PC World has infuriated rivals Time and Tiny by publicly rubbishing their free and reduced-priced PC offers and subsequently announcing its own discounting scheme three days later.
The PC World offer requires the consumer to sign up to Cable & Wireless for a year when they buy a PC. At the end of the period, the customer receives a cheque for £100, £200 or £300 if their phone bills are above £17, £25 or £42 per month respectively. Alternatively, a discount of up to 43 per cent is offered on national calls, as well as 200 minutes' toll-free internet use.
But the offer has enraged Time and Tiny because it was revealed three days after John Clare, chief executive of Dixons, launched an attack in a national Sunday paper. Clare claimed the average monthly telephone bill was about £10 a month and that "anybody who looks at the detail of the fine print will ask, 'What the hell am I doing being sucked into this?'".
He added: "You will need to make a lot more calls to get to £25 a month and if you don't, you'll still have to pay £25 a month or lose any claim to a free PC."
A spokesman for Tiny said: "It confirms our model but Clare's comments to the press are annoying. And then he completely contradicts what was said by launching a similar offer."
Steve Simpson, marketing director at Time, added: "We're not impressed with the PC World offer at all. It seems that everyone is trying to derive revenue from telephony. I don't think it's a great deal for customers."
Nazir Jessa, managing director of Watford Electronics, said: "There are always going to be costs associated with such an offer - after all, we are in business to make money. I am surprised that PC World has jumped in - the offer doesn't seem to suit its model."
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