New joint venture scam from Argos

A few days ago, one of my friends bought the cheapest laptop (netbook rather) in Argos catalogue: £199.99. It is called:

Zoostorm freedom netbook
Zoostorm freedom netbook

Zoostorm Freedom 8.9in Mini Laptop catalogue number 508/1842

So far, it is all right. But he knows almost nothing about computers and speaks very little English. He did not even know that it was not a proper laptop, and it did not even have a CD/DVD drive, but came with a recovery DVD!?

Anyway, he wanted to connect to a wireless router and browse the net and chat with relatives abroad.

I tried to help him and had a look at the netbook. First, I had to switch the wireless adapter on using the tiny keyboard (Fn + F1). It is enabled, good. It found the wireless router and we are connected. That’s fine. Open Internet Explorer and it could not even open Google. I opened a command line window and pinged Surprisingly, it could ping perfectly.

By the way there was a popup window kept bugging me to register: Bullguard, an internet security application. I thought he did not need that, also because it came with 60 day trial and after that he had to pay £45 for a year’s subscription! That sounded silly while home users have FREE alternatives!

I uninstalled it straight away!

Reboot was required, OK, we restarted the machine.

Fn + F1 to enable the wireless connection every time you start the netbook. But it could not even see wireless routers around?!

I looked at the device manager and there were faulty network components with usual yellow question mark icons!

The only thing I did to the netbook was to uninstall that stupid application!

But after a few hours of struggle I had to download the application on another laptop, copy it using a USB memory stick and install it again.

I have to mention that Zoostorm website has nothing, I could not find any drivers and copying the recovery DVD on to a USB stick did not work, because we did not have an external DVD drive either!

Then, I thought there is something funny going on and registered the Bullguard internet security and let it run.

Guess what?! We could connect to the net!

So, are we stuck with this stupid netbook called Zoostorm Freedom with Windows XP and Bullguard internet security?

Argos did not replace it with a better one even if he was willing to pay! The lady at the customer services section moaned about the state of the packaging, the way he was trying to return and wanted to show a sample so that he would learn how to return items of Argos! I said “is there a point to show that, you will not replace it anyway?!”

1. the item was non-returnable, you must be careful what you are buying
2. the package should not be torn, everything in it should be returned as you bought
3. next time he should go with someone who can speak english (that’s what she said!)

I will not be shopping from Argos next time! All the other things we bought from them included hundreds of pieces that had to be assembled!

It is not fun!

In the USA, people would easily sue Argos and Bullguard, and take more than what they paid!

At least, I recommend to stay away from them and cheap stuff which may come with a CATCH!

+++++++ UPDATE ++++++++

I left a message on Zoostorm’s website, filled in the contact form and requested windows drivers for the laptop. They replied 2 days later and said that I should contact Sykes, support company of Argos (?). They are not even able to let customers DOWNLOAD drivers of their own products!!


  1. don’t you think that your friend should have checked the specifications BEFORE he actually bought the laptop?
    it’s like I wanted to buy something from a French website (I don’t speak any French) and then complained that I got something which I didn’t want… Honestly, I even check the specifications of a coffee maker which is maybe 50 quid so cannot really understand how someone cannot be bothered to check what they are buying and spend like 200 quid on it and then complain…and don’t get me wrong but if your friend doesnt really understand what it says in a catalogue, he COULD have asked someone to translate it for him or at least use Google translator…it’s not really complicated…if you DO make an effort to type ‘mini laptop’ into google it will pay off with several hits stating that a feature of a mini laptop is that it has no cd drive…
    myself after reading your post i even MADE the effort of seeing this item in the catalogue – where does it say it HAS an external CD drive? well, it doesnt say it- it also doesnt say that the item doesnt come with a free of charge washing machine, are you going to sue someone because of that?
    seriously, a bit of common sense wouldn’t hurt…

  2. the drivers are contained within the recovery disc, if ur friend is unhappy that there is no dvd drive he needs to purchase an external dvd drive and check specifications before purchasing these kind of products

  3. When you guy any laptop it usually comes with trial this and trial that. MS office is a trail (the key is NOT on the bottom of the laptop btw), McAfee is a trial, etc, etc… The fun thing about bullguard is that, just like the old windows firewall it has a popup that says Such-and-such application is trying to access the internet! [Allow] [Block] [Cancel]… which did you click?

    Never had any issue uninstalling bullguard either. And reinstalling the drivers is pretty simple: right click in device manager, Uninstall, Restart. the system re-installs them.

  4. Thanks for the comments.

    + Hoping for the drivers, I copied the contents of the DVD on to a USB memory stick and transferred the files to the netbook, but it did not work and windows could not automatically reinstall the drivers itself.

    + I think bullguard does not uninstall its components well, and you are stuck with a kind of a malware 🙁

  5. my 17 yeaR daughter thought she was doing me a good thing by gettin me a laptop or shoiuld i say childs toy i have tryed everything with this mini thing and its nouse and am ok with comps. we done everything we could to get her money back but nothing.i want to boycot ARGOS ,imean why have a dvd in with it when u dont have other ways of putting it in. and it was a gift. i swear if its the last thing i do i will get my daughters money back

  6. Hi
    my boyfriend also bought one of these things! I must hasten to add before he met me or i would have disuaded him. He too has English as a second language and so I’m not sure he realised it’s limitations but to be fair until this weekend it did everything he wanted it to! whilst using it sat on a coach between London and Portsmouth the screen suddenly went blank!
    When you restart it you just get a blank screen and a cursor. BTW he was on the way to visit me so the next day I took him and this netbook to my friend who is an IT manager and has a first class masters degree in computer sciences (so i trust him implicitly). He ran some non invasive tests and has diagnosed a failure in the operating system ie windows.
    But how do we restore it without a dvd drive? anyone got any ideas.
    I cannot believe that today my boyfriend cannot find the receipt (it’s only 3 months old) and he paid cash so has no proof of purchase.
    I appreciate that he must take all the responsibility for the latter two problems. firstly i always keep the receipt and i register the product with the manufacturer and thirdly i never pay cash for anything like that!
    But he can ill afford to lose that amount of money and at the moment i have sent him home with my fairly elderly laptop so at least he has something but i’m gonna need it back sooner rather than later as I’m a full time student and use it constantly when not at home.
    anyone any ideas how to reinstall windows on it. he has nothing of importance actually stored on it so that’s not an issue. thanks in advance!

  7. This laptop is similar to the virgin media freedom netbook i think zoostorm makes virgins one on the virgin one switch on netbook and keep pressing F10 to get to the recovery backup of the system and on the normal zoostorms i think you press F8 after pressing on button to get to the recovery system process.

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