Real Life

Consumer- Buying a computer

Know what you need to ask, when purchasing a computer.

Start by setting a budget. List the tasks you need the computer for and make sure the deal meets your requirements. Explain what you want as fully as you can.Ask questions, including: How much RAM can I upgrade to? How many expansion slots are there on the motherboard? What’s the fastest processor this machine can upgrade to? Ask what the warranty covers. Is it “on site” (so they’ll come to you – this is rare) or “back to base”  so you have to take the computer to them), and how long does it last? Is there a technical helpline, and what is the charge for calling?

Consider buying from smaller retailers, rather than national chain stores. See for retailers that have given members excellent after-sales service and support. Be wary of buying extended warranties – they offer little extra protection over your consumer rights. When you pick up your new computer, make sure everything is included.  There should be an instruction manual, original CD-ROMs and licence agreements for all software installed, including the operating system, as well as warranty information.

TOP TIP:  While interest-free offers of anything from six to 60 months at furniture and appliance stores seem attractive, it’s practically guaranteed that paying cash up front could win you a significant discount on the marked price.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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