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Expert Reviews bans OP3 PCs from review

David Ludlow
21 Jun 2011
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We look into the new and old manufacturers of OP3 PCs

Following our report that the manufacturer of OP3 PCs, Top Banana Computers Ltd, had ceased trading, Expert Reviews has decided not to review any future OP3 computers based on further investigation.

Last week we were made aware of an email sent to customers from the OP3 Legal Department.

"On 31st May 2011, Top Banana Computers Ltd ceased to trade following a period of financial uncertainty and difficulty caused by lower than expected orders due to the current economic climate in the UK. At this point, in line with the terms of its licence, the authority to use the OP3 brand was withdrawn. With no assets and significant debts it is expected that the company will be wound up in the coming months by its creditors. Any customers who ordered through Top Banana are urged to contact their card issuer to seek refunds for outstanding orders. The company offices have been closed with immediate effect," read the statement. "On 6th June 2011 the authority to use OP3 brand was quickly snapped up by T3 Computers Ltd. T3 Computers Ltd was granted the licence to use the OP3 brand by its owners."

This was the first time that we were aware that the OP3 brand had changed hands. When complaints about the company began to arrive from Expert Reviews readers, we were in contact with Zak Ali, managing director of Top Banana Computers Ltd according to the Company Register Information, where he's listed by his full name of Mohammod Zakar Ali (company number 07130606). This information is borne out by a LinkedIn profile, which lists Zak Ali as "Managing Director of Top Banana Computers Limited TA OP3.co.uk", available in the Google cache. Ali is currently sales director of T3 Computers Ltd.

Zak Ali MD of Top Banana Computers Ltd

On May 27th 2011 - four days before Top Banana Computers Ltd ceased trading - Ali told us by email, "We have just been bought by a new LTD company so trying to sort everything is a nightmare."

From this information, we assumed that the entire company had been bought and that existing customers would have their orders satisfied. Then, on the 3rd June 2011, three days after Top Banana Computers Ltd had ceased trading and three days before T3 Computers Ltd had "snapped up" the OP3 brand, Ali sent us an email talking about the company's move to new premises stating that, "Even though we ordered the phone lines for the new place 2 weeks ago the earliest they will be installing the phones and broadband is 21st June, I know it’s a joke. I’ve just been out and bought USB Internet dongles for every one for the time being.

"We will be contacting all customers over the weekend, and hopefully get a message on the website explaining the situation and alternatives points of contact," the email continued.

Ali told us that the phone lines for the new premises were ordered two weeks before June 3rd 2011, which is before Top Banana Computers Ltd ceased trading and before T3 Computers Ltd acquired the OP3 brand. After requesting new contact details, we received a new email from Ali on June 4th 2011. This contained a PDF of the new company details and listed the company's name as "T3 Computers Limited". In other words, two days before T3 Computers Ltd acquired the brand, according to the OP3 Legal Department, Ali was sending out its contact details as the manufacturer of OP3 computers. At this point, we believed that T3 Computers Ltd was the new owner of Top Banana Ltd.

After we received the legal statement about Top Banana Ltd, we decided to investigate T3 Computers Ltd further. According to Companies House, T3 Computers Ltd was incorporated on the 17th May 2011 and the MD is Kerry Collins (company number: 07637628). This is confirmed on the OP3 About Us page, which has a picture of Collins and a caption that reads "Managing Director".

KerryCollinsMD

Retrieving the OP3 About Us page from Google's cache showed that when OP3 PCs were manufactured by Top Banana Computers Ltd, the same picture of Kerry Collins was used (the filename of the image is called kerrycollins.jpg), although she was called "Kerry Ali" and listed as "Telesales Manager" on the site.

KerryCollinsTelesales

This is borne out by Kerry Collins' LinkedIn page (now removed), which lists her as "Telesales Manager at Top Banana Computers Limited TA OP3.co.uk)" as well as "MD & Senior Complementary Therapist at Touch 3".

Kerry Collins LinkedIn

Visiting the Touch 3 website we found a link and logo to the www.custombuildmypc.com (a website selling OP3 computers run by T3 Computers Ltd), as well as listing OP3 and Custom Build My PC.com on the Affiliates page. The About Us page of Touch 3's website has been altered, but Google's cached version of the page starts, "Touch 3 was established by a qualified therapist Kerry Collins".

Hexus spoke to Kerry Collins, who confirmed that she was MD of T3 Computers Ltd, as well as running her complementary therapy company.

Kerry Collins Touch 3

When we asked Ali if Kerry Collins had worked at Top Banana, he said, "No, that was Kerry Linda." Interestingly, a PC Retail Marketplace company profile on OP3.co.uk lists Kerry Linda Collins as leading the "telesales team".

We emailed Ali with a list of questions and the right to reply, but we have so far not heard anything back. As a result of our investigations, we will not be reviewing any products manufactured by T3 Computers Ltd. All awards and ratings for previous OP3 PCs manufactured by Top Banana Computers Ltd do not apply to PCs bearing the same name or specifications manufactured by T3 Computers.

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