Consumers being ripped off by bad advice on electricals

In the fast-moving, bewildering world of new technology, we consumers rely on sales staff to advise us on the best possible purchase. But according to a new report, the sales people are just as bewildered as we are, leaving many customers splashing their cash on unnecessary electrical goods.

Consumers are being given bad advice on electricals
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Undercover researchers from Which? visited 154 stores, posing as consumers looking to buy HD televisions and personal video recorders (PVRs).

What they found was a severe lack of basic product knowledge and a catalogue of bad advice. Of those 154 high street shops, only eight were rated "excellent" for knowledge and advice.

The consumer watchdog said: "We found alarming examples of bad advice which, if followed, would have left customers buying the wrong size or type of machine, and spending more than they needed."

And that's without the inevitable "three-year guarantee" upselling!

The hard sell was a tactic employed by several staff, said Which?, particularly where TVs were concerned. Many attempted to convince the researchers that they should buy an LED over and LCD model - for the record, LEDs are generally more expensive but not necessarily better.

There was confusion too, when it came to HD equipment, with many staff confused about the difference between "HD ready" (which enables viewers to watch TV programmes in HD) and "Full HD" (which is advisable if you're looking to get the best from Blu-ray as well as TV).

Things weren't much better in the PVR department. One sales person advised that a 500BG hard drive would allow for 75 to 100 hours of recording - in fact, a 250GB hard drive provides roughly 125 hours.

In some cases, sales staff even contradicted the printed product specifications. High street giants Currys and Comet fared the worst.

Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, told the Daily Mail: "Electrical stores have to up their game and train their staff properly. We trust them to know about the products they're selling.

"Unfortunately, big retailers are letting their customers down, offering wrong or misleading advice that should leave people shelling out more money for features or products they just don't need."

What do you think? Do you trust the advice of sales staff or have you been ripped off with bad advice? Let us know below...
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