Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Wednesday, 27 July 2005 15:51 UK

Trying time for Tiny customers

Tiny computer
The falling price of PCs may not be the only reason for Tiny's downfall

News that the Britain's largest computer maker has gone into administration will ring alarm bells for thousands of PC owners in the UK and elsewhere.

There are roughly two million Tiny PC and laptop owners, as well as thousands of Time Education computers in schools colleges and universities.

Granville Technology, which owns the stricken computer maker, sells online, by mail order and through its Computer Shop chains.

Time PCs are also sold at Tesco, Asda and Woolworths stores.


Many computers have been sold with warranties, while some deals with schools and colleges are thought to include service contracts.

Phone calls to existing customer support numbers will continue to be dealt with
Grant Thornton

And many customers are believed to have paid for goods in recent days but have yet to receive them.

Administrators at Grant Thornton say they hope to be able to the keep the company's existing customer support operation running.

"In the meantime, phone calls to existing customer support numbers will continue to be dealt with," Grant Thornton said.

But as far as future maintenance of Time and Tiny PCs and the delivery or cancellation of new orders, the administrators said it was too early to tell what would happen.

They expect to make an announcement later on Wednesday or on Thursday.

Grant Thornton has set up a helpline to provide information to customers on 0870 830 3288 or

Faulty past

Part of the company's downfall may have been due to the high level of customer complaints over faulty products.

Customer satisfaction has been an issue with Tiny for some time, according a report earlier this year on the BBC's Watchdog programme.

Approximately 200 viewers wrote to Watchdog to say that the company had caused them enormous problems.

One customer ordered a 2,000 plasma screen but on its arrival saw that the screen was cracked all the way round.

He phoned and demanded a replacement, only to be sent another cracked screen six weeks later. Another customer was watching football on his plasma screen when his TV blew up.

More problems for emerged in April this year when it was criticised by the advertising watchdog for running a misleading ad for its PCs.

A customer complained to the Advertising Standards Authority after seeing an advert for a PC retailing at 699.

However, it was not made clear that the deal included an "additional, compulsory delivery charge" of 39.99.

Tiny PCs goes into administration
27 Jul 05 |  Business
Tiny Computers swallowed up
30 Jan 02 |  Business
Contract win brings Tiny boost
14 Aug 01 |  Scotland
Tiny drops free PC offer
18 Aug 99 |  Science/Nature

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