Thursday, 26 January 2012

PC Specialist - Review

My new laptop then, I ordered it from PC Specialist, and I have come to my blog to make a fair and even handed appraisal of what they're up to... because, they maybe a PC Specialist, but customer service specialist they are not.

First of all, when you order you're presented with an excellent price and a miriad of choices to configure your machine, I agonized over this and then went for a fairly powerful machine (Core i7-2670M Processor, 8GB of RAM and an nVidia GT-540M graphics card) and was happy to do so with the reassuring reviews and testimonials on the PC Specialist site.

However, I did have a pre-sales query, this was handled, and I placed my order.  From there on, the customer service level dropped a little.  Not drastically, just enough to get me worrying, and even to make my wife ask questions - never a good thing.

So, according to the rather complex diagram on the site:

My order should have gone through pre-production into building out to Awaiting Dispatched and then out the door.  All good, I even bought "Silver Extra Care Delivery (Mon-Fri before Noon)" so on Monday this week I was happy to see (last thing) my machine move through building through quality control and into "Awaiting Dispatch".  I assumed I'd missed Mondays courier, so expected to see the machine ship Tuesday and be in my sweaty eager hands Wednesday...

But no, the machine did not ship, Wednesday afternoon still with no sign of it shipping I sent them a message asking "Is there a problem?"  No, no problem, came the reply, it'll dispatch and be with you Thursday.

Its Thursday right now, its after noon, clearly it didn't ship.

So I contact them, and I am assured it's shipping and gets moved up the queue (a head of who knows) and is supposedly shipped.  Save for two problems, when I put the consignment number into the DPD tracking website it says "Your search did not find any matching tracking. Please refine your search criteria."  And I have no faith that their customer service reps actually action what they've said they action.

Assuming it has shipped I'll have my hands on it tomorrow Friday, meaning of the entire length of my order it spent 4 whole days and one part day sat "Awaiting Dispatch".  Combine this with it sitting in "pre-production" for three working days (and a weekend - so five days) and you can see that nothing quite matched their own vaunted processing and production diagram above.

I'm not going to knock the quality of the product, I have after all not received it yet, but I am going to say that their customer service is neither transparent, nor objective.  You ask questions and you don't always get answers to the question posed, you get generic replies.  And their dispatch process is clearly not working as it appears it should, with "< 1 day" shown, how long did it take my boxed up laptop to travel from the testers bench to the dispatch gate?... Four days by all accounts, that's pretty poor when it was build in less than half a day...


  1. Update from PCSpecialist (please note - this is from yet another Customer Service rep - the third different one I've spoken to):

    "Firstly many apologies for the delay in dispatch of your laptop this is due to the backlog of orders we have awaiting to be dispatched at the moment.

    The information on the website relating to time periods for each stage is either stated as "approximate" or "usually" and is not guaranteed in certain circumstances.

    Information received regarding times from myself and other colleagues was in reference to the item more likely being dispatched on the day in question but with said backlog this was not adheared to.

    In almost every other circumstance all orders are dispatched on the same day where the item is shown in the awaiting dispatch stage from 12pm the same day, many apologies this was not accurate in your case.

    We look forward to doing further business with you in the future and are very confident that the dispatch issues had at this point are a rare one off.

    Thank you for your email.

    If we can assist you any further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Many Thanks "

  2. You sound pretty picky in my opinion. I'm thinking of buying a laptop from pc specialists and as long as I get a good quality laptop within say 10 working days I'll be happy.

    Was the laptop of good quality when you got it?

    Can you upgrade the RAM and Hardrive on it once you've bought it?

  3. If pointing out that they have a customer facing portal and their physical reactions do not match up to that portal is picky, then I'm picky... Personally however I'd rather have not been given the confusion stick to hit myself with...

    The machine itself is excellent, as I do make clear "I'm not going to knock the quality of the product".

    I can not upgrade this memory - its already maxed out on my spec (8GB - max the mobo supports). I can upgrade the drives (I could have chosen to upgrade them at order time, but with all the flooding in SEAsia I've left that out for now).

    After owning the machine for a while now I'm very happy with it, it performs excellently, as one would expect with a machine of this specification.

    But, I'll always remember the slightly shoddy, and fobbing off, customer service I got at the dispatch phase.

    I have also noted on the PCS site there are comments flattering them, but I've heard from peeps now whom have posted comments there and had them not accepted... so take their "praise" as self promotion rather than an objective appraisal.

    1. well at least your machine worked my took 19 days out the box did not work detected the problem BIOS light on mother board, light stayed on red not going green faulty mother board maybe bad luck on there part hmm 3 days testing 2 days quality control would not buy a car from them would you !

    2. My machine is still working, but I have heavily customised it since I took delivery.... I has however, never crashed... (seriously).

    3. but but but... I am running Linux.