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Metronomy delays free-PC giveaway

Bogus applications lead to theft fears

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London-based Metronomy has postponed plans to hand out free PCs because it's been flooded with bogus applications.

The free PCs - which are subsidised by people watching three-minutes of ads an hour - were due to be dished out to punters this month but it now seems that has been delayed until the autumn.

However, in an email to customers yesterday, Jacco Van Seventer, Metronomy's customer operations director, wrote: "We regret to inform you that we are unable to fulfil your application at this time."

"As you may know, Metronomy's launch generated considerable media interest, and we received an excellent response from households wishing to take part in the scheme. However, we have also received information to suggest that a minority of applicants do not intend to operate within our standard terms and conditions, resulting in the potential theft of the computer.

"Whilst we have invested considerable resources into developing highly secure business processes and technology, the high cost of each PC means that we must control our exposure at this stage.

"As such, we have reluctantly decided to release only a limited number of PCs in the first instance, in order to fully test our security procedures and technical infrastructure before a wider roll-out in the Autumn. Unfortunately, we will be unable to progress your application until then.

"We recognise that our concerns apply to only a minority of applications, and regret any inconvenience that this may cause to bona-fide customers, but feel this is the best course of action to protect the long-term interests of the business and ensure that the offer can be available to all who want it in future."

No one at the company was available for comment at the time of writing. However, Metronomy's customer support line was available.

An operator confirmed that the company had issued an email yesterday warning of delays after Metronomy received a number of "bogus registrations" with people supplying false addresses.

Since the PCs were due to be picked up at depots rather than delivered to homes, there were fears that the machines were just gonna get nicked.

No-one has received a free PC yet, we were told but a few would be sent out soon.

Details of the Metronomy scheme were unveiled late last year. At the time, it was reported that 200,000 IBM PCs would be up for grabs as part of phase one of the scheme, with up to two million being dished out within three years. ®

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