In my previous post I mentioned that I'd bought a laptop charger for my Sony Vaio. What I didn't mention, as I'd not had a chance to test it was that it didn't work. It outputted a fluctuating voltage, and so the screen flickered and the laptop made worrying clicking noises. It did charge the laptop when it was off, but was pretty useless, so I contacted Smart Parts, and asked for a refund. They agreed.
On the recommendation of someone who commented on my problem, I decided to buy a charger from Maplin (Cambridge Beehive Centre)to replace the 12 V charger from Smart Parts which didn't work. When I went into the shop, armed with the output voltage I needed and the size of the pin to plug into the laptop, I stood in front of their display of 12V laptop chargers for a while, checking the details of each. No-one approached me to ask if I needed any help, despite the shop being quiet. So I picked up the one I thought would work, based on the info I had. At the counter, I expressed concern that I had bought a similar charger previously which hadn't worked. No advice was offered, I was simply told that if it was faulty, I could bring it back.
I took it home, and set it to the right output voltage, but it didn't work. Wiggling the connector seemed to get it to charge when held in by hand - the charging symbol came one, but it was pretty useless. Assuming that this was because it was faulty, I took it back with the receipt. They tested it, and then the bombshell: Rudely, they said. This isn't faulty, there's nothing we can do. I asked if the assistant would speak to his manager to double check. He reluctantly agreed, and came back, almost smirking, saying 'He's not prepared to offer you a refund, he'd not even prepared to offer an exchange. You bought a 78W charger for a 120W laptop!' I felt like he was implying that I'd been an idiot. Nowhere on my laptop or charger does it say what wattage it requires. How was I to know? I am not a computer expert! Despite the fact that I expressed concern that I wasn't sure if this one would work when I bought it, they didn't ask if I had checked the wattage of the charger. So they decided it was my fault. I am frankly appalled by the poor customer service I received from Maplin - they were rude and unhelpful, and I will be making sure that they see this. I will certainly never give them my custom again.