Maplin Electronics – if it’s under £100 and lasts a year that’s as much as you can expect

Way back in March 2012 Maplin sold me this 7″ TV from Maplin. My main application was lining up security cameras, but I also thought it would be useful for checking the weather forecast when in our campervan. As it was I didn’t realise there is no useful Teletext replacement on digital TV. A smartphone and the weather page on the BBC website is far more practical, unless you’re in parts of Scotland. And then you probably don’t get DTT service either.

Today I wanted to rig a camera looking at the massive Barn Owl box kindly provided by Suffolk Wildlife Trust at the Oak Tree farm because a barn owl is a frequent visitor, occasionally to be seen at the box and there’s loads of bird crap underneath it, and some owl pellets, or so I am told by people who know about this sort of thing. I get to see this, rather than a blue screen I’d expect with no signal

Maplin customer service is crap
One dead Maplin TV that they refuse to replace

So I take advantage of the glorious sunshine and take a wander through a couple of recs and the park, to it back to the store

And they refused to replace it or refund. It was the usual runaround, sorry sir, yes, I agree it’s a bit short for the TV to fail but company policy is yadda yadda. They suggested I contacted Maplin Customer Services, where I talked to Kirsty who repeated the story. I educated her as to the Sale of Goods and that this TV was not of suitable quality as consumer durables should last longer that a year and a bit and she more or less said “f*ck you, so sue us” I wish I had a recording, but since I used Maplin’s phone to avoid paying some usurous 0844 charge I couldn’t do that. Next time I will take one of those sucker pickup coils and a recorder.

I really try and avoid using the phone with big firms. If I have to deal with them then writing a letter is usually quicker and cheaper, plus it wastes less of my time. But if I do have to use the phone then I always record the call as a matter of policy.

This reminds me that there are added advantages to not buying consumer crap. Not only do you not spend money. You also don’t get the sort of deliberate frustration that companies like Maplin set up to reduce their costs by avoiding their legal obligation to supply goods of suitable quality.

I remember Maplin from a time when it wasn’t a purveyor of cheap Chinese crap but actually a supplier of useful components. They took a business decision somewhere in the 1990s to get out of the electronics hobbyist market and into the gadget end, and increased their prices to about one and a half times what they should be. And became a damn sight more successful 😉

Now I can’t really get too excited about the £70, but I sure as hell don’t like being taken the piss of. So I got onto MSE and looked at what I should have done and exactly how to put the letter which will be the next step. I suspect that Maplin take the Ryanair policy of customer service. They spend the money on training their staff to runaround complainants enough  that they give up, and in the end there’s only so much effort I’m going to put into this.

But it’s a little bit more than rolling over. I’ve taken MSE’s template letter, though I’m not going to threaten legal action fo a £70 TV, otherwise I think the people in Maplin’s complaints centre would be justified in having a titter.

The official Maplin policy seems to be –

If it’s under £100 and it lasts more than a year, that’s it, sunshine. It doesn’t owe you anything

Not only does this sort of shoddy approach contribute to the amount of e-waste, it’s also taking the piss. A TV is not a consumable item. Okay, 10 years is asking a bit long, but five years is a reasonable minimum service life to expect.



8 thoughts on “Maplin Electronics – if it’s under £100 and lasts a year that’s as much as you can expect”

  1. This is genuinely one of the reasons why I rarely buy stuff. I am continually amazed at the willingness of my friends to traipse around, wait in for people, phone people up, get an engineer out, wrap it up, take it back, get it repaired, etc etc etc.

    Talk about buyer’s remorse…


  2. @Monevator – maybe I need to add Stuff is Overrated to the recurring theme Work is Overrated 😉

    Somewhat to my shame, I have now found I don’t need a monitor to line up a CCTV camera. A fine piece of Old Style technology, called a wire viewfinder is all that I need, for the cost of two paperclips. D’oh…

    @Greg, thank you – that’s going to save me some money when I call up TD to Bed and ISA my sharesave shares 😉

    In all fairness to TD they do sort of spill the beans on their contact form as the number for international callers but saynoto0870 listed that as a UK alternative 🙂


  3. I agree with TI. It becomes a lot easier to opt out of consumerism when you only have poor quality stuff as the choice.

    I find that today there really is no relationship between price and cost. The expensive stuff might carry a brand but it rarely seems to be better quality.


  4. Hi ermine,
    A reasonable article, but I see modern trinkets that we now buy as the glass, beads and mirrors that we used to supply the natives with in the good old Victorian days. In exchange for al their useful stuff.

    Now they send all their Crap to us in exchange for our I.O.U’s. What is interesting is that a lot of this C??p whilst being made over in the third world is designed in the west and built in factories largely owned by the west.

    One major exception being TATA Industries (India) which is still owned by the TATA family, who still own most of the shares?
    In fact India is very much the exception to the rule in Asia, only allowing inward investment (on their own terms) whilst being quite happy to buy into and take over Companies in other countries. It is only the last few years that it has reluctantly opened its doors to foreign investors.

    I digress, before we buy any more of this imported trash, we should look hard and long and ask ourselves,
    a] do we need it?
    b] does the price reflect it’s true cost of the low wages economy? Not what they [the owners] think that they can get for it?

    Otherwise we get ripped off twice, one we lose jobs for our workers and two, workers in the third world in turn get ripped of by their employers [and shareholders]
    Plus we send tax-payers money to aid the poor in developing third world countries, a bit like Companies in the UK employing people at poverty level wages, being subsidised by the taxpayer via Working tax Credits etc. Then compounding it further by exploiting any legal loop-hole that it can find to avoid paying UK Tax.

    I shall stop now, I am sounding like Victor.


  5. @Lupulco,

    “Plus we send tax-payers money to aid the poor in developing third world countries, a bit like Companies in the UK employing people at poverty level wages, being subsidised by the taxpayer via Working tax Credits etc. Then compounding it further by exploiting any legal loop-hole that it can find to avoid paying UK Tax.”

    Don’t forget the double subsidy to BTL via tax relief on mortgage interest payments and housing benefit! See Fig. 3.3 in .


  6. You’re not going to even threaten legal action for £70 – have you gone stark raving mad? This is what the small claims court was designed for and it will cost them well in excess of £70 to defend the case. The judge may take a dim view of this article, however.


  7. @ GOP
    Interesting link, but don’t get me on to the BTL Parasites. They bloomed when Mrs T sold off all/ most of the Social Housing to buy votes. Then prevented councils from keeping the money from the sales.
    hence the shortage of Social Housing, High rentals, soaring house prices, followed by a massive rise in Housing Benefit. Which the party in power says, “it’s the previous governments fault?”
    Up to a point they are correct, if New labour? had had the courage of their forefathers they would have scrapped the right to buy at 50% discounts. Yes sell, but at the Market price for those who wish to buy.
    BTL should be treated as a business, property charged at business rates with the BTL owner picking up the tab for business rates for the full year whether the property is empty or not. The tenant pays council tax as they do now.
    The fair rent should be based at 5% of the market value, whilst the housing benefit should be a maximum of 80% of this figure.
    If the government then started a massive building program for social housing, it would boost growth, reduce unemployment and reduce house values.


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