Two former franchisees of failed computer maker The PC Company say they received PCs sold to them as new but which contained second-hand or reconditioned parts.
Hamilton-based The PC Company went into receivership last month.
The PC Company Hawkes Bay, now trading as PC Country, says it routinely opened new PCs on arrival from Hamilton to check for damage and noted that at least one PC contained a reconditioned hard drive.
“We got one machine after they’d folded for a client in Auckland,” says owner Russ Olsen, “and it had a refurbished hard drive in it. That machine was only three weeks old. I was most upset about that.”
Olsen says he refused to accept refurbished or second-hand parts as replacements for machines that were under warranty.
“If something goes wrong they should be replaced with new parts. I told them that, and eventually we agreed I would buy new parts and they would credit me whenever I sent one of theirs back.”
Olsen says he doesn’t consider refurbished parts to be acceptable replacements for new.
“If you’re going to sell something as having refurbished parts, that’s fine, but to sell it as new stock — that’s just wrong.”
A second franchisee, Murray Hubband, says he also received new stock that contained old parts, a move he describes as the final straw in his relationship with The PC Company.
“As soon as that happened we called it quits,” Hubband says. “We stopped ordering from them about two months before they shut down because of it. We were totally unhappy with the quality that was coming through.”
Hubband’s Whangarei-based company now trades under the name PC Factory.
Hubband says he saw a Maxtor hard drive that had been rebuilt.
“They would have the stickers on them saying they were rebuilt. We were not willing to pass them off as new.”
One of The PC Company’s largest customers, Farmers Trading Co, says it was unaware of the problem.
“We had no idea this was going on. It’s something of a moot point now as we no longer stock PC Company PCs,” says a spokeswoman for the company.
She says Farmers will continue to honour all warranties and customer satisfaction guarantees. If customers are concerned about their PC Company computers they can contact the Farmers’ branch where they were purchased.
The receiver appointed to wind up the company, Kim Thompson, says he was not aware of the issue. Thompson says PCs from the company that are currently being assembled and sold in Hamilton are sold under an “as is, where is” clause with minimal guarantee.
“They have a warranty that’s good for a couple of days and that’s about it.”
Peter Shirley, chair of local PC manufacturer group CMANZ, says it will honour the company’s warranties.
“If the PC has the CMANZ logo on it then we cover it. It’s that simple.”
Several attempts to contact a representative of The PC Company were unsuccessful.