Why you can't necessarily call a spade a spade if you got it from Argos or Homebase

30 October 2010


Here's a joke for you...

Q: When is a Qualcast mower not necessarily a Qualcast mower?
A: When it’s bought from Argos or Homebase.

Granted, that wasn’t the funniest joke ever, but then the story behind it isn’t all that funny either. Did you know that if you buy Qualcast or Spear & Jackson gardening products from a Home Retail Group outlet (Argos and Homebase being the main ones), chances are that you’ll get something that wasn’t actually made by Qualcast or Spear & Jackson?

That’s because they’ve licensed their brand names to the Home Retail Group so that Home can use those well-established and well-respected names on a range of their own-brand products. Which to put it politely, is a bit shifty innit?

It gets even more confusing, because Argos and Homebase also stock actual, genuine Qualcast and Spear & Jackson products alongside the own-brand stuff that carries the licensed branding. Erm, okay.

Bosch (owners of Qualcast) told Which! ‘'Our Qualcast cylinder lawnmowers are distinguishable by different packaging, length of warranty period and after-sales service telephone numbers.’ Oh – that’s alright then. Which! say that the packaging looks very similar on all of the Qualcast products so we don’t know what to believe now!

About the Qualcast offering in Argos and Homebase, Which! Gardening! business researcher Jessica O’Leary says: “The only Qualcast mowers that are manufactured by Bosch (Qualcast) are the following cylinder mowers: the Qualcast Concorde 32, the Qualcast Elan 32 and Panther 30 and Panther 380 mowers. Anything else on sale at Argos or Homebase are their own brand products."

As for Spear & Jackson, Jessica informs us that: “All petrol or electric tools bearing the Spear & Jackson logos on sale at Argos or Homebase are own-brand products - ie they are not made by Spear & Jackson. However all Spear & Jackson hand tools on sale at these stores are made by Spear & Jackson.”

So write all of that down on the back of your hand next time you’re out and about and shopping for gardening equipment. It’s not complicated really when you think about it...

EDIT: Yes, we realise that the headline doesn't really make much sense in relation to the story and could potentially be actionable. Thank you.


  • marky m.
    Is that like journalists sourcing stories from elsewhere then rewording them slightly and pushing them out under their own byline? Nah, that'd never happen. And by the way, it's Which? not Which!
  • Andy D.
    It's fucking Which! mate. Like Wham! Do try and keep up you prick.
  • issac h.
    It's you prick!
  • Tom
    Its Which? you pair of twats.
  • The G.
    You're all a bunch of cunts its Snatch!?
  • Trigga
    You can add hitachi products to the list too, they are re-badged bush/alba tv's. All the menu systems and instructions are the same.
  • Laurz
    @ Andy Dawson how can you be so stupid? YOU linked to the which website, a website with a big logo at the top saying Which? with a big clear question mark and yet you still refuse to accept that it is a question mark.
  • Wonky H.
    Gee, I don't normally come out on the side of the Peoples Republic of Bitterwallet, particularly not the Dawson, but for gawd sakes people, it is Which! It's almost a big a running joke on BW as WTF is dis real, Mr T, or , dare I say it for fear of being moderated, I bum foxes.
  • Andy D.
    Thank you Wonky. We've been at it almost seven months now.... http://www.bitterwallet.com/?s=%22which!%22
  • Andy.Droid
    1) Why does every article on the which website state "Which?" then rather than "Which!". 2) Google sponsored search "Which? Official Site" .
  • Jack T.
    Can I just say, who gives a shit?!
  • Maggie T.
    Lots of us “give a shit”, so why not fuck off, you selfish tosser?
  • Helen C.
    C'mon children - there's no need for that! Back on topic.....Brand licensing is quite a common practice and Argos, like many other retailers, will acquire brands and operate them themselves from time to time. Whether the quality of these products continues as before is quite another matter entirely...
  • Nobby
    It's because Which? have straightened out so many consumer related problems, they've made the subtle change of straightening the question mark in their logo. In someone's mind.
  • private r.
    Hey I gerade wollen eine enorme Daumen hoch für die große info Sie haben hier zu diesem Beitrag. I werden wieder, um Ihre Blog für mehr bald.
  • dating s.
    What is the average start up cost for a high profile website?
  • Andrew S.
    Thaxs for info,its very import, good blog
  • Tim D.
    Bought a Qualcast brush utter from Argos. Found that it is made in China. Spares are unavailable. Argos are allegedly aware of this and they will not reply to me. Local Garden Machinery dealers tell me that anything Qualcast is now disposable . Again, Argos and Homebase know this. Please do not waste your money on these items

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