Which! prove that Currys and Comet haven't got a clue what they're doing

25 January 2011
Some undercover Which! reporters yesterday (artist's impression)

Here at Bitterwallet, we’re completely in awe of the consumer champions over at Which! In a nutshell, they’re everything that we’re not, with their brainpower, guile, and vast resources.

Now they’ve combined all of that and confirmed what most of us strongly suspected – namely that the staff in some of Britain’s biggest tech-selling stores either haven’t got a frigging clue what they’re on about or are pursuing some kind of hidden agenda in an attempt to generate certain sales.

The Which! team donned elaborate disguises (we imagine) and headed into 154 stores armed with questions and a vast, hidden bank of knowledge. They rated a third of those stores as being ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ when it came to staff knowledge, with Currys and Comet rating particularly badly.

Customer service assistants, or ‘team members’ or ‘crew personnel’ or whatever the fuck they call shop staff these days, tried to steer the Which! mystery shoppers towards buying DVD recorders when a PVR would have been more helpful in their fictional quest to record digital telly. The Which! team found that examples of ‘hard selling’ were also in evidence, with our old friend the unnecessary cable looming large.

Thanks to those impressive resources, they were then able to go back into some branches of Currys and Comet and secretly film some of the nonsense that they were faced with as part of their investigation. Which we have lifted and present for you below.

But it isn't all bad news - John Lewis and Richer Sounds scored the highest out of all of the stores visited by the Which! snoops, although the results were hit and miss at times. In fact, out of 154 store visits, only EIGHT were regarded as 'excellent'.

Which! – they’d be perfect if only they would run stories about mad Japanese adverts and footage of mentalists going ape-shit in fast food outlets…


  • Nob
    As usual, it is Which? not Which!
  • Phil
    Wow - what a piece of detective work. Next they'll do a piece on printer ink being to expensive.... If you listen to the rubbish these sales people tell you, your probably already broke anyway from following other bad advise.
  • Alexis
    "As usual, it is Which? not Which!" Not in BW Land. Keep up!
  • Touchwood
    Should there be video here? Just blank for me.
  • Dex
    I wonder if they got release forms/consent to show/release the footage, is it not an invasion of privacy if no consent is given? - Not that i'm trying to side with the slimballs mind you
  • Blank
    Blank for me too.
  • windhoek
    Fear not, the video's available to view @ Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bA7_Xjkfto&feature=mcv
  • Paul S.
    Thanks, avid readers - windhoek's youtube masterpiece now embedded.
  • Matt
    I asked a staff member in Currys about an XBOX Kinect deal which I saw online. The same deal was not in store. I showed him the deal on my phone and he told me to order it online for store pick up/delivery. I asked if they has all bundle items in stock (e.g. sensor, games etc) - they did. I asked what the difference was between me buying it as a bundle in store there and then or reserving it online just to buy it in the same store 5 minutes later - it was NOT a web only offer. Sales staff said I had to do it online. Asked a different member of staff who said the other member of staff didn't have a clue what he was on about and that I could buy it in store - but they had no stock! Clueless
  • Tricky
    On a related note a friend's girlfriend went to pick up a laptop from PC World but on strict advice not to buy into any of their bullshit ie Norton, Office etc. It was just as well because the sales rep tried to tell her that her copy was not compatible with Windows 7 and she would have to buy the latest version. I don't know why anyone shops in the likes of Comet, PC World or Currys. They should have went out of business long ago.
  • Tim
    Problem is, not only are the staff clueless, but so are most the shoppers. End result is most people buy entirely the wrong kit for their needs and are none the wiser until they start using it.
  • Michael
    "taff steered us towards buying cables we simply didn’t need, or towards more expensive cables when cheaper ones would have been just as good." Isn't that a bit like a magazine refusing to let you read an article unless you pay £3.50 a month when they could easily let you do it for free? Up-selling happens everywhere. It isn't necessarily a sign of poor customer service or poorly informed staff.
  • Ross
    @Michael Why would only Welshmen try and sell a cable ?
  • ElBuc
    HAITCH dee em eye
  • Mark H.
    @ Michael Not really fair to compare one company up-selling from a £3 cable to a £70 cable when both fulfil the exact same task to a company charging a subscription so that it can keep running. If they gave their content away for free there would soon be no content. Remember they don't use advertising as they wish to be seen as completely independent. £3.50 a month is very cheap for what you get anyway.
  • Liam
    Having worked for one of the companies, I feel the phrase "haven’t got a clue what they’re doing" is a bit harsh. First, different staff members have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to selling products. If a particular employee has good knowledge of selling white goods for example, then they will strive to improve this knowledge, whilst still aiming to maintain a basic knowledge of other areas. Secondly, trying to learn every detail of every product and trying to give a perfect answer to every customer question is an impossible task. If the customer in the video did a little bit of research, they would know how many hours you can get per gigabyte. Finally, the up-selling debate. In terms of maximising profit, it is far easier to start at the higher end of the price range and work downwards than it is to start cheap, and then try and up-sell. At the and of the day, it's all about profit, and if a customer is happy to pay £100 for a cable then that's up to them. If that customer had done some research, then they would be more capapble of determining if £100 is necessary. Rant over.
    I bought a flatscreen TV from Curry's on 31 December 2010 and paid cash .. £400. When I got it home and unpacked it I found a small crack in the screen and took it straight back. The salesperson told me that they could not exchange it unless it had a mechanical fault. They told me it would have to go in for repair. So I buy a damaged TV set and am charged full price for it and the best that they can do is to offer to repair it. How could I know that the set was damaged until I had unpacked it? I was told that the TV would be repaired and would be back in store within 10 days although it could be up to 28 days. They have my telephone details and said they would call me when its ready to collect. I have called at the store on several occasions about my TV and on 19 January was told that the TV had been repaired and was in the warehouse waiting to be delivered to the store. As of today 29 January 2011 and 2 days over the 28 day limit the store has still not called me and I am fed up with journeying there to be given more excuses. I have also paid for insurance by direct debit and this will be taken out monthly. So I will be paying 2 months insurance for a TV I haven't got. Curry's are by far the worst company I have ever dealt with and I hope they go bust given the current economic climate. I note in the Daily Mail page 5 On Wednesday 26 January 2011 that Curry's came out worst of all the High Street retailers for service. I can confirm that by my own personal experiences with this shoddy firm.
  • Mattyboy
    I agree wholeheartedly with with Mr Hanson. They are by far the worst 'shower of shit' I've ever had the misfortune to deal with. I was left standing around for nearly half an hour in their Lyons Farm Worthing Store waiting to be offered assistance before anyone bothered to come and offer to help me, and all despite twice accosting whot I perceived to be a supervisor who having said she would get someone to assist me, only approached me again some 10 minutes later to ask 'if I was being dealt with' (Retarded or what?!). When I finally received 'assistance' from the little 'snotjockey' I was allocated, he was both unhelpful and borderline rude when I enquired as to whether, as they were part of the same group as Dixons, they could price match their prices. They are by far the worst organisation I have ever dealt with (other than that other total shower of shit 'CarpetShite' (who funnily enough are located right next door - perhaps there's a pattern emerging here?!) - but that's another (long and arduous!) story.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment