Our Terms & Conditions

These Terms and Conditions, as revised from time to time, contain important and useful information. They explain how we, PC Sorted, work and what we will and will not do, plus how and when we charge and what we will ask of you, the client.

All clients are given a printed copy of these Terms & Conditions for reference before we commence working on-site or the collection of computer equipment prior to working. We are unable to work on client equipment without client agreement to them. Clients requiring clarification of any point should ask us to explain it at the earliest opportunity. Additional helpful information, including our geographic coverage area, is published at www.pcsorted.com.

What we offer Within our geographic coverage area we offer on-site and collect to workshop support for home PC and small business users who require assistance with their existing software, hardware or system set-up due to troublesome program behaviour, system crashes or hardware malfunction. We also support those PC users whose requirement for greater functionality will be achieved by an upgrade or augmentation of their software or hardware or by a better understanding of its operation and practical application through one-to-one / two-to-one on-site familiarisation, tuition and consultancy. We have several years experience of PC hardware and software programs, operating systems, networks and devices. We operate by call-out to client premises and arrive with diagnostic and rectification capabilities. We have extensive additional facilities at our workshop. Within our coverage area we also offer free time-limited telephone support and advice as specified below. We are also able to undertake initial assessments of failed and damaged units for insurance purposes. Finally, we support computer users and prospective users whose needs will be best met by the supply of brand new units. We individually build or tailor fast new computers to order according to clients' needs or specifications. Each computer is installed and fully demonstrated on client premises, with additional tuition available. Our fast new computers carry a free, comprehensive, on-site hardware warranty, as specified below.

Call-out support & return to base repairs After taking details of the computer problem or requirement we will book a date and an arrival time-frame. Arrival time-frames are typically about 2 hours wide. Dependant on the information given to us at the time of booking and our assessment of it, we will also allocate a specific maximum duration on the premises for our call-out, frequently 2 hours, but sometimes 1 or 4 hours or longer. We will only charge for actual job duration, subject to our minimum time booking of one hour, per our charging structure, even if the time allocated was longer. According to the nature of the job and the situation we find, when we arrive on-site we need first to undertake an initial operating assessment. This process typically takes between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the degree to which trouble has been building up and the complexity or amount of equipment and software. The operating assessment indicates the state of the system and usually reveals details about the specific problems being experienced. We are better placed to commence resolving these problems in the most appropriate way. In many cases and wherever possible, jobs are completed during the initial call-out. However, especially in the case of complex or combination issues, the initial assessment also enables us to more accurately estimate the approximate overall length of the job and whether it can be best continued on-site or by return to base. Where we have previously agreed to be simply collecting the equipment for work at base, our initial available duration on-site will necessarily be brief and the operating assessment will be undertaken at the workshop. Should it become apparent that lengthy repairs are likely to be involved, we advise the client accordingly. This is so that an option can be made either to proceed or to discontinue work without further charge. Considerations that can arise for clients in such cases include loss of use of the system during a workshop or extended on-site repair, especially if the system is still otherwise functioning, as well as the cost of repair itself compared to the severity of the difficulties encountered through the faults and in particular in relation to the overall achievable performance and the value and age of the system. It is often the case, for example in certain types of repairs related to virus, hardware or system files damage, that the equipment can best be returned to the workshop on the grounds of available resources for rectification, coupled with the economy to the client of non-exclusive repair time costing (i.e. we can work on more than one computer at the workshop, allowing certain processes to run through at their own time-scale before returning to them). Following the initial assessment, we address the specific problems, on-site or after return of the equipment to base, by the use of utility, diagnostic & repair software, hardware and physical tools or by software and / or hardware augmentation or upgrade and drawing on our extensive experience of operating system, program and hardware functions, features and bugs. When working on client premises we adopt a clear-head and base-check break of about 5 minutes away from the equipment approximately every 1 to 1½ hours. We also welcome coffee whilst we work. Any meal breaks we take on lengthy jobs are non-chargeable. If we determine that the equipment needs a return to our base, we proceed on our advised charging scale, including the time already spent but without transportation charges or travelling time. For example, if we attend premises as a call-out, work for ½ hour on-site and take equipment to continue work at our base for a further 1½ hours at a later point, our charge will be for 2 hours to the time we return the equipment. Where possible prior to taking the system, on request we indicate an approximate return date of the equipment and an approximate guide of the possible range of the overall cost. In view of the nature of troubleshooting, neither of these can be guaranteed. Please see below under Warranties regarding estimates.

Fast New Computers Where a fast new computer or system will best meet a client’s needs, we hand build or tailor this to meet the client’s precise requirements in terms of hardware, programs and peripherals. We are optionally able to transfer any available data from their old system, re-install programs from client source media and re-create their Internet and e-mail settings on the new unit. Up to date anti-virus and firewall protection and the latest Windows security updates are always included. All new computers are installed and fully demonstrated on the client premises, with additional tuition available. All new hardware carries a comprehensive 12-month on-site or collect and return to base, as specified below under Warranties, unless otherwise indicated. Software support is per these Terms and Conditions - see Free Telephone Support and Advice.

Tutoring We offer one-to-one and one-to-two tutoring in the home or office, either on an ad hoc basis or more often in the form of a pre-booked block of approximately weekly sessions. Each session typically involves an iteratively revised developing process of practical demonstration, familiarisation, tuition, advice and assisted / corrected practice. The sessions are tailored in terms of content and pace to the needs, equipment, aspirations and abilities of clients on an individual basis. Accordingly, on occasions, it may be appropriate to restrict or be possible to extend the scope of a session in progress. Our tutoring is structured to enable clients become confident and capable in essential basic and optionally, intermediate, computer use. Examples of coverage are computer familiarisation including the connection, function and essential operation of the components of a computer system, Windows basics and program strategies, introduction to and everyday use of Internet and e-mail, computer protection and housekeeping including anti-virus and back-up precautions and routines and the basics of word processing, desktop publishing, picture handling and many other common tasks. It is our general intention that at the end of the session or sessions the client will be able to confidently undertake each of the tasks covered (except where the coverage is given as an overview for ongoing self learning). The client may wish to take avail of the free telephone support service, in accordance with its terms, for occasional refresher questions between and after sessions and to book further sessions for consolidation and advancement. We note that clients acquire skills and confidence faster when they practise the areas already covered, between sessions. Intentionally, we do not offer written reference or practise material, though clients may wish to make notes of key points or steps. Many of our clients have previously not succeeded through paper-based learning and our method is very much hands-on. We do not offer advanced or whole day / week / month courses leading to formal qualifications. We do not offer tuition or demonstration in respect of building computers. We accept on-site tutoring bookings in good faith that the client's equipment is in suitable working order for the intended subject material. Should it become apparent during the tutoring that the client's progress is being significantly impeded by software or hardware faults or limitations with the equipment or programs, we will offer constructive information on potential remedies and we will advise as to whether we could usefully rectify the situation on the basis and subject to the terms of a call-out. However, our tutoring fee for the booked session/s remains payable and we will complete the current session as far as is practical.

Insurance Reports for Clients Failed and damaged units are collected for workshop assessment for insurance purposes upon pre-payment of the appropriate fee. A written report is supplied to the client on return of the unit. If used as evidence, the report must only be passed on in its entirety and in the same form as supplied.

Free telephone support and advice First-time callers within our N E Hants / S W Surrey / S Berks coverage area, as well as existing clients, may contact us by phone for free time-limited advice in connection with computer problems. We deal with both software and hardware difficulties and initially our phone assistance takes the form of the offer of free telephone help of up to typically 5 minutes duration (10 minutes maximum, at our discretion) per incident. During the call we attempt where applicable to identify and facilitate potentially suitable procedures to rectify or ease the problem. Our phone lines are open 24 hours 365 days for messages and are manned when possible during our office hours for live assistance and for on-site or return to base bookings. Our telephone support is non-chargeable by us, the caller paying only their phone company charges to our local number. When we call a client in response to a message that gives a local number, we pay for the call. We do not return calls to out of area or mobile numbers and we do not return calls more than once after leaving a message or where the client is otherwise not available. We cannot guarantee that any particular problem will be resolvable by phone. We do not accept repeated calls for telephone help in connection with the same or a related or progressive problem or situation, but may offer instead to address this by on-site repair or tutoring. It is also important to understand that we are working without actual sight of the problem and without direct access to the equipment or software. Our offer of help in these circumstances is necessarily at clients’ own risk. We find that we help resolve free, by phone, around 50% of problems either by our assisting the caller eliminate the problem or by pointing the caller in an appropriate direction for a free self-help solution. In the remainder of cases we recommend expert help, perhaps including a call-out by ourselves or by referral to a manufacturer. We aim to provide impartial advice and we will always rectify the problem by phone where this is possible within the circumstances of the equipment and the caller and the specified time limit. We are pleased to be of service in such cases. On invitation by the client or for difficulties remaining after the 5 - 10 minutes phone help (earlier if indicated by the circumstances), we may offer a chargeable call-out.

Client obligations to us Whilst on client premises we will require a safe and adequate space to work, supplied by electric power and well lit. If internet, e-mail or fax communications are involved or driver or software patches required, we will need access to a suitable available fixed phone line at client expense. Computer workstations, tables or desks must be stable and capable of supporting the computer equipment, which is likely to require turning for inspection, connection or internal working. If such inspection is not possible within the confines of an existing location, clients can save time and expense if they are able to move and reconnect the equipment in a suitably roomy place, preferably at working height, prior to our visit. On occasions whilst we are working, clients bring to light additional faults or issues known to them regarding operation, which did not form part of the original brief for which we have been called in. Such faults may or may not be discovered during our diagnostic processes relating to the actual issues that the client has brought to our attention. Rectification of such additional faults, if agreed, is likely to involve an additional element of time and cost beyond that already indicated to the client, particularly as the rectification processes may not be capable of being tackled in the most time-effective manner once work has started.

Client data and source media The data stored on a computer, for example documents, e-mails, contact lists, financial accounts or games high scores, are likely to be important or valuable and it is advisable to make regular back-up copies of anything that would be difficult or time-consuming to re-create. Original source media disks relating to operating system, programs and equipment and any further upgrade files on disks, should be retained - being able to locate all of these as needed can be of great assistance and considerably reduce the length of a job. Loss of data and / or the need to re-install programs and devices can occur at any time, sometimes without any prior indication, due to hardware or software problems or client error. Programs will also occasionally become unexpectedly or unavoidably and irreversibly lost or damaged when software and hardware problems are in the process of being resolved or upgrade or other work is being undertaken. It is sometimes necessary to restore programs to functionality by re-installation, in which case the associated data might also require restoration. If specifically requested, for example in the case of severe system corruption, we will make data back ups where possible, in advance of our carrying out the main job in hand, though this will add to the overall time involved, especially if no existing back-up system is in place. This will involve us in retaining copies of client data, until later cleared from our systems. We can also advise on and optionally install appropriate back-up measures for ongoing client use in order to minimise inconvenience, should the unfortunate one day happen. If a client believes important work or other data may have already be at risk or lost, for example due to system corruption, virus attack or hard drive failure, our general advice is to immediately stop the computer and obtain advice. We have techniques and tools for recovering data under certain circumstances, though the processes can be lengthy and labour intensive and may or may not result in any or total recovery. Specialist data recovery services also exist which offer (and charge for) a larger range of tools such as microscopically clean-room examination, which may result in data recovery in some situations. We can refer clients to such services, for use under their Terms.

What we won't do We do not work on Apples / Macs or on computers running OS/2 or Linux. We do not work internally on any hardware that is under an existing hardware warranty if the supplier would restrict or void such warranty as a result. It is the client's responsibility to make us aware should this be the case. For PC's under warranty we are happy to set up and tutor the overall use of the computer and to work on configuring their software, as well as to provide external upgrades and additional peripherals. Although we work on older as well as newer computers, limitations exist in respect of the performance achievable in comparison with newer machines. Older laptops particularly suffer in this way and this, coupled with the bespoke design of parts resulting in higher component and labour pricing and limited parts availability, may preclude effective repairs or upgrades on such equipment. We cannot tutor the specific use of software for specialist users, but may be able to offer general advice. We do not have the resources to provide tuition or demonstration in respect of building computers from their individual electronic assemblies and components, either at our premises or those of clients, using our or clients components. This is because computer building is a multi-stage process based on requirement determination and over the period of the build involves the careful selection and informed integration of components, pre-OS testing, OS, device and program installation and testing followed by quality assurance. If we agree to take over clients' problematic home builds in progress, this is done at our workshop without client attendance and may require component, hardware, firmware and software substitution and a revision to the clients' original performance expectations. Finally, we will not smoke on non-smoking premises.

Out of area We do not offer any telephone support or on-site service outside our coverage areas, with the exception of warranty work as specified below for clients who have re-located and, in exceptional cases, for referrals. Hardware clients who move out of our area continue to receive telephone support at their expense for the balance of the warranty period and where it is agreed that a hardware failure may have occurred, such clients will receive inspection, repair or replacement facilities as applicable on their payment of carriage costs in both directions. In such situations the client is responsible for arranging the removal and replacement and configuration of such items on return.

Privacy When contacted for on-site or telephone assistance, we collect the following information from the client: name (to identify the client to us), phone number (to enable us to contact the client), postcode and how they heard of us (to confirm that they are within our coverage area and to analyse our marketing by means and location) and details of the computer software and hardware and the problem or need (to help with a solution or advice); if we call-out we will also need the client’s address. We may take supplementary technical details (for service purposes) and additional contact details such as alternate phone numbers and e-mail address (to be able to provide further information or files). On occasions we may pass details of the client and the issues in hand, to clients’ suppliers or manufacturers or related manufacturers, suppliers or agents or to our technical associates or suppliers or other computer organisations, in order to obtain further assistance in our resolving the technical situation being addressed. On occasions we may refer a call or situation for potential resolution by another organisation and in this event their terms and conditions will apply. We may also use the contact details to send occasional details of our services and offers, unless the client has specified otherwise. We will never sell name or contact details, except to any successors to this business. Apart from these purposes of working with the technical issues to hand, we do not pass personal information to other parties unless we are required to do so, or believe we may be so required, by law. In such a case we will operate in good faith and without reference to the client. An example of a case where we would notify the authorities, would be our discovery of child pornography on a client machine. We are aware, however, that images of an adult nature (what we understand as legal adult pornography) are present on some computers from time to time and we adopt no stance on these, other than to usually inform the client of the risks related to potential virus attack, corrupt system files and perhaps high phone bills. We have, for example, encountered a number of computers that had become largely unusable and were the subject of extensive repair work following the teenage children’s private use of sex diallers and / or adult and / or technically inappropriate sites. In these cases we have notified the parents (our clients) so that the parents can make a decision regarding use acceptable to them. We treat client confidentiality very seriously and do not disclose or discuss personal identifying information outside of these conditions.

Warranties It is not possible to guarantee that any particular problem will be resolved during a call-out or during work at our base. In the vast majority of situations we are able to implement either a full re-instatement of functionality, or an acceptable performance. Lack of resolution may be because the manufacturer currently regards the problem as a feature or no longer maintains the product, incompatibility exists between programs and / or hardware, the user has not retained original installation disks, the client does not actually possess the required item to provide the desired functionality, irreparable virus, other program code or hardware damage has occurred, hardware limitations preclude resolution or because a solution is not known by ourselves or the manufacturers. It is within the nature and development styles of software and hardware that there can be no guarantee that functioning items will remain so for any particular length of time following repair, or under any specific conditions of operation, including those which have not previously led to faults. Existing software or hardware may later again suffer faults or damage, possibly following the installation of new software or hardware, sometimes producing similar error conditions to the original fault. We use high quality components and software and subject to PC Sorted continuing to operate from its NE Hampshire premises, we offer coverage area clients 12 months warranty on all new hardware components supplied by us unless otherwise specified. PC Sorted will inspect items reasonably suspected of failure at client request at a time and location convenient to PC Sorted and suitable for the required diagnostic procedures. The cost of such inspection will be borne by PC Sorted where failure of the item, outside of normally seen or anticipated operational limits, is found to have occurred. In such cases the cost of supply of a replacement new or refurbished or pre-owned item of generally similar or greater functionality, as chosen by PC Sorted, will also be borne by PC Sorted. Any second user, refurbished or surplus items, including great value refurbished complete systems as may be available from time to time, are clearly identified as such, offered at a lower price and carry a 30 day hardware warranty, limited to replacement of the item by a similar item in the event of its total failure or a refund of the monies paid for the item, at the discretion of PC Sorted, unless otherwise specified. Warranty periods are from date of installation or supply, whichever is the earlier and any notification must be made within this period. Replacement items are warranted for the time remaining on the original warranty. Excluded from these warranties are normal wear and tear, cosmetic and incidental failures not significantly affecting the overall operation and damage caused by software or firmware means or by catastrophic external electrical or physical forces. Where hardware is replaced under warranty the client is responsible for any re-installation of programs, data, drivers or operating systems. Any and all consequential loss is excluded. Where a manufacturer’s or third party warranty is available, its terms will apply and the warranty period may be different. Whilst undertaking repair work under these Standard service terms it may become apparent that the condition of the hardware or software is such that the cost in terms of time, replacement items and / or re-installation is judged uneconomic by PC Sorted or by the client. We will accept instructions before commencing work to not exceed an agreed maximum repair cost specified by the customer. We will mark and sign as agreed any such limit on the job sheet. In cases where we judge further work will be uneconomic or a cost limit has been specified and reached we will discontinue working until we have received further advice from the customer. Please note that by the actual nature of software and hardware as outlined above and the scale and scope of the diagnostic and rectification processes that we undertake, together with the investment we have made, we specifically do not offer a no fix no fee service as standard. Work undertaken is payable, regardless of whether the work has resulted in functionality. In other words, please be aware that if a cost limit is set and reached, or if we judge that the continuation of a repair will become uneconomic, a charge will be payable for the inspection and assessment work and rectification processes initiated up to the point of discontinuation, in accordance with our rates. Discontinuation of work on reaching a cost limit may leave the equipment unsuitable for operation. An alternative approach is our No fix No fee service. Where this is specifically offered or requested for a particular job, we will advise the client of our decision regarding this level of service, confirming this in writing on the job sheet, after undertaking an initial examination of the equipment on client premises or ours. In the case of no fix no fee jobs, we do not accept an upper cost limit for the work as it may be that substantial time will be required and that software, hardware and / or firmware could need to be replaced or upgraded at our discretion. In such cases the cost of the repair can exceed the current value of the equipment. This repair cost is payable for no fix no fee jobs providing we are able to implement either full functionality or performance that we judge acceptable under the circumstances of the equipment and / or software.

Our rates & payments in settlement Our charge is payable on the day at the end of the call-out, by cash or guaranteed cheque made payable to PC Sorted. We regret that we are currently unable to accept credit / debit cards. If we take the equipment to our base for further work, or agree to return to continue working on client premises on the same job, the balance or full job is payable on our return. In the case of pre-booked block sessions of tutoring attracting a block booking discount, our charge is payable at the end of the first session. We are able to offer particularly cost-effective rates by adopting such payment terms. Deposits and payments re goods and services are non-refundable in the event of cancellation by a client. In the case of new system builds, a non-refundable deposit of approximately 50% of the cost is taken at the time of order. New system build timescale is typically two weeks, with the balance payable on delivery and installation. In special cases, for example when a shorter timescale or special components or software are used or significant document recovery from an old system is involved, a non-refundable payment in full is due at the time of order. At the current time, PC Sorted is not registered for VAT. Clients are supplied with a detailed job sheet incorporating a payment receipt on completion of work. A receipted pro forma invoice is available to follow on request.

These terms & conditions are available on-site in larger print on request.

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Terms & Conditions Revision date: 20 July 2004