CCL Computers and the case of the well, crap case

Hi folks, yeah, the blog isn’t dead although for the amount of attention I give it sometimes it might as well be but it comes in handy at times like this when illuminating more than the 140 characters that Twitter allows.

So I thought I’d like to share a little something with you. I’ve been a longstanding customer of CCL Computers. Barring the motherboard and RAM, all the other components in my current desktop I purchased from them including the monitor. I’ve always been very happy with their service and quality of products which probably makes this all the worse.

You see, if it had been a first purchase and I’d received the pitiful excuse of a desktop computer that they sent me then I’d have just chalked it down to yet another poor quality merchant, sent it back, got my money and gone elsewhere, but when you’ve ordered stuff from a company over the years you build up a trust relationship. When that comes crashing to the ground it hurts, especially when you’ve recommended them to friends as a good and trusted supplier.

However, I have a sorry tale to tell about my recent experience with CCL Computers that I’d like to share.

A couple of weeks ago the computer used as the main office PC for an organisation run by a friend of mine broke. Technically it didn’t, the OS, Windows XP went completely tits up to the point of it being impossible to restore and the system restore discs seem to have disappeared too. So it was a case of grabbing a copy of Windows 7 to put on it or just take the opportunity to do an upgrade. The system in question was about 8 years old and would cost more to upgrade to make it capable of running Windows 7 than simply getting a new one. So with all his files safely recoved by the use of a Live Linux CD we decided to do a full blown new purchase.

Now my friend in question was due to go off abroad on holiday over Christmas so he woudn’t be around to receive collection of a new machine so we decided to order him a new computer, a proper Vanilla version of Windows 7 and Office Pro 2007 and I’d set it all up for him while he’s away. He’s back soon btw and expecting a fully functional computer that I promised him.

We found the PC we wanted from CCL Computers, made a few adjustments to specs and tried to place an order but we couldn’t specify a different delivery address as apparently, and this is quite reasonable from an anti-fraud perspective; you can’t do this on a first purchase after registering an account.

So, we went to the extra trouble of contacting our bank, thankfully we have the same one and getting the money transferred from his account to mine so that I could purchase the machine on his behalf and get it delivered to my address.

It came the other week.

I took it out the box and put it on the kitchen surface. It wobbled. I inspected it, one of the leg pins was bent in so it wouldn’t stand straight. Then I looked at it a bit closer, the back panel section was bent quite considerably outwards to the point where you would have problems plugging the cables into the interface sockets on the motherboard. Then I looked even closer, the top of the one side of the case at the rear was completely buckled in.

OK I thought after also spotting that the polystyrene surround in the packaging was also damaged, this thing has been dropped quite heavily, or something heavy dropped on it. Hey, it’s Christmas, the weather’s interferring with deliveries up and down the land, accidents do happen.

So, I called up CCL Computers on the phone, explained what I thought had happened and they said no problem, we’ll get someone to pick it up and they’ll sort it out. Great I thought. I explained the situation, that I was on a timescale in getting this thing up and running for my friend’s return and they said they’d be as quick as they can.

It got picked up. I got an e-mail confirming they’d received the unit for inspection. Then, rather surprisingly, the following day I received the computer back. Wow, great turnaround service I thought. That was until I took it out the box and put it on the kitchen surface. It wobbled and rocked. The backplate still stuck out from the connectors on the motherboard.

At first I thought they’d just sent exactly the same computer back. I got on the phone. This was Christmas Eve btw.

I was told the case had been changed. I looked carefully at it, yes the buckle in the case at the top was no longer present. So this was a new case with the same wonkey leg and buckled out backplate? Apparently yes I was told, they’re quite cheap cases so the guy on the other said and if I wanted better I’d have to pay more money.

Now I’ll admit I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ve been building computers right since it was pretty much possible to do it with more standard components. Since 1992 in fact. In that time I’ve seen some ‘cheap cases’, one’s which to be frank, I would fancy dropping but in all that time, I’ve never seen even the cheapest or nastiest of cases that came brand new incapable of standing up straight on a flat surface or that has a backplate so bent outwards that it actual inhibits the ability to stick the cables in the motherboard. I’m not sure if it’s just me or my age but when exactly was a case that stands straight or has a non-buckled backplate considered to be a premium quality of PC’s that you should expect to pay extra for.

They asked if I could send them pictures, I did one better and did a video and posted it to Youtube. It’s at the end of this post. I’ve tweeted at them, sent them a message via their online submission form on their website to get in touch. As yet they haven’t. Well, it is Christmas time after all so I’m reasonable to give them a bit of a break but it’s Tuesday now and still nothing.

I’ll give them another couple of hours and then I’ll be on the phone. They said they couldn’t collect till Thursday anyway when I spoke to them but as things stand, I fear I can do nothing more than send this piece of crap back, get my money, go elsewhere and drop them on the blacklist of companies I’ll never bother doing business with again which is a real shame.

The problem is now, I’m going to have to source another machine, get it delivered and what’s the chance they’re not going to refund my money straight away so I’m going to be forced into raiding the savings (yes it is just after Christmas and like everyone else I’m skint) just to be able to get a new machine up and running before my friend returns from holiday.

Thank you so much for all this hassle and fuss CCL Computers. Just because you couldn’t supply me with a computer in a case that wasn’t a load of old crap. I also have a tip; this is exactly the kind of practice that turns good longstanding customers like myself who have recommended you to friends into people who never want to do business with you again, and will tell their friends why.


4 thoughts on “CCL Computers and the case of the well, crap case

  1. I also used to be a long time customer of CCL.
    In fact, I recommended them to anyone who thought about purchasing components.
    Recently I bought an LCD monitor from CCL (a decent LG model).
    After 1 week of using the monitor I noticed some stuck pixels. I then phoned CCL to ask for a replacement and they flat out refused to do it – even though LG themselves said they were quite happy to replace the monitor.
    This is in stark contrast with the customer care I received in the past with CCL when they seemed quite happy to replace faulty goods.
    I will not be recommending them to anyone in the future and I will instead by discouraging anyone from purchasing from them.
    I now buy all my components from Novatech – lets hope they don’t turn out to be the pile of crap that CCL has evolved into.

  2. I regularly buy components & software on-line from Dabs, Amazon, E-buyer without too much trouble. Recently I placed an order on a Sunday with CCL computers, because of good prices and because all the items were shown as in stock. The order was accepted and I was given a delivery date of Wed.

    Just before 1pm on Wed I received an e-mail telling me the delivery would be late as the 2 HDDs were not in stock. Not very happy with already having wasted half a day, I e-mailed and was given one of those classic excuses, right up there with, “the dog ate my homework” and “the cheque is in the post”, ie the lorry delivering the drives to them had “broken down”. At this stage the website still showed the HDDs as in stock. I was assured the drives would arrive at CCL on Thursday and be shipped for delivery to me on Friday. No update on status until I e-mailed again today, when the website was showing 2 drives available for delivery within 2 – 3 days. The reply stated that the drives would be available on 1 Mar and suggested an alternative HDD. Sure enough, since sending my e-mail, the availability had been changed.

    Not suprisingly I called to cancel the order and could only get voicemail, so let’s see if CCL handles cancellations and refunds any better than orders and deliveries, not that that should be difficult.

    A pathetically poor performance all round and, like the previous posters, I’ll avoid CCL like the plague and tell everyone I can to do the same.

    As for how CCL can claim goods are in stock when they’re waiting for a delivery, or take payment for such goods without informing the customer first, I would love to know. Despite claims that the Ts & Cs allow to do this, I can’t find any such statement, and doubt that, even if it were there, it would be legal under consumer legislation. Probably a topic for Trading Standards.

  3. Is this not the couriers falt? For damaging the goods in transit? Fair enough the case might not be the best, but surely they didnt send it out smashed to bits but wasnt handled correctly throughtout the shipping process.

    It sounded like CCL had a good level of communication (plenty of emails) and sent a replacement out straight away (for Xmas eve – One of the busiest weeks of the year)

    Out of intrest what happened in the end? did you get a refund?

  4. Yet another long time customer now to be an ex customer.

    Goods ordered Friday, goods shown in stock on website, not despatched until Tuesday, problem with PSU as no PCI-E power but no details of this on product description on website despite being a 750W unit, so new one ordered, arrived Thursday DOA, refuse to send replacement until this one returned so now have to wait until middle of next week at earliest to resolve.

    Not how to keep customers.

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