Currys PC World customers face a battle to win back their money after being charged hundreds of pounds for unwanted insurance.
Money Mail has handed the High Street giant a dossier of letters and emails from furious readers who say that the store is refusing to give them refunds.
Thousands of shoppers complained after finding Currys had taken up to £22 out of their bank account each month for something called ‘product support’.
This is insurance that promises to repair or replace faulty goods. But customers say they never signed up for it or turned down the extra cover when offered.
Livid: Janet and Peter Harris set up a monthly payment plan to buy a £600 TV last year. But after checking their bank account they realised an extra £7 had been taken each month
Some say they agreed to the insurance for the first month as it was free, but Currys continued to take payments after they cancelled.
In one case, the retailer charged a customer £5.40 a month for more than five years after they’d visited their local store to cancel the policy — a total of £324.
Another had to call the shop three times before Currys would halt his direct debit.
Now, when customers try to claw back their money they are being given the runaround.
Readers say they have been promised refunds but have never received them. Others report being refused a refund outright. Some, however, say they have had no trouble getting their money back after being overcharged.
Currys says it has now launched an ‘urgent’ investigation into the complaints.
It comes just one week after six million customers of Currys PC World and Dixons Travel, the electronics store which operates out of airports, had their personal details hacked in a major data breach.
It took Ray Greenfield, 70, three months to get his money back after Currys charged him for insurance he didn’t want. The retired project manager had bought a television from his local Currys in Basildon, Essex, in February.
He signed up for the cover, he says, after salesmen told him the first month was free, and that as long as he cancelled the policy before the offer period expired he wouldn’t have to pay the £2.99 monthly fee.
Paul Worsley refused the offer of insurance on a laptop but was signed up for a policy anyway
But despite calling Currys to cancel before the deadline, the store debited his account. Ray rang again in March, and once more in April to insist that the £2.99 charges be stopped, but to no avail.
Ray says: ‘They kept saying they would take care of cancelling the payment. But maybe it was a case of wanting me to think it was sorted so I wouldn’t check my bank statements carefully.
‘They weren’t taking a lot of money, but it shows just how sneaky Currys is.’
Ray was refunded. But even then, the firm did not cancel his direct debit, which he had to do. Gerry Bonner, 57, says he went into his local Currys store in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, five years ago to cancel the cover for his wireless stereo system.
He had moved to a house with built-in speakers so no longer needed his original system or the insurance.
The assistant made a call and Gerry thought the policy was cancelled. But when he signed up for online banking in April this year, he found the £5.40 monthly payments were still being taken.
In total, Currys had pocketed £324 to insure a stereo he no longer owned. When Gerry asked for a refund he was refused as he had no proof of cancellation. He says: ‘Like many people I haven’t checked my account as often or carefully as I should.
‘But after telling them in the shop I was done with the policy and watching the salesperson supposedly stop it, I trusted them.
‘My main concern is that Currys will be using the same dirty tactics on elderly, vulnerable people.
‘This is a clear case of mis-selling and surely they’ll lose hundreds of customers as a result.’ Peter Harris, 71, and his wife Janet, 75, set up a monthly payment plan to buy a £600 TV in May last year.
But when checking their bank account carefully this April, they saw £77 was missing and realised an extra £7 had been taken each month.
The couple say they weren’t offered an insurance package when they bought the TV.
Peter, a retired hospice porter from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, says: ‘I’m horrified that a brand I’ve put my trust in for years would be so hard-nosed.’
Currys has now reimbursed the couple. Jon Brown, 63, says he signed up for the policy in October 2016 after he claims he was told he could cover his new television for a year with a one-off £4.50 payment.
He says the salesman convinced him that the standard one-year warranty was a bargain.
Anger: About 2,400 complaints about Currys taking sneaky monthly insurance payments have been posted on a consumer website
Jon, a security guard from North Shields, says: ‘He was very confident and kept reiterating that it was a great deal — just £4.50 for the peace of mind of knowing I’d be covered.’
But after four months, Jon found Currys had been taking £4.50 every month — £18 in total.
He says that when he complained Currys apologised but refused to refund him.
Paul Worsley, 57, had bought a £400 Toshiba laptop from Currys in 2013. The aircraft fitter from the Wirral says he was offered insurance at the time but turned it down.
‘I remember interrupting the assistant as they started listing what’s included in the package and politely saying I was not interested,’ he says.
However, after cancelling his credit card in February this year, Paul received a letter from Currys to say they were unable to take the sum for his policy.
Paul rang Currys to complain and was immediately offered a £300 refund. He says: ‘I think it is incredibly deceitful.
‘I challenged them on how they had signed me up to something that I had refused. They quickly said they’d pay the full £300 back.’
About 2,400 complaints about Currys taking sneaky monthly insurance payments have been posted on consumer website aspokesmansaid.com. Customers say they have been charged between £1.99 and £22 a month.
A spokesman from Currys PC World says: ‘We are investigating the cases raised by the Daily Mail and have been in contact with some customers to offer a goodwill gesture.
‘As always, we encourage customers who have any Care Plan questions to contact their local store or customer services team on 0344 561 1234.’