Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

Concerns this week include a Bluetooth-less laptop and the price of a passport

The box featured Bluetooth, the laptop inside did not

Philip Nolan is suffering "a mix of frustration and anger". In August, while in a Tesco in Clonmel, he noticed a Packard Bell laptop on offer for €349. "The clincher was that it had in-built Bluetooth," he writes. So he bought it.

“The following morning, while setting it up, I found it did not have Bluetooth, so off I trotted back into Clonmel. I was told by the manager that they did not have the laptop they were advertising, and all he could do was offer me a full refund,” Nolan writes. “I accepted this on the condition that I still wanted the laptop with the Bluetooth that was advertised. He told me that he would make inquiries and that I should contact the Tesco head office in Dún Laoghaire. When I phoned the office, I was told that they do not accept phone calls, and I was transferred to the customer care centre in Cardiff.”

The people in Cardiff were “relatively ineffective”. Five days passed and he found himself in the Clonmel Tesco again, where he noticed that the laptops had been removed from sale. “I spoke to the manager. He informed me that my grievance had been passed on to Packard Bell, and that they would be in contact with me. I asked why I should be dealing with Packard Bell when I had purchased the laptop from Tesco, but got no satisfactory answer. Again, I received no contact from Tesco (or Packard Bell).”

A week passed and he went into a Tesco store in Cashel. The same laptops were for sale there. "I brought the dummy box to the customer service counter and asked to purchase it. When it came out to me, I checked the details and,
lo and behold, it did not have Bluetooth.

He made some noise on social media about the problem and eventually got a call from a Tesco supplier and was told that the laptop as advertised “didn’t actually exist and that it was an error on the promotional package that had been sent out to Tesco”.

He was offered a much improved laptop with all the bells and whistles at the original price. “I accepted the offer and the laptop was duly couriered to me. I phoned the manager at the supplier when I had received the laptop to thank him.”

A happy ending? Nolan thought so. "Then to my disgust, I discovered in their Ardkeen store in Waterford, they were advertising the very same laptop on sale, still adverting Bluetooth.
Tesco were made aware of the issue and they continue to falsely advertise."

We contacted Tesco and it apologised for the inconvenience. "It is not Tesco's intention to mislead or confuse our customers. The Bluetooth symbol was used on the computer packaging to denote that the computer was Bluetooth compatible. We acknowledge Mr Nolan's concerns and we are exploring the matter further with the supplier. In the meantime, we are instructing our stores to cover the Bluetooth symbol to avoid any further confusion."

A passport to savings?
A reader called Keith has a query about the swanky new passoprts that have been unveiled. The new documents will have images of Irish landmarks, and will see annual savings of about €4 million. He wonders if there is any chance these savings will be passed on to the people who use them. Don't hold your breath.

Make a will without leaving too big a dent in your legacy
It is Best Will in the World Week and more than 400 solicitors across the State
are offering consultations for €50 to anyone considering making or changing a will. And a lot of people need to do this.

All told, 66 per cent of people in Ireland do not have a will. Not having one can have serious consequences for your family after you have gone, leading to bitter legal disputes and the possibility of the State having to make decisions regarding the distribution of your property and assets.

Anyone keen to take advantage of the cheap consultation can visit www.bestwill.ie.

Oh, and while we are on the topic of wills, MyLegacy – an umbrella group of 80 of Ireland’s favourite charities – is encouraging people to consider leaving a gift to their favourite charities in their wills.

While Ireland was ranked as the second charitable country in the world in the 2011 World Giving Index, with 75 per cent of us giving money to good causes every month, only 10 per cent of those who have made a will here have included a gift to a charity.