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I was just about to commit to purchasing a £550 desktop PC and just in case did an additional search for feedback on my selected supplier.
Result: a series of, pretty serious negatives, and similarly another series of glowing recommendations but little inbetween. These are the reviews I look to as they often tell you a hell of a lot more and particularly how the company handles faults/complaints.
I won't order from places on eBay/Amazon etc if I don't like the feedback attitude of the seller in dealing with problems even when the buyer is clearly an idiot. I look for a professional, quick, mature, reasoned and fair response under all circumstances.
Problem is that this suspicious lack of middle ground feedback reviews seems to be true of all the other PC builder/suppliers I have been looking at too. Buyers have had either apparently appalling service or been ecstatically happy.
So who can really be trusted to provide a professional service and, of course, do a good job out of the builders/suppliers whose machines are regularly reviewed in magazines like PC Advisor? I really need to know who to choose out of the usual suspect ie. Palicomp, Eclipse, PC Specialist, Chillblast, Dino,(new)Mesh etc or if there are any other alternative recommendations.
There is a few on your list that I would not choose from.Remember PCA only review the PC and not the company.
Novatech mentioned above has always been rated very good by most of its customers.
Amazon and E-buyer give you free delivery and John lewis you usually get a 2 year warranty.
My Dad bought a Chillblast budget desktop 2 or 3 months ago and is extremely happy with it (although he certainly isn't what you'd call a power user). He was also impressed by their pre-sales helpfulness and ordering efficiency.
That being the case, and since my 8-year old Evesham desktop is just about to drop dead, I'll probably be giving them a try for my next PC.
As far as your list is concerned,I'd search here to find out what forum members have said about PC Specialist! Mesh always had a reputation for giving you a lot of bang for your bucks but severe grief if you need hardware support. However, there hasn't been a 'Mesh moan' here for a long time.
You tend to find that most consumer's will give comments regarding complaints of a product, but very few will give regular praised, because basically they are happy and have nothing to comment about. That's seems to be human nature!.
I use to be a regular purchaser of Dell products, mainly based on Dell's world-wide acceptance by commercial and private users. But it only took a couple of 'bad' experiences with Dell sales, that changed my view on that company.
Ebuyer are another retailer that I use on a regular basis, as are Amazon, both Amazon direct and MarketPlace. And again, I can only gove praise for the services received, similar for Novatech and many others.
The only real point that I would make, is whoever you buy from, do so, by using a credit card, computer or product finance package, and that should then give you third party insurance in the fact that you would have Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act in your favour perhaps!.
I notice that some websites that allow customer reviews, are introducing Pro and Con into the listings, and this can be very helpful, before considering making that purchase, because it then allows a more 'middle of the road' approach.
What as already been mentioned, I find it hard to believe that computer magazines cannot add 'customer service' into their reviews on a product. But then again, I recall the days when PC World sold computer magazines in their stores, and stopped doing so, because of a batch of bad reviews at that time!.
I don't think Mesh are in production any more.I believe that they went into liquidation but not 100% sure.
I am talking about specialist PC builders/suppliers here not retailers. Some of the companies I listed do or did sell via eBay though but for what is essentially a custom built desktop you really have to deal direct.
Mesh have been recently resurrected but despite the fact their magazine adverts look very similar it is essentially a new company. Dare I mention it here but Computer Shopper recently made them change certain parts of their advertising which referenced their history of PC building because of this.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I'll certainly have a look at Novatech so thanks specifically for that suggestion too.
What I'd really like to know [b]buteman[/b] is just which of those suppliers/builders you wouldn't use and, of course, why? That's just the sort of information I'm looking for.
You just have to look up customer reviews for them.
I have personally never used any of them I usually just buy from Amazon or E-Buyer but got my last one from Aldi so after that will stick to my first two.
Normally I always check customer reviews before I buy anything just like you are doing just now.
I am sure you will get some more good reccomendations before the day is out.
Best of luck with whatever you buy, remember to come back and let us know how you get on.
By the nature of things, people will always complain loudly when things go wrong, but few will write in to say they have bought a good machine which is working perfectly.
Mesh got an awful reputation for producing rubbish and also for their after sales support. I bought a high end desktop from them about four years ago and it has been faultless.
Every company, at some stage, will produce a dog of a machine. It happens. How they deal with the aftermath is what's important.
That is exactly what the problem was with the complaint I referred to ealier.
The complainant detailed a long list of problems particularly with before and after sales service. The machine he received didn't work out of the box (leads disconnected), had incorrect spec ie. didn't have the upgrades he'd been promised which themselves were alternative substitutions because the company was allegedly out of stock of the items he original ordered. Those that had been fitted were not of equivalent spec or value either. This was just the start of it.
The complaint was so long and detailed you just know the buyer was angry but on the level because of the trouble he was having sorting it out.
I don't want that sort of experience
The contradictions of buyer reviews were exactly what bought be here in the first place. I was just expecting that somebody who buys/reads PC Advisor may have actually bought from one of these regularly featured companies and would have had some direct experiences to share.
In the latest edition of PCA there are good reviews of machines built by Chillblast, PC Specialist, Eclipse and Palicomp, in fact one of them is very similar to the desktop I was going to purchase, albeit with a few upgrades. Does nobody here buy these things and if not, why not? And why doesn't PCA occassionally anonymously buy review machines to test these companies real life performance? Are they scared of discovering that some of these places, many of whom advertise in PCA, aren't always up to the mark?
So I'm still unsure who to go for. Does anyone else have good/bad recent experiences with any of them?
My best suggestion would be to a local dealer, who has been trading for some time and ask for their advice.
Idealy they would like you to buy a custom build machine from them, however if you tell them what you expect from the machine and the price range you are willing to pay, they may be able to do a deal where they build you a machine to your specifications and give a warranty (repairs / servicing) for a fixed period or suggest you go for xxx machine and they will service it for you.
A local trader with a good reputation is less likely to give you a bad deal because they rely on you coming back and telling other people how good they are.
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