Question PCWorld KnowHow voucher Like-For-Like replacement worries

Paulus1982

Standard Member
Hi, I have a query regarding my laptop which is now being written off by KnowHow because they can no longer source the parts needed to fix it (graphics hardware failure).

My laptop is a Sony Vaio VGN-FW51ZF and was bought in October 2009 (9+ years ago) for £1399.99. Top of the range laptop back then that still worked for my needs today before it needed repairing.

The phone operator explained today that I will be receiving a voucher code this week where I can redeem it for a like-for-like replacement. The amount I will be given is unknown until the voucher arrives. My big concern is that I used my laptop for watching Blu-rays and writing data on Blu-ray discs, but they no longer sell computers with Blu-ray drives anymore (let alone Blu-ray RW drives).

When I queried this with the operator, they couldn't give me an answer and also their manager didn't know. To them, it was a unique situation they've never dealt with. The operator placed me on hold again to contact a different help desk who then said it will be seen as "obsolete technology" when issuing me for a like-for-like replacement.

For a feature I still need and use, what are my options now? I feel like they will use this "obsolete technology" reason to give me much less than what I would have gotten if they still sell computers with a Blu-ray RW drive.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
The first thing is to see what the terms and conditions of the scheme or warranty that's providing the voucher actually say, ideally the version from when you bought the laptop.

No retailer is obliged to provide you with a refund on a product you've had a full lifetime's use out of so you've got none of the usual consumer rights to fall back on that you'd use for products that fail prematurely.

It'll be all about whether the scheme is following it's own terms and conditions, and possibly whether it was accurately represented to you when you signed up to it.
 

Paulus1982

Standard Member
It'll be all about whether the scheme is following it's own terms and conditions, and possibly whether it was accurately represented to you when you signed up to it.

Thanks for your reply.
I took out the 'Whatever Happens' cover plan when I bought the laptop. Back then they were called TechGuys. I still have my receipt and the booklet that was given to me on the day, as well as a TechGuys letter / pamphlet that was sent by post.

There is nothing mentioned about obsolete technology terms, nor was any of that mentioned to me on the day of purchase.

I've now checked KnowHow's T&C's and I can't find anything on this matter other than they'll replace it with a computer with like-for-like specifications.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
If you can't find a laptop with a built in blu-ray drive, and they haven't been popular for a while, you either need to buy an external drive or look into other sources for the films you want to watch (downloads/streaming).

Currys don't sell external drives so I can't see them adding to the replacement voucher to cover one. Although they do sell Blu-ray playback software like PowerDVD so you could argue for that.

'like for like specifications' is incredibly vague. Is a like for like CPU one with the same performance or one with the same position in the range?

What sort of result would you be happy with? Are you expecting another high end machine or just something that can do what your current laptop does (minus the blu-ray playback)?

It's also worth working out how much this scheme has cost you. If you've spent a couple of hundred on it then it's much more reasonable to settle for a low value voucher than if you've spent a couple of thousand.

Some of the spec elements that are unarguably the same are those that haven't changed in price much. For example I see your laptop has a magnesium chassis, which is still a high end spec today. You'd definitely be able to put forward arguments under such vague terms if the result wasn't what you were happy with.
 

Paulus1982

Standard Member
'like for like specifications' is incredibly vague. Is a like for like CPU one with the same performance or one with the same position in the range?

KnowHow's TS&Cs for replacements:
If we cannot repair your Product you will be given a voucher to obtain a replacement in one of our stores. The value will be based on an equivalent or similar specification product up to a maximum of your original Product purchase price. At our discretion, a replacement product may be given instead of a voucher.


It's also worth working out how much this scheme has cost you. If you've spent a couple of hundred on it then it's much more reasonable to settle for a low value voucher than if you've spent a couple of thousand.

The laptop cost me £1,399 and paid £14.49 per month for the care plan since October 2009, which is roughly around £1,600 extra paid to KnowHow.


What sort of result would you be happy with? Are you expecting another high end machine or just something that can do what your current laptop does (minus the blu-ray playback)?

Obviously the Blu-ray drive is top of my list; I watch all my imported Blu-rays, burn data on discs and created HD video edits to blank blu-ray discs.

I don't use it for gaming anymore, but I also want a capable laptop that can do HD video and photo editing without slowdown.


Some of the spec elements that are unarguably the same are those that haven't changed in price much. For example I see your laptop has a magnesium chassis, which is still a high end spec today.

I never thought about that one. Another spec is the screen size. Mine is 16.4 inches, but the only nearest equivalent they do is 17.3 inches, so that should help.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Think you need to be realistic here. For me the first stop would be a solicitor to see what their interpretation of the ins and outs of the policy would be.
Personally I don't think you have a leg to stand on to negotiate any aspect of an offer from them. Your laptop has had a far longer life than normal. That being 4 years IMHO. You certainly aren't going to get like for like as laptop specs then and now are like chalk and cheese but this is due to changing times.
I would suggest you should think about what you use a laptop for and what would you buy if you were buying one new today. The blu-ray drive, just get an external usb3 one.
 

Paulus1982

Standard Member
Think you need to be realistic here. For me the first stop would be a solicitor to see what their interpretation of the ins and outs of the policy would be.
Personally I don't think you have a leg to stand on to negotiate any aspect of an offer from them. Your laptop has had a far longer life than normal. That being 4 years IMHO. You certainly aren't going to get like for like as laptop specs then and now are like chalk and cheese but this is due to changing times.
I would suggest you should think about what you use a laptop for and what would you buy if you were buying one new today. The blu-ray drive, just get an external usb3 one.


Update on my case:

My voucher amount given for a replacement laptop was £750 (which is what I worked out for a like for like spec minus the Blu-ray drive). I went to the store and explained my situation to the manager who then authorised a £800 laptop I was eyeing up.

I will use that extra funds they authorised to get myself a USB Blu-ray drive.

I now own the HP Pavilion 15 laptop:
Intel® Core™ i5-8300H
8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated)
1 TB 7200 rpm SATA
128 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD

I'm happy with the outcome.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
That's good. Nice to see this sort of thing getting resolved with little or no hassle.

So are you going to continue to pay the premium for coverage ?
I would investigate where you stand with HP as they allow warranty to be extended up to 5 years and I'm sure they do Accidental Damage coverage as well.
What about seeing what your home insurance has to say about coverage including Accidental.
 

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