Consumer rights on software upgrades

  sarahh 17:27 16 May 03
Locked

Hi, I have bought a new laptop. It has windows XP home edition. I have a legal copy of windows XP pro and tried to upgrade the same day as I bought the computer. The computer crashed and failed to run either copies. I took the computer back, it was remastered, I have not reloaded XP Pro again. I am still getting fatal disc error messages and virtual memory problems. PC World will not give me a refund or swap it for a new computer. What are my rights? Also, what are my rights when I use legal software to upgrade a version of something and it doesn't work?

Thanks

  Valvegrid 17:34 16 May 03

It is not of merchantable quality, in other words it doesn’t work as it's designed to. Do not accept a repair, take it back to the vendor and ask for your money back. If they refuse take up with you local trading standards office.

Paul

  sarahh 10:28 17 May 03

Thanks for your repsonse Paul. As this was the second time I had returned it, after they had remastered it I called Trading Standards. They said if PC World showed there was no fault but I kept getting fatal and serious error messages then I had to take it to an independant to get it checked. If it came to a stalemate and I said it was faulty and PC World said it was not I had to take it to the County Courts.

I was quite surprised at this as there seems to be no acceptance of a PC being faulty if the diagnostics say it is not, even if I get these error messaages.

The PC is a 60 GB, 512 MB RAM, 2.3 GHz etc etc and I have done far less with it than either any of the computers I have used with various employers of my own 3 year old 8GB, 256MB RAM (upgraded), 750MHz PC. Yet I am getting the most serious error messages I have ever had! Including 'recovering from fatal disc error' on start up when the PC has been shut down correctly.

I am also concerned about my, and anyone elses rights when they take a PC from a shop. PC World are saying it was fine when it left the shop, they don't know what I've done to it and I could have broken it. If the problem is software elated, regardless of if I have not loaded any further software, this is my problem now. Furthermore they wash their hands of using legal copies of upgrading software that is compatible with the software the computer comes with (ie MS Win XP Home to MS Win XP Pro).

Are we really this vunerable when we a) buy a PC
b) use legal, compatible software to upgrade?

Thanks

  Patr100 12:22 17 May 03

Unfortunately in practice the original vendor of a PC cannot be held responsible for any software updates or installations whether deemed compatible or not. Your warranty will only affect the hardware as orignally provided and the recovery process is supposed to return the laptop to factory settings. Where there is dispute about whether there is a software/hardware fault, I am afraid you are likely to have to to pursue it with an independent source and the CC.

  sarahh 17:13 17 May 03

This is totally depressing. I now have a 60GB, 512 MB RAM, 2.3GHz, £1800 footstool. It wouldn't even let me set up an internet connection this afternoon (it has worked this morning).

I know for sure that I will never buy anything again from PC World. I wonder how many people feel this way and how much business PC World loose?

  woodchip 17:21 17 May 03

Try running Scandisk to see if it finds any errors on the drive

  Forum Editor 17:30 17 May 03

1. When did you buy the computer?

2. Did you activate the installation of WinXP home when you first used the machine?

3. Did it (the computer) work properly before you attempted to install XP Pro?

4. Is the XP Pro version the full one or the upgrade?

If the machine was faulty when purchased you are entitled to a full refund, or another computer - there's no debate about that, but......

It's rare for a laptop to fail like this, and you say that you took the computer back to PC World where it was "remastered". I assume that this means the copy of XP Home was re-installed, and presumably the computer was working OK when you collected it - did you see it working in the store?

If PC World have tested the machine and have found no fault, Trading Standards are correct - you'll have to take it to an independent tester to have its condition verified.

  sarahh 15:29 18 May 03

Thanks for the advise. I did run scan disk twice and checked the autofix on any errors.

In answer to your questions:

When did you buy the computer? 07 May 2003

2. Did you activate the installation of WinXP home when you first used the machine? No, there was no prompt to activate - wouldn't it have been activated already?

3. Did it (the computer) work properly before you attempted to install XP Pro? The first thing i did was to upgrade to XP Pro. I probably should have tested it first.

4. Is the XP Pro version the full one or the upgrade? It has both but I used the upgrade.

It's rare for a laptop to fail like this, and you say that you took the computer back to PC World where it was "remastered". Remastering is the word they used. I assume they used product recovery disks?

I assume that this means the copy of XP Home was re-installed, Yes.

and presumably the computer was working OK when you collected it. I did get an internet connection but that failed later. In fact the internet connection wizard took me from step 1 through to closing it, with no options. I couldn't set up a new connection and the one I set up 'disappeared'.

- did you see it working in the store?
No.

PC World phoned this morning to say that they found that the modem didn't work. Would this ripple through programs and cause them to fail and give me error messages?

I am going to get a refund and buy a Sony instead of a Toshiba, from somewhere other than PC World.

Many thanks for all your help. I am going to ask about post purchase support at the next retailers!

Regards

  Forum Editor 15:59 18 May 03

Have PC World agreed to a refund then?

next time you get a new machine, don't try to install WinXP Pro over the home edition until you've activated it - you'll have problems if you do.

It sounds as if the problem you had when you got the machine back was because of the faulty modem. This can cause a program to produce a system error message if/when it tries to access the Internet, but that's the only time it will happen.

Toshiba laptops are renowned for their reliability, which is why you see them in the hands of so many corporate users. Sony machines are excellent as well, although I sometimes feel you're paying a premium for the name.

Post-purchase support from retailers is governed by law to some extent, and this has recently changed. If goods are discovered to be faulty within six months of the date of purchase it will be assumed that they were faulty at the time of purchase, unless the retailer can show otherwise. In this situation you are entitled to ask the retailer to replace or repair the goods within a reasonable time, and without causing you significant inconvenience - although quite how one defines 'reasonable' and 'significant' would seem to me to be a bit of a nightmare.

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