Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/03/27/time_slams_tiny_credit_card/

Time slams Tiny credit card firms

Mexican stand-off

By Drew Cullen

Posted in Media, 27th March 2002 13:28 GMT

Time Group today called on credit card companies to honour up to approx. 80,000 support contracts frozen through the collapse of Tiny Computers.

Time bought the assets of Tiny Computers in January, the day after its rival collapsed into receivership.
Without credit card firm backing, The system builder says it is no longer able to deliver telephone support, to date offered as a matter of goodwill, to people who paid for their warranties by credit card.

These were left in the lurch, in marked contrast to the majority of Tiny customers who paid for their computers and support through a finance company, or by cash or cheque. The latter customers -270,000 in total - receive full support from Time through Time's TotalCare support company (Time points out that it was under no obligation to support the cash buyers).

Tiny's customers who bought their PCs by credit cards will receive refunds for their warranty contracts, under the Consumer Credit Act, according to Time - "but when, and how does that help customers get their hard drives mended?" the company says.

The credit card firms reckon that customers should apply individually for refunds, but they should instead stump up to ensure continuity of support, Time argues. This is the action the credit card firms took, following the collapse of electrical goods retailer Tempo last year, paying Dixons to handle warranty support.

In a statement, Brian Lynn, managing director of TIME said: "This is a despicable situation for the Tiny credit card customers, who have already suffered because of the failure of the old Tiny management. All we want to do is give them a service that ensures that they are fully satisfied with their purchase. We don't want them to have to jump through more hoops than performing dogs, in the hope that they get money from the credit card companies. We feel that that the credit card industry is letting customers down by failing to help them get the goods and services that they have paid for promptly."

It has the support of Lancshire Trading Standards, which expresses its "general happiness with the way Time and Tiny's former finance company has handled support following Tiny's collapse.

But:

"It is unfortunate bearing in mind the clear and unequivocal liability under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, that the varied credit card companies have failed to be as cooperative or responsive. We would urge the credit card companies to openly accept their responsibilities to their customers and help in the provision of an ongoing service for them." ®