Dispute Resolution
Computer Expert Evidence

Place County Court                                                                                       Case Number




Expert Witness's Summary Report




           Copyright Cliff Dilloway 1997. Author's moral rights are asserted.

Place County Court                                                                                       Case Number


Expert Witness Summary Report

1. Introduction

This Report consists of an Expert Witness's conclusions. To meet the strict rule of evidence that an Expert Witness's evidence must be disclosed in advance a separate Expert Witness's Explanatory report has been prepared. In the Small Claims Court the Explanatory Report should only need to be referred to if any of these conclusions are challenged.


2. My understanding of the dispute

I have not been supplied with any documents setting out the issues in dispute between the parties. From the various documents I have seen (and to some extent listening to P on the telephone) I set out below what appear to me to be the issues between the parties.

2.1      P was the owner of a 386 PC he acquired from his previous employer.

2.2.      P wished his computer to work faster so asked D to upgrade it to a 486 PC.

2.3      P was not satisfied with the operation of his computer after D had carried out the upgrade.

2.4      The PC was returned to D for rectification but P still found faults when the PC came back to him.

2.5      P had the PC rectified by others and is claiming the cost of these repairs.

2.6      D is denying liability, citing their terms of business which P said were never advised to him before contract.


3. Conclusions

3.1      An upgrade of a PC from a 386 to a 486 is a common commercial practice. My own PC has been upgraded from a 386 to a 486.

3.2      The upgrade of a PC from a 386 to a 486 cannot be achieved by the mere physical exchange of components. The software, particularly the AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS and CMOS information also needs to be changed. Neither the change of components nor the software is a standard "follow the book exercise". A considerable amount of technical knowledge well beyond that set out in my "Expert Witness's Explanatory Report" has to be used to achieve the right settings.

3.3      The complexity of the task of upgrading a PC from a 386 to a 486 is such that there may be mistakes made in doing the work. The close support needed to rectify the mistakes is part of the service that should be given by a supplier upgrading a PC from a 386 to a 486.

3.4      It appears to me that P put more time and effort into resolving computer faults that were not of his making than he should. The point I would make is that there are always "difficulties" when climbing the learning curve of doing anything a bit different with a computer. Computer systems have to be made to work. Persistence is required. At some point the persistence has to stop but most people (myself included) can see in retrospect that they should have sought assistance or taken some other more drastic course of action at an earlier stage.

3.5      The independent computer repair company's letter of 2 October reads true to me and describes what in my opinion is good sound practice in the investigation, determination and rectification of the faults in the 486 PC that P took to them. [Editorial Note: The "independent computer company" were a separate computer repair company that looked at the computer, found out what was wrong and fixed it. Their letter of 2 October was factual evidence that was available to the judge but is not quoted here.]

3.6      In my view, based on the evidence I have seen, D did an incompetent job in upgrading P's PC from a 386 to a 486. Having been given the opportunity D failed to rectify the faults they left on the PC after the upgrade.