Blog for hpHosts, and whatever else I feel like writing about ....

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Micro Chip Computers: A lesson in losing customers

I had an interesting conversation this morning with one of my local PC stores. First a back story ....

Around Feb 4th, I bought a second hand hard drive for one of the servers (as it was only £20 (160GB HDD) I thought what the heck). I didn't get round to checking it until last week, and surprisingly, upon my booting the drive, I noticed the previous customers Windows installation was still present - but it then got a whole lot worse - the customers personal files, inclusive not only of 60GB of music, but his CV, financial data (as far as I could tell), and a whole host of other identity theft friendly stuffage, was still on the drive.

Needless to say, my first thought was to contact the customer to inform them of my finding. The customer was obviously quite shocked, and very annoyed at the shop. I advised him I'd get an image of the drive and pop it over to him.

Sadly, when I went to get the image the next day, the drive refused to power up - it was dead - completely. I returned it to the shop, and advised them not only of the drives being dead, but their customers data still being on the drive. The bloke in the shop advised me it wasn't his customers drive (it was, and his customer confirmed it was), but was a "test drive", and it wasn't his customers Windows installation/personal files, but merely a backup of such (errr nope, it wasn't). Asking for my money back, I was told he'd have to send it away as it was a NEW DRIVE (it wasn't), and worked when he'd sold me it (at least he was partially right).

Calling back this morning, I was told in no uncertain terms;

"You can have your money back or you can have another drive, but we never want you in our shop again as it was a very sly thing you pulled"

Asking what he meant by "very sly thing", I was told he was referring to my contacting his customer. So hang on, the shop breaches the data protection act (at the very least), and I'm the one in the wrong??? I think not. As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't sly at all. The customers data was still on the drive and they had a right to know (I'm familiar with the shop and am in no doubt if I'd not called the customer myself, they'd have brushed it under the carpet).

Alas, whilst I've now got my money back, I'm now barred from Micro Chip Computers in Whitley Bay - for doing the right thing .... (had I been someone with malicious intent, the shops customer could've been in for a whole heap of issues, whilst I didn't expect a thank you from the shop, being barred is the last thing I expected - no loss though, I usually use my friends company for all of my hardware needs).


chris said...

you were barred because we belive the customer could have been informed in a better manner the whilst every care is taken with peoples data we are only human and made a mistake however rather than letting us know so we could in turn tell the customer you felt in appropriate to inflame the customer so that he came in the shop enraged when things could have been discussed calmly . this is the first time in 7 years this has happend whilest we would prefer this never to happen we are only human and as i said we made a mistake anyone reading this blog should take into consideration that there are always two sides to every story ! maybe you should tell people the part about telling the customer after brining the hard drive back and being told that as the item was second hand we would not give you a refund but would give you another drive which we orderd in for you brand new as agesture of goodwill however because you were not givin an immidiate refund you then and only then informed the customer , anyoone who wants to hear our side of the story please feel free to phone us on 01912533087

MysteryFCM said...

I actually informed the customer before I phoned you, but nice try.

You also told me, when I brought the drive back, that it was brand new (and I have a witness that can verify your telling me that) and;

"was a "test drive", and it wasn't his customers Windows installation/personal files, but merely a backup of such"

As for being barred, although I believe barring me for informing your customer is way out of line, I'm not actually bothered, there's other PC shops I can go to.

Oh and, I never said it wasn't a mistake ;o)