Fucking robbing bastards!

Don’t buy a computer from Time or Tiny Computers, now also known as The Computer Shop. For those of you outside of the UK, the above companies are part of the same group and are high street PC retailers, peddling generic build family PCs.

About 3 years ago I was looking for a laptop PC to make life easier while studying my Computer Science degree. I searched and searched for the best deal I could. I somewhat naively bought a laptop from Tiny Computers for around £900 which was the best deal at the time. I also paid for an extended 3 year warranty and a PCMCIA network card.

So within 2 weeks of my purchase Tiny went bust and were bought up by Time as they essentially occupied the same market. I still got my laptop and despite being under no legal obligation to honour the warranty, they did as I paid by finance agreement. Lucky me, all those that paid cash were left high and dry.

Within a month my network card became faulty and after about 8 or 9 calls, I was finally told they wouldn’t replace it. Fucking thanks. Not a biggie though, I bought a better quality and more robust card for £25. Its suddenly struck me though that I didn’t have a copy of the terms and conditions of my warranty agreement. Could I work out how to get one? Not a fucking chance. I got passed from department to department and gave up.

When I got comfortable with the way the machine was set up, I decided it was time to install Linux. The machine came with Windows XP Home preinstalled and no Windows disk. I needed Windows for my uni work. All of the installation was crammed into an inaccessible partition with a recovery CD to drag it out if it went wrong. So I phoned them up. “Hello, I bought my laptop with the intention of dual booting between Windows and Linux, the guy in the shop said it wouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t get a Windows CD, how do I wipe the hard drive and set it up again without a Windows CD? Can I drag out the installation from the hidden partition and put it somewhere, sort out the disk layout and put it back on the first partition?” To which they said no. If I want to install Linux I will have to lose my exisiting Windows installation and buy a new copy of Windows. “This,” I thought to myself, “is why people pirate copies of Windows.”

While on the line I asked another question. “Any chance of a run down of the hardware in the machine? Sound, graphics and motherboard chipsets, screen model and the like? It’s not available through your website or the documentation that came with the machine and the Device Manager just lists generic parts and rebranded part names.” “No.” “Thanks. Remind me to recommend you to my enemies.”

‘Fortunately’ for me, my uni has a deal with MS to offer a free copy of Windows to the Comp Sci students to allow them to produce new generations of Microsoft drones, grateful for what MS gave them when they were penniless students. So thats what I did. Wiped the disk, re-partitioned, installed a copy of Windows from uni and installed Linux. Thanks a fucking bunch Tiny. Good job I had that or it would have cost me £140 or whatever for a new copy of Windows XP.

After a year of owning the machine, the keyboard went haywire and started printing the wrong characters. Not a software problem, the fault exists in Windows and Linux. I phoned them up, they told me to fix it myself. Not too big a problem. They said it would be easier to just open it up and make sure the keyboard ribbon cable was seated correctly. So I did and it didn’t solve the problem so I phoned them up again, told them what I’d done, they started faffing, I started getting irate and they agreed to take it back and fix it for me. They did and charged me for the delivery. Bastards. On-site warranty my arse, free return to base my arse.

3 days after getting it back, the processor fan went and my CPU overheated within 30 minutes so I had to send it back again. Fair enough, this time they just fixed it and sent it back. No delivery charge. All is well except the laptop still runs hot and the fan clicks a little.

Whistle forward a year or so to about a month back. I noticed over christmas that the keyboard was starting to stop responding altogether. I opened it up, checked the cable and it made no difference unless I stretched it out. Obviously a damaged or dying line on the ribbon cable.

So I phoned them up. Explained to my very polite Indian call centre worker at the cost of £10 what my problem was. Indian call centre worker, no problem. 10 fucking quid when I paid for a deal that provided me with a freephone number not fucking cool at all.

So I had to send it back. Expected. My warranty had run out 3 days beforehand, fuck. My bad. Should have got around to it quicker. They would still take it back if I paid for parts, labour and carriage. Umm, well I have to, there is no way I can find the parts manufacturers and buy them myself. Best just to get the company that supplied it to sort it out. Yes ok, I’ll pay. They collected it the next day and said they’d phone with a quote when they had one.

A week later they did. “£160.” “What?” “£160.” “What the fuck for? A keyboard ribbon cable?” “No, a new keyboard, a new processor fan and a new copy of Windows as it is corrupted and thats the problem with the keyboard.”


“Right. First of all, I can’t afford that, I’m a university student. I have £400 to live on for 3 months. A new keyboard fine. A new processor fan? Well, it runs hot, but *you* put it in like that last year and it’s been the same ever since. A new copy of Windows? Not fucking likely. Look, it’s not a software problem, I have Windows and Linux on there and the problem is the same in both. It’s the ribbon cable, probably as a result of the poorly fitted processor fan causing it to run hot and melt the cable which runs just next to it, so you’d better replace that. I’m not paying for a new copy of Windows when I had to hose the one supplied cos the guy in the shop didn’t know what he was on about and I had to get a new copy anyway, which I have right here. Besides which, if the software were the problem, why are you replacing the keyboard?”


“Uhh, ok, I can tell them not to reinstall Windows.” “How much is it now?” “£96.xx” “Better.” So I handed over my credit card details. In truth, I could have argued the toss over the processor fan, given that they fitted it, but it was over a year ago and well I hadn’t complained at the time as I didn’t think it was a problem. “It will be back with you in 7 to 10 days.”

That was about 2 weeks before I had another guy phone up with the £160 quote and the same news. I told him I’d paid and I’d refused a new copy of Windows as I’d already had to get a new copy and besides Windows wasn’t the problem blah blah. So he apologised for the error of the repeat phone call and went away.

3 weeks on from the original fault call, I still don’t have my laptop back. Bastards.

They obviously have a policy of selling a new Windows license to every punter that returns a PC that doesn’t have the supplied version of Windows on it. Thats not fucking on. Besides I already have a copy of Windows and I don’t really use Windows anyway. As soon as I leave uni it will be off all of my machines. The thing is, if my machine only had Linux on it, they would have said that it was a Linux problem and they don’t support Linux so I will have to reinstall Linux or buy a new Windows license from them.

Time, Tiny and The Computer Shop. Thank you for fixing my laptop (I assume you are anyway) after the warranty has expired, but you fucking stink of sweaty, festering, mangey, flea-bitten camel arsehole. Really, you do.

You charged me £10 for the fault call because you moved your call centre to India so you can pay less than minimum wage to cheap third world workers. You build shit laptops that don’t stand up to regular usage and don’t provide any kind of hardware information, even on request. You fixed a keyboard and broke a processor fan. You fucked my machine up before and are charging me for a replacement of the part you didn’t fit properly which also caused another part to fail which you are also charging me to fix. And worst of all, you are charging me for something I don’t need because you thought I didn’t know what I was on about. Good job I do or I’d be 60 something quid worse off than I already am. What do you do with your regular customers that aren’t as technically aware as I am?

I think sloppy customer service from such companies is pretty endemic these days, particularly in the UK and from companies that are used to supporting people that don’t know anything about technical issues, but trying to charge your customers for things they don’t need is taking the piss.

Fucking robbing bastards!

24 thoughts on “Fucking robbing bastards!

  1. Yea – Fuckin robbing bastards – My laptop failed I just got a Operating System not Found on boot up. They should have supplied a reload disk so I can access there poxy hidden partition – they are however charging me £40 for this – my advice don’t by anything from them – not even a mouse mat !

  2. Tiny need a self containing Nuke on all their manufacturing plants, the twats. The hidden partition thing is not explained when you buy, only to be discovered when I try to format the cunt and find the machine won’t boot afterwards, probably cos it can’t read the boot sector as it’s hidden or some such other bollocks. Great, dead machine which I said I’d sort out free of charge for a mate which is now costing him a week in lost work time and me £40 lighter.

    If anyone here can let me download a disk image of the CD I’ll repay handsomely in 20GB of mp3s, apps, MAME games (I have a complete set), whatever you want. Thank you all and FUCK TINY.

  3. Tiny fortunately are bust like their machines.
    I had one and the screen kept going blank on my laptop and the key board jumps – maybe fleas eh ?!
    Like every other cowboy firm they got their just desserts as did their poor customer service staff.
    Another bunch of muppets – ONESTOPPHONESHOP – just got trading standards on to them so keep smiling as they are about to be sunk without a trace – like their mobiles…hee heee

  4. Yup, they’r bastards. My laptop screwed up and still will not load XP even with a new hard drive (using W98 now, yuch). Friend reckons its a con and the BIOS is frigged to only work with their reload CD. If they had not gone bust would be contacting trading standards.

  5. “””You charged me ?10 for the fault call because you moved your call centre to India so you can pay less than minimum wage to cheap third world workers””””….Whom are you reffering as cheap…

  6. i feel your pain

    never ever buy from eclipse computers aswell

    ordered a flatscreen monitor off them 3 weeks ago on next day delivery, it came last week without any cables so i phoned them up and they sent me some cables, only they were the complete opposite of what cables i needed. Still waiting for the cables to arrive.
    My mate also bought a case off them for next day delivery and it came back 7 weeks later smashed up and then they had the cheek to charge him to send it back!

  7. It appears another victim of the misery that has been left behind by Tiny has sorted his PC out. He says:

    “For your info, you may wish to communicate it thru your blog etc.
    Found that the problem was the BIOS version would not work with XP SP2. Microsoft seem to be the biggest villains around. Updated and reflashed from the OEM Uniwill site, PC has been fine since.”

    Just thought that would be useful to anyone who is searching Google for solutions to a non-booting Tiny PC.

  8. The following may be of help to some. I have a Time 8375 laptop with no Reload CDs or backup drivers etc.
    I completely formatted the hard drive and booted up and installed Windows XP Home using a friends original disk and my registration number.
    After a hectic search for drivers I found that the laptop is basically a MITAC 8375 so went to their website at http://mtc.mitacservice.com/visitor/v_FileDown2004C.asp

    I selected Notebook – 8375 etc and downloaded all the drivers I needed (Chipset, VGA, Modem, LAN, Card Bus, Sound, Infrared, Synaptec TouchPad). I now have a fully functioning laptop computer. They also have BIOS drivers and manuals but I was unwilling to flash the BIOS as the computer was working fine.

    Updated Windows with SP2 and all other updates and all is find including the modem which will now connect to any ISP I wish.

    Hope this helps



  9. i got back up CD’s when i bought the laptop but the backup cds are the wrong ones. what a bunch of money grabbing wankers

  10. I bought a Tiny 8375 Laptop. It has given me good service, but I have found it to wear and tear really really quickly and parts started to go all at once. I was stupid to buy this laptop, because before this, my old machine was a time, which contained all SECOND HAND PARTS, even though the machine was brand new. TIME AND TINY ARE SHIT, DO NOT TOUCH THEM!!!!

  11. also my XP laptop (TINY)came with OEM disks which were windows 2000????? strange

  12. Can I just say that since my last comment, the tiny laptop has gone in the skip

  13. Hi Everyone if you looking for the time 8375 laptop drivers 95% of the drivers you need to download are the Mitac 8375 drivers a. The Mitac 8375 is the same motherboard as Time 8375 the only additional driver you need is the wireless driver which is “RT2460 802.11b Baseband/MAC integrated chip” the link for the wireless driver is


    How I found the wireless driver a friend of me told me about CPUZ I downloaded the portable version from http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php I ran the program and clicked on the about tab>At the bottom of window there was a subheading called tools and button called registered dump (.txt) I saved the list then opened it in notepad searched in notepad document network controller. Then under network controller it told me the Vendor ID (0x1814) and Model ID (0x0101).

    With the Vendor ID and Model ID I went to http://www.pcidatabase.com/index.php on the website in the vendor search box I imputed 0x1814 and scroll down and found device id that said 0x0101
    it told me that id belonged to RT2460 802.11b Baseband/MAC integrated chip made by Ralink Technology Corporation. I looked on their website and could not finder the driver but it said on the PCI database that the was an alternative driver called “CNet CNWL-311” I search Google and found the drive on the following link http://www.cnet.com.tw/Driver/cnwl311ab2.01.zip I then downloaded and installed it and seems to work my only disappointment was that its maximum speed was 11mbps which is disappointing considering my external one is 54mbps.

  14. Nobody is saying the laptops are shit particularly, just that the suppliers are arseholes (and subsequently went bankrupt 3 times).

    However, they are cheaply made and fall apart easily. Mine went back to the suppliers 3 times. I’ve since replaced the disk with a larger, faster one, doubled the memory, replaced the battery and updated the BIOS but it is still painfully slow to use these days.

    Mine still has the original 1GHz Celeron. Under the covers it is either a rebranded FIC A360 or A360+. The BIOS thinks it’s A360+ which supports up to 1GB RAM and a 1.2 GHz Pentium III M, but Crucial (from whom I bought the memory) insisted it supported only 512MB RAM. The A360 supports up to 512MB and 1.1 GHz Pentium III. I haven’t upgraded the CPU as I’m not sure which of these it will support up to, but in any case the CPU seems to be the current bottleneck, or at least the only remaining upgradeable part.


    Battery life is also appalling, less than 1 hour on the new battery I bought. The laptop has no wired ethernet built in and much like most laptops of the era, no wireless built in either. By todays standards, it’s not a great laptop whether you like it or not.

  15. I have the reload disks and driver disks if you need them!

  16. I have the same problem, but with PC World.

    I bought a Advent PC there, biggest…mistake…of…my…life.

    Turns out theres no hardware support, no bios update, i look inside, i see a MSI mainboard, Medion ATI shitty gfx card that will barely run HALO, Medion Modem, Medion DVD drive with an LG sticker over it. Medion RAM, but its really Hynix, which are shit for system ram.


    If anyone can please please please help me get a bios update to remove the shit

  17. I have a laptop made by Tiny which I bought five years ago. The only problems I have had with it are installing Linux (the screen goes black and doesn’t do anything) and the fan. I’ve had it replaced once but I have stopped the insurance on it and need to fix it myself, but I can’t find any instructions on how to take mine apart or what fan I need to get. Its the AT2 series.
    When I got my laptop, I was very lucky, a week later the company went under, I had just got my old PC back from repairs a few days before, I could have ended up with no computers.

    As a little payback to the company, I told them to get all my data off my corrupted hard drive of my pc and put the data on the laptop, then replace the hard drive. They charged me £20 for the data transfere and forgot to charge me for the new hard drive. So I got a new hard drive in the PC for free!

    Also, for those buying a new laptop, do not go near the Phillips laptops, they aren’t made by that company, mine died in under a year and since been fixed its had worse problems. Plus the operating system doesn’t work and the DVD re-writer has never worked writing DVDs so I cannot reinstall vista. The laptop is basically unusable now so I’m using the Samsung N110 which is an awesome laptop, runs better than my Phillips laptop and has lower specs (I’m running an old version of photoshop perfectly which didn’t work properly on the other laptop).

  18. what ever you do dont use the mitac bios 8375 for the time 8375 ,,,, the bios works on the motherboard but not on the rom drive or the battery . i found this out when when my sound card stopped working after using there crap reload cds

  19. Hi everybody, sorry I’m late to the party. Beat this. I bought a time/tiny laptop in 2003 together with a subscription to their “Gold” service. It cost me, don’t laugh, £900. It was fine only I could not load any software onto it. It kept giving me an Entry Point error message. I rang their Gold service hotline and explained the problem and asked them for the solution. They said that they did not know. The computer is still working. I have been able to use MS Wordpad for my word processing, other than that, nothing. I know, I know, I am one of life’s sad victims. Maybe I am too trusting, but when I pay good money to a high street retailer like Computer World, I do not expect to have the piss taken out of me.

  20. Hi – I’ve got a Tiny laptop but can’t get past the logo – anyone know the BIOS access keypress(es) please?

  21. Hi, Like most of you I bought a Time craptop. Junked the recovery CD and installed XP pro with drivers from the driver CD for the 8375. That was about 2004.

    However it came with a pre SP1 recovery disc so it ended up with XP pro and worked well.

    Recently I found a new BIOS on the Mitac site. I downloaded this and the flashit.exe. I extracted the files to a floppy disk on another PC

    I have a Sony USB external floppy drive. Using the floppy made above I booted to A drive and used flashit.exe to save the old bios first (as whatever filename you want) then flashed the new bios. The instructions are all there at Mitac.

    Time were a bunch of moneygrabbers that much is true.

    I had to figure a way to stop their nag screen at every start to join their ISP, as they wanted to charge ne £1 per minute for technical support to remove it since it was not a warranty issue. A little registry editing took care of that!

    Fortunately I had declined their warranty at some horrendous yearly cost as they went busta couple of months later.

    Other than that it has been OK, just a bit slow by today’s standards, but a modern (g) rated wireless card has helped relaible Wi|Fi as the orignal (b) card was never very goosd at connecting.

  22. just tryed installing win7 on a time 8375 just to find out about bios lol i take it from what ive seen the bios wont let you install anything above xp sp1 ?

Comments are closed.