Computers are essential tools in our lives, often crammed full of treasured photos, important documents and sensitive personal information.
It can be a nightmare if they go wrong, and losing the data saved on them can be heartbreaking. But it’s fair to expect a professional repair outlet would offer a timely solution for a reasonable price.
Unfortunately, our investigation into laptop repair services revealed huge differences in quality, aptitude and price when we asked repairers to fix laptops we’d ‘broken’.
Laptop reliability – find out which brand topped our Which? member survey
We took a total of 24 Windows laptops and Macbooks that wouldn’t boot up to branches of Apple, Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World and independent repairers in the Brigantia network. We wanted to see how well they could fix our laptops – and what they’d charge to do it. The results were variable, suggesting that the standard of repair is very much in the hands of the individual expert working on it.
Currys and PC World laptop repairs
Currys and PC World’s Knowhow service is arguably one of the best-known high street computer repairers, but we’ve had poor experiences with the Knowhow repair service in the past. Our most recent investigation reveals that there are still inconsistencies in the service offered.
The Knowhow service at Currys and PC World correctly repaired just one laptop out of six, for an expensive £154. A second laptop was repaired for an eye-watering £169.99, but the customer was sold an unnecessary new hard disk and the wrong version of the operating system was reinstalled.
A third laptop wasn’t repaired. The staff said that they couldn’t get the parts, even though spare parts weren’t required, and the customer paid an unnecessary £130 for data to be recovered onto a new hard disk.
We took our findings to Currys and PC World and received this response:
With the small number of deliberate faults Which? has provided, we are disappointed we didn’t provide our usual high levels of service. We repair 8,000 laptops each week, with a 97% success rate, and the overwhelming majority of customers are very satisfied… We will… learn from this to improve our service even further.
None of our MacBooks got fixed. One shopper didn’t have an Apple ID, as the test laptops were bought second-hand, and staff told them it was their policy not to attempt a repair without one. But this wasn’t the case at two other stores, where our shoppers were charged £140 and £150 upfront and staff tried, but failed, to fix the laptops. They did provide a full refund.
Arm yourself with our key questions before getting your laptop or computer repaired, so you know what to expect from the service from the start.
If you end up with a faulty item, or your product develops a fault, you’re entitled to a repair, refund or replacement. Use our template to request a refund from a retailer.