Dixons' Clare speaks out against Which? report

Dixons chief executive John Clare has written to Dame Sheila McKechnie, chief executive of the Consumers Association (CA), slamming a 'campaign of misinformation' about extended warranties.

Clare's broadside followed the publication of an article on warranties in this month's edition of Which?. The article claimed that warranties are 'usually too expensive, generally go unused' and cost shoppers£800 million a year.

He rebutted the magazine's arguments point by point, dealing with stores' alleged use of hard-sell tactics and the claim that modern product reliability means warranties are redundant. Clare complained that no one from the CA had taken Dixons up on an offer to listen in to helplines and see how customers are dealt with.

Clare wrote that the lack of interest 'perhaps explains what I believe to be the outdated and inappropriate views that your association continues to take to after-sales support for electrical products'.

He continued: 'The Consumers Association's over-simplification of a very broad and competitive product offering both misunderstands the complexity of electricals retailing and the needs of today's customers, and risks severely misleading those customers.'

Clare said that many shoppers cannot afford unexpected call-out charges, repair bills or the failure of an appliance.

A spokeswoman for the Consumers Association said that the organisation stood by its claims and that it will respond to Clare's letter.

The issue of electrical goods warranties is being investigated by the Competition Commission.