A recent investigative report has found PC World technicians are often unable to correctly diagnose and fix hardware and software issues.

Computing Which? Magazine went to seven PC World outlets and 13 independent retailers and visited nearly every one twice with two different problems. To test the abilities of the technicians, the researchers deleted a file from Windows that helps to start up the machine; on another machine, they loosened a connecting wire to the hard disk.

They were given quotes from £10 to £139 to fix the loose cable, and anything from £20 to £260 to fix the software issue. The reports says, “PC World performed particularly badly”. At one of its outlets, a technician quoted £350 to fix the software issue, and recommended that the researchers buy a new computer instead.

Six branches of PC World refused to examine the PC because the computer didn’t have its boxed copy of Windows or recovery disc, but neither was required to fix the faults.

The researchers did say that some of the independent repair shops performed badly but, “the majority provided good repairs, lower costs, and impressive service”.

“It is shocking that simple problems, such as a loose cable, can be misdiagnosed and stores are getting away with charging for their mistakes”, said Abigail Waraker, Editor of Computing Which? magazine. “PC World is the only big chain that repairs PCs it didn’t sell, making it the first port of call for many PC owners."

“We think that they should overhaul their training – they could learn a lot from independent retailers.”