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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 7:33 pm

Currys/PC World (UK) Voids Warranty on Hardware If Buyer Installs GNU/Linux

200px-PC_World

TODAY I learned something somewhat shocking. A policy which I believed was some kind of controversial fringe policy from way back in the days of Vista is still in place, and it’s in place right here in the UK. Currys/PC World is totally overzealous with its GNU/Linux-hostile policy, which is almost definitely dictated by non-technical management, maybe in collusion with Microsoft.

To start this story from the very beginning, an old desktop of mine died on me and I sought a replacement immediately (within the hour). My wife and I quickly grabbed our stuff and rushed to a nearby computer store. There are not many such stores anymore because Currys pretty much devoured the competition, including Dixons.

So over 3 hours later we are back home and there is still no replacement. We were eager to pay as much as it takes for what we needed, but Currys has an unacceptable policy. Not only does it put Windows (Vista 8) on virtually every machine that’s not “Apple”-branded (there are barebone boxes only for desktop and they’re available online only) but it has an outrageous policy regarding warranty.

As it turns out — and this was confirmed to us by multiple people (in multiple PC World stores) after arguing for more than half an hour — once you install GNU/Linux (even if it’s dual boot with Windows) no damage to hardware would be covered by the warranty (keyboard, screen, and so on). One of the sellers, who follows the Linux Action Show, regretted this but also defended this policy because it’s imposed from above. No matter how ridiculous a policy it is, changes to zeroes and ones on the hard-drive (to remove spyware), according to Currys, would void the warranty on what clearly is not connected to software.

After many chats with colourful language and even car analogies or other such arguments about the separability of hardware and software we decided we just couldn’t do business at PC World. The company is inherently GNU/Linux-hostile. Avoid Currys.

8 Responses to “Currys/PC World (UK) Voids Warranty on Hardware If Buyer Installs GNU/Linux”

  1. Whoever Says:

    Have you asked your local Trading Standards about this?

  2. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Which one would that be in the UK and is this going to be fruitful at all based on past experiences? From what I can gather, complaints in Britain about Microsoft’s abuses rarely bear fruit. I registered some complaints in the US FTC and these were a waste of time.

  3. sam Says:

    Thats what Statutory rights are for http://whatconsumer.co.uk/what-are-my-statutory-rights/ . They trump Warranties and mean you are leagally intitled to a repair, replacement or refund if you are sold a defective item.

  4. Lukasz S. Says:

    Could you recommend a shop “Linux friendly”? I would like to buy a laptop at some point and I will avoid PC World.

  5. T.Lucidity Says:

    Speak to your local Trading Standards – they’re in the phone book. If you can’t find it, call the council and ask. And yes, this can “bear fruit”. The Windows Tax claims fail due to the wording in the Windows EULA (they changed it, remember?) But abuse of your statutory rights? Oh….you’ll make some investigator a very happy bunny.

    Read this: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/sale-of-goods-act

    And possibly contact them as well.

    What Currys can void is their own “extended warranty” as that is over-and-above your statutory rights. However they would have to make the terms of that warranty clear at the time of purchase and you may have claim that they didn’t.

    If you are up for a fight, take them to Small Claims court (this isn’t like a Crown court or anything and fees are minimal – you get those back when you win). Now…was it more that £250? See if you win and Currys don’t pay, you can have the entire empire declared bankrupt. Which would be funny. Or have a debt collector enter the store and seize goods. Which would also be highly amusing.

    As for GNU/Linux friendly places….http://www.pc.co.uk/ is one. Sort of. They don’t officially support it themselves, but they will sell you a laptop/desktop sans OS and have an active community that does provide support.

    Then there’s these lot:
    http://shop.gluglug.org.uk/
    http://www.linux-onlineshop.de/index.php
    http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk/hardware/hardware-laptops.html

    From major OEMs you have Lenovo ThinkPads and then the Dell XPS 13.

    There is no reason to set foot in a Currys store for **anything**!

  6. T.Lucidity Says:

    Apologies for the spam.

    You might be interesting in updating this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_World_%28retailer%29

    And then reading this:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/13/pc_world_linux/

    Maybe punt El Reg a missive?

  7. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    Thanks to my rant, Currys has changed its policy – see update in http://news.softpedia.com/news/Huge-Computer-Retail-Chain-in-UK-Denies-Warranty-If-User-Install-Linux-463177.shtml

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