new mortgage offer. I see my existing fixed term mortgage ends in October 2015, which means I will be making only 19 monthly payments at 2.59 per cent. I will be losing five months of my fixed rate mortgage. I spoke to the Hanley Economic Building Society, which said this is just the way it is and I should accept the new offer. PU, West Midlands.

A. The issue here is about the definition of a "two-year fixed rate mortgage". Rob Hassall, business development manager of the Hanley Economic Building Society explains: "The term 'two-year fixed rate' is commonly used to describe the classification of term for a fixed rate product. In our experience, consumers will ask for a two, three or five year fixed rate as a general rule, rather than asking for something fixed until a specific end date.

In [the reader's] case he received advice from a third party mortgage broker who refers mortgage business to Hanley Economic Building Society (HEBS). I am sure he [would have explained] that some 'two-year fixed rates' are actually to a fixed date and not from starting from the account inception.

When the customer decides to proceed he is issued a Key Facts Illustration generated by HEBS, which will detail the product features including number of payments, monthly cost, length of term and what happens after the initial fixed rate period. The customer is then issued a Key Facts Offer, which confirms the items within the KFI." We offered to take the matter up with your broker but you did not respond.


Q. I was approached in June 2013 by Lingo Service Translations to provide urgent translations of educational documents into Welsh. I duly obliged. However, the company, despite promises, has not paid me the billed £365 28. Email requests have gone unanswered. HW, Wales.

Q. In June 2013, I was asked by Lingo Service Translations to translate documents into Welsh. The first payment of £504.40 was made in August 2013. I'm still waiting for the second payment. I phoned Lingo and emailed them but had no replies. In January I was asked to translate more documents and I told them they still owed me £176.36. I had an apology and a promise of payment but have not been paid. GJ, Wales.

A. We contacted Lingo Service Translations after being contacted by the reader HW, and received a reply explaining the other translators working on this project were paid several months ago and HW's invoice was unpaid due to delays in his billing. We were promised a payment within two weeks. HW tells us he has still not been paid. We were then contacted by GJ and contacted Lingo again. We have not had a reply and we understand you both have still not been paid. We suggest you issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court against Lingo.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at:

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