Time Computers denies tales of woe

Time Computers denies tales of woe

Summary: Rumours of financial troubles at Time Computers are just the work of a 'disgruntled employee', according to the firm's parent company

TOPICS: Tech Industry

An email claiming to detail a multitude of ills at Time Computers was dismissed by a company spokesman on Thursday as "a malicious mix of fact and fiction" and probably the work of a "disgruntled employee".

The message, which was circulated within the company on Wednesday, listed a series of alleged problems at Time Computers, including the allegation that the company had defaulted on a loan from HSBC, resulting in shop and head office staff being paid late two months in a row.

Speaking on behalf of the company, Richard Harris, head of human resources at Granville Technology Group, Time's parent company, admitted there had been some issues with the bank but insisted that employees had been kept informed of the issues at every stage.

He said he had read the email and was working to discover who had sent it around the company.

Harris also admitted that one of the directors of Time, Dr Tariq Mohammad, had left the company. The email claimed that four directors, including Dr Mohammed, had left.

Harris also "formally denied" another rumour that The Computer Shop is going to be bought by a company called Andy Clark and Associates.

Granville Technology trades under four main brands — The Computer Shop, Time Computers, Tiny Computers and Time Education.

Asked about the claim in the email that all of the company’s tech support had been transferred to India, Harris said this was not true and would be news "to the 145 people here". Harris added that after-hours tech support was handled in India, but a call put through to the Time help desk at 1615 BST was taken by an operator in Bangalore.

When asked about speculation that HP, one of Time's major suppliers, is worried about payment and refusing to supply computers, Mr Harris said; "That's not my area, I would not know about that."

Mr Harris reiterated that the email was the work of a malicious employee and that he and others at the group were "working very hard" to deal with the consequences.

Topic: Tech Industry


Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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  • Lets face facts. The PC hardware business is very competitive with wafer thin profit margins. Only Dell is able to make a decent profit out of what is today a terrible business. It wouldn't surprise me if this company was in trouble, don't forget Time bought out the bankrupt Tiny a few years ago.
  • time pcs are worthless junk mine bluescreened from day 1 and failed after just 18 months so i sent it for repairs, when i got it back theyd wiped the hard drive without bothering to inform me theyd do this!!!! i lost all my work i was told i should have been informed theyd do this but the idiot who took my order to return my broken pc forgot to tell me!!! so i stopped payments to them in protest 3 years later theyre still trying to get me to pay so im trying to get them to take me to court where ill expose their rubbish computers and service to the worlds media, no one buy one of these junk computers they put inferior components in them to cut costs so they can compete with proper pcv manufacturers but these crap components dont last causing you endless hassle, i have warned you all
  • I work at Time/Tiny and we have been told nothing officially. The place is full of rumour and everyone is worried about getting paid late next week.
  • Harris is full of it, we dont get informed of ANYTHING
    There are many rumours going around, the employees just want to know whats going on and no one will tell us. No one knows even if we are likely to get paid this month.
  • Actually there are less than 10 PC Tech Support left at time - rest handled by India
  • Any Time/Tiny/Granville employees worried about the current state of the company should urgently join or talk to the GMB Union. The nearest office is less than a mile from Time head office
    Address is
    Mercury Rise, Sykeside Drive, Altham Business Park, Altham, Lancashire BB5 5YE
    Phone 01282 779322
    Join NOW before the company goes bust - it can only have a week or so left
  • I work at Time and everyone is really panicking about their jobs. If there was nothing going on surely the company would tell us to dispel the rumours. The latest rumour is that we are being taken over by Comet. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen. I don't expect that we will be paid on Friday - the company seems to be in a real mess!
  • This is all true, i worked as a sales assistant in the Southampton branch of the Computer Shop until they turned up unnanounced 3 weeks ago and closed it. The bloke from head office even had my dates of employment wrong and when i correctd him, he actually argued the case with me!
    Andy Clark is a new National Sales advisor with the company so id doesnt surprise me that he might buy the retail side.

    Saying that we were kept informed of the 2 late payments is simply a lie, The emails to us only came when Payroll recieved numerous complaints from staff, otherwise they wouldnt have told us, and they never gave us the reasons why.

    Another note, the person whom Andy Clark replaced, a person called Amjad, was removed from the position (NOT sacked) bacuse rumours went round that he threatened to kill someone in the comnpany. Sounds silly, but these rumours came from a lot of ppl very quickly after a big managers meeting. He was also mentioned in the national press about some massive tax evasion, but the details were sketchy, im sure you can find more...

    Aso, i direct your attention to this site


    Which has some comments from other staff.

    To summarize, Time computers / Granville technology are the worst company i have worked for ever, they really do not give a shit about their customers, they only want to take as much cash as possible from them.
    If you want to more, let me know

    James Ashman
  • all computer shop managers have been informed tonight that they must send home their staff tomorrow (tuesday 26th) and close their stores for the day. This is apparently due to the fact that hsbc now refuses to process the credit card payments of the company.
  • Well I can see that HSBC may decline to process anymore payments. Plasma CS are currently advising customers that the scheduled deliveries are not going to take place due to production hickups...... Yet VMT (the production company) have been sent home for the week yet again!!!!! customers have been promised deliveries from 04/08/05 yet there is nothing being built HHMMMM wonder if the same story will be out next week. I believe customers are going to get stitched up.. there is a lot of activity but nothing productive and all cloak and dagger stuff.... customers just get lie after lie and so do the staff. Harris is a deaf old sod who wouldn't know what day of week it was without an assistant. The company, for as long as it has been open, has been run like a corner shop. It has employed some very intelligent people, on high salaries, to help but not taken advice and continued in the same vane. Customers are the last people on Tahirs' mind, and always have been. If the bank is involved I suggest they take a close look at the books and figures to see if they have been manipulated in any way (whistle whistle). If run properly the Plasma and Education side of the business is viable but not as it is now The PC market has been flooded with Time/Tiny crap and will probably never recover. As for denying tales of woe just how stupid do they think everybody is.. Salaries weren't paid on time, the first time nobody knew the second time they did, in advance. They have made many redundant and transferred most calls to any one of three call centres in India. There is a core Tech at H/O but only for call backs and other such duties. A vast majority of the staff are on either..... wait you'll laugh at this........CALL QUALITY!!!! or CS. The CS staff are fire-fighting with petrol and don't stand a snowballs chance in hell because there is no backup from senior managers.... I could go on and on and on and on,,, but there is little point as nothing will be achieved
  • Lets face it thew company has gone. I was employed by Tiny back in the 90's and jumped ship b4 they went but decided to go back.. what a mistake..

    Getting paid late, company having NO plasmas for people,,, at 5pm today we were still encouraged to sell sell sell as they call it...

    They knew what they were doing. Just spoke to my area manager on the phone and apparently we will get paid... and then the flying pigs will do a fly past for me. I'm out of pocket due to lost wages, will I get any? Will I heck.

    I hope Richard Harris gets whats coming to him... he was invited to a conference call with the south region @ 1pm but then cancelled as he needed time to gather the facts they said... more like to get out!!!!

    Cumon Andy Clark, put your money where your mouth is and help us out by buying the place...
  • all i can say is *balls* ... once again a tits up approach by time and its magical and * special* team of management - role on redundancy payments.
  • I also work for "the computer shop" and I now relise what has happend today, it now makes more sense by reading this article. As all store managers have been told to send staff home and tell them the same crap about credit card proceesing I somehow think this is rubbish and just a cover up. Tiny.com and the rest of time group are stil trading as normal, its just "the computer shop" chain which also use hsbc. I do wonder if I will actually have a job to go back to on tuesday, I think not unless bought out, some are saying dell or pc world or even comet. I cant see Andy Clark taking it over its a far too big operation.
  • All Stores are closed. We dont know whats going on, and we work here. It seems like noone is telling the honest facts here. In other words, the shit has hit the fan.
  • Strange things have been going on in the company for while now, such as getting paid late. Now no-one will tell us the truth about why the stores are shut today. We are just on leave until further notice due to "a dispute with the bank". A load of people in HO retail support were laid off, there's hardly anyone left, and there's been stores closing down left right and centre. Everytime staff question this, they are hushed. We are not allowed to ask questions, for fear that we will be the next one to be laid off. People get sacked fro having terrible sales figures... but half the time they arebetter than certain members of staff who are chummy with people high up in the business. What can we do though? Now we are all going to be left out of pocket and out of a job. Never ever buy from this company. Ever. If they treat their staff this way, I feel sorry for the customer. And yes, they do dodgey components. A customer wanted to send his PC back for a new hard drive because the old one was knackered. He asked for his old one to be returned, and the person at HO said "No, the manufacturer needs it back for parts." Says it all.
  • As an ex-employee of the company (i left in early June so still have a good perspective) I feel genuinely sorry for all my collegues, both in the store i was in and all those from other stores. They deserve none of this uncetrainty that has befallen them.

    In the defence of tiny as a company contrary to belief the machines are actually good - they use off the shelf components from major manufacturors and sell them at almost cost price. I would not have sold a Tiny machine to members of my family otherwise.

    I think that ultimatley tiny have been selling machines too cheap and this has lead to the problems that have alledgedly arisen. In particular the plasma screen have been far far unpriced and this has drained money from the company.

    I think it is a shame that mismanagement by the national sales director who was replaced by Andy Clark ( those who worked in the company will know exactly which raving lunatic I am talking about - so do the inland revenue!!!!) has left the company in this poor position.

    I hope that those affected find there way - I managed to find a way out. I have worked with some of the best of the best in that firm and they have taught me alot about sales and management ( thanks to Capt Picard and Gandlaf the Grey - you know who you are!!). Have faith that the company will do its best for you - i was made redundant after a store closure but taken back and promoted within a week. Keep your heads up and all the best!

    Those that know me drop me a line - you will figure out who i am after reading this.
  • Hi, I recently left the company (Last friday).

    I still cannot believe that they have managed to hang on for so long. Gettng paid late for 1 month was enough to send the charges high, but for it to happen 2 months in a row was the biggest shock. All the company could do was say that there was an issue with the bank! I now don't know if I'll even get paid this month, and even though I have started a new job, is quite a worry. When they changed to comm structure from geting paid for cleared payment to invoiced sales alarm bells should have started.

    Over the last few months I had daily complaints about late delivery or poor service from customers, and all I could tell them was that stock was due in any day soon (WHEN?)

    Even until I left last Friday, we were still been pushed by area managers to sell goods that didn't even exist, and I have little faith in any of them actually receiving the gods, especially the plasma screens (what a disaster that has been!)

    I have to say that over the years Time / Tiny have had some good products let down by the quality of the build or support that is available, and I can understand why customers get very frustrated, if only we could have helped them at store level.

    I feel sorry for my friends and colleagues still involved with the company, and hope that it all works out for them.

    Take care guys and good luck!
  • Alarm bells have been ringin for a while, rumours of take overs going wrong & then blaming the bank when we got paid late 2 months in a row.!!!!
    Its all very worrying. No one has been told for sure if we will get paid on time ...if at all. Although it seems highly unlikely. If the company is in as bad a state as it would seem then the staff will be way down the list of priorites (not much new there then)

    I feel heart sorry for the customers too. People have paid for Pcs and plasma tvs that theyll never receive. Some of the orders reported to be getting sent out in august were ordered in May !!!!!!! with an estimated lead time of 28 days (not out by too much then!!)
    And dont even get me started on the HP laptops or the thousands of orders they have for laptops that they dont have the money to buy the parts for!!

    Easy saying these things happen in business but that doesnt help the customers who will have lost money or the staff who if they get paid should view it as a minor miracle .

    I think if we knew what was happening it wouldnt be so bad but as it stands the staff are in the dark. Richard Harris has lied in saying weve been kept informed because we havent.
    So we all just have to wait and see !!!!!!!!
  • ALL stores are closed, all staff are at home wondering if they still have jobs, nobody been told about whats happening, company looking like its the end..

    there has been problems for a while and this is the show from it, will we all get paid?
    will the customers get their computers?

    is this the end???