PC World has infuriated rivals Time and Tiny by publicly rubbishing their free and reduced priced PC offers and subsequently announcing its own discounting scheme three days later.
The PC World offer requires the consumer to sign up to Cable & Wireless for a year when they buy a PC. At the end of the period, the customer receives a cheque for £100, £200 or £300 if their phone bills are above £17, £25 or £42 per month respectively. Alternatively, a discount of up to 43 per cent is offered on national calls, as well as 200 minutes toll free Internet use.
But the offer has enraged Time and Tiny because it was revealed three days after John Clare, chief executive of Dixons, launched an attack in a national Sunday paper. Clare claimed the average monthly telephone bill was about £10 a month and that "anybody who looks at the detail of the fine print will ask, 'What the hell am I doing being sucked into this?'."
He added: "You will need to make a lot more calls to get to £25 a month and if you don't, you'll still have to pay £25 a month or lose any claim to a free PC."
A spokesman for Tiny said: "It confirms our model but Clare's comments to the press are annoying. And then he completely contradicts what was said by launching a similar offer."
Steve Simpson, marketing director at Time, added: "We're not impressed with the PC World offer at all. It seems that everyone is trying to derive revenue from telephony. I don't think it's a great deal for customers."
Nazir Jessa, managing director of Watford Electronics, said: "There are always going to be costs associated with such an offer - after all, we are in business to make money. I am surprised that PC World has jumped in - the offer doesn't seem to suit its model."
For more stories see this week's issue of PC Dealer UK
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