Tarred with the same brush

Over the last couple of months, computer retailers have been under attack by the media, even for things they haven?t done.
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When the law on age ratings turned out to be unenforceable, it was suggested that games sellers would start selling inappropriate material to kids. And after Sky News did an undercover exposé on laptop repairers, PC Pro magazine ran even further with it, with a cover entitled ‘The High Street rip off’.

Our sector runs the risk of gaining the type of reputation used car dealers earned over many years. And we aren’t doing ourselves any favours in how we deal with it. In response to age rating worries, the Entertainment Retailers Association publicly stated that while its chain store members would never sell inappropriately, small indies might do it to make a quick buck.

In the present economic climate, some might do anything to put bread on the table, but the word always gets out when customers have been stitched up. There is a crooked dealer who has been pirating Windowson to PCs for years and getting away with it. Microsoft’s Michala Wardell did promise to clamp down on this sort of piracy yet nobody has ever investigated this case. But, while Microsoft may be too busy to worry about the thousands of licence sales it has lost over a decade because of a single shop, this one’s reputation with customers is now so bad, it couldn’t get any decent business if it tried.

Anyone in this trade long term must be a responsible professional – there is no room for those who aren’t. Responsible professionals should seriously consider joining NASCR, because together we can change public perceptions – something we badly need right now.


Radio free Europe

My mention of the EMC regulations a couple of months ago elicited a response claiming that interference from what is variously known as Power Line Technology/ Power Line/ Communications/ Power Line Telecommunications equipment (let?s call it PLT) was a widespread problem that was only going to get bigger, and was a major breach of the EMC regulations.


Top marks

The education sector offers high rewards for the channel. But, as Lawrence Latif reveals, it's important to have done your homework before entering the classroom...


Canon Pixma IP5300

Rushing things doesn?t tend to produce the best results, but the canon Pixma iP5300 is proof that this needn?t always be the case


Utopian vision

We?ve been catching up with the winners of this year?s PCR Awards to see how business has been since the grand ceremony earlier this year. This month, director of Kilmarnock based Utopia Computers Craig Hume tells PCR about life since winning the Independent Retailer award.


HP Touchsmart IQ770 PC

But the concept just won?t go away and HP has spent the last four years scurrying away at it, this time with the consumer launch of Vista in mind...


What's your offer?

Every interaction that a person has with a business builds up a picture of that company. Every little thing affects it: how the phone is answered, how bright and tidy the place is, and the quality of any information given out by the shop, such as opening times.

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The way forward

For the second month running, I managed to almost finish my column, all apart from the usual niceties of checking spelling and grammar ? and then something happened to make me scrap the whole thing and start again from scratch.