Small retailers have slammed Microsoft’s repairs policy and have claimed it is affecting their bottom lines as it forces scrupulous traders to turn away business.
Trade body ITACS has also blasted those repairing laptops without a Microsoft licence number. Until recently, independent retailers had little trouble carrying out repairs, if they had a licence number.
But, since the launch of Vista, increasingly licence numbers on the certificate of authenticity (COA) stickers fade or peel off. This forces traders to send customers to the system manufacturer for repairs.
ITACS claims repair revenue now accounts for about half of members’ business, as laptop prices fall and the recession eats into sales.
Richard Dix, technical director of Norfolk-based Positive Computing, claimed this could hit struggling PC shops hard. He said if repair revenue disappeared he “would probably look for something else to do”.
He added: “There are a lot of customers who bring machines in here who are upset if they have to go back to the manufacturer.”
The trade body also indicated that many unscrupulous traders continue to carry out repairs, regardless of the presence of a licence number.
An ITACS representative said that Microsoft has not been helpful. “We have tried to enter dialogue with it and it is not interested,” he said.
Alison Dodd, OEM senior director for Microsoft UK, said end users were best served by dealing with the manufacturer directly.
“Issues may be the result of a conflict between the software/hardware configuration and drivers, and as a result the manufacturer is best placed to fix the problem quickly.”
ITACS is appealing for retailers to send photographic evidence of damaged COA stickers, along with the age and brand of the computer, to [email protected]. The body stated it hopes to instigate a "realistic dialogue" with Microsoft.
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