Tesco's new home IT support service will deal yet another blow to independent repair specialists, the trade has warned.
The ‘Tesco Home Services’ pilot scheme launched in Swindon last month. The supermarket is partnering with local businesses to provide mobile assistance with everything from pest control to computer repairs, receiving a commission on every job.
So far, 15 tradespeople have signed up, one of whom is offering IT support. A spokesperson for the supermarket told PCR that while it is “very much a one-store trial at this stage”, the scheme will be rolled out nationally if it proves successful.
However, local IT service firms are not happy, claiming that if the scheme goes national it will squeeze already tight margins.
“If they plan to undercut the local competition we will have to drop to match them, which will not be easy with things being a bit quieter due to the economy,” said David Gillespie, managing director of Enhance Systems in County Tyrone.
Maureen Marshall, a director of Stem Computer Systems in North Yorkshire, added: “Their intention is to always make the biggest margin with the smallest cost involved. Paying good tech people is not the same as buying vegetables – a salary commensurate with the skills of the employee or subcontractor is essential to providing a good service. I can’t imagine Tesco understanding that.”
However, Jat Mann, managing director of the PC Pal franchise, is more concerned about the quality of the service. “We would view with some caution the idea that Tesco will be able to provide the same affordable, value for money service that PC Pal and others do, and build up that all- important trust with the customer,” he told PCR.
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