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Poll on cards for Tiny warranty holders left in the lurch

Will it work?

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Owners of Tiny PCs who bought their computers by credit card will be asked to waive their section 75 rights, laid out in the Consumer Credit Act 1974, through a poll conducted by the administrators of the bust company.

This could pave the way for the credit card firms to pay for continued warranty support on Tiny PCs, according to Time Computers, which bought the assets of its rival in January.

All warranty owners who paid by credit card are creditors of Tiny, unlike other classes of owner who paid through finance or cheque or cash. The first category is covered by First National and the second is covered by Time, which provides support for both groups.

No date for the poll has been set, according to Time.

The credit card companies say they are unable to underwrite continued warranty support, citing provisions of section 75, which sets out their responsibilities when things go wrong. Instead, they want to repay the balance of the sums owing for warranty.

Tiny covered its warranties with an insurer, which the administrator declines to name, citing confidence but which is said in the computer industry to be Axa. This money has still to be unlocked. However, there are complications: Tiny paid no premiums for the last six months, so anyone who paid for their PC by credit card is not covered. Secondly, Tiny insured its warranties only partially. Parts and labour were covered, but delivery and call centre support were not.

Time continues to supply limited premium telephone support to Tiny’s warranty-by- credit card buyers, thought to number 80,000 or so.

But the longer the deadlock lasts between the credit card companies and Time the more vulnerable this group is to sales overtures from rival firms. Also it is by no means automatic that the credit card firms would hand over warranty support to Time.

According to our information, Dixons Stores Group is mulling over offering warranty support for Tiny computers. The company is understood to be scouting for old Tiny kits among its staff to see what parts the PCs use. ®

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