Carphone Warehouse hit with £29m fine in UK

A British financial watchdog has imposed a fine of about £29m (€34m) on electrical goods retailer Dixons-Carphone for misselling its ‘Geek Squad’ phone insurance and technical support service.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the company’s main Carphone Warehouse retail division did not give its staff the right training to advise customers purchasing the service and were trained to recommend it to customers who already had cover. “Carphone Warehouse sales staff were trained in ‘spin selling’, where the focus was on persuading customers to purchase Geek Squad and on selling the features of the product,” the authority said. The company also failed to properly investigate, and fairly consider, customer complaints about the product, the watchdog said. Carphone Warehouse is Britain’s biggest mobile phone-seller. It merged with electricals retailer Dixons in 2014.

The group operates in Ireland through the Dixons Travel, Carphone Warehouse and Currys-PC World brands.However, the ‘Geek Squad’ service is not operated here.

The ‘Geek Squad’ mobile insurance programme, backed by Aviva, covers phone damage and theft protection.

The service was recently rebranded as Team Knowhow.The investigation into the selling processes of ‘Geek Squad’ was between December 2008 and June 2015 and the FCA imposed a discounted fine, as Dixons had accepted the regulator’s findings, the regulator and the company said, in separate statements. Dixons Carphone accepted that its practices “fell short” in the past and it has made significant improvements since then, Dixons said.

Reuters and Irish Examiner

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