Unsurprisingly, the burn in test result was a FAIL. In two-inch high, black and red flashing letters.
We recorded the session but at present we're unsure of legal ramifications and so are not yet posting it on the web. But here's a quick rundown of what happened:
The engineer turned up and turned on the monitor and saw "FAIL". That's when the excuses started. "That one's just the A-drive, because it didn't have a disk in it probably, and the CD drive, because that didn't have a disk in it either, ah, that one's the sound card..." and then he trailed off.
Next time he spoke, it was to express surprise at how slowly the machine was running. He agreed with us that we had not touched it since he left the previous day.
Steve told him that we had had enough. Forget fixing the thing - we wanted the shop to take the computer back and to give the owners their money back and call it quits. This is part of why I have not yet disclosed the name, address, website, etc of the shop in question - I have been hoping that things can be sorted out amicably.
At this point the engineer - who yesterday had been trying to befuddle us - started up on a theme of "I agree, I'm on your side". On the recording he can clearly be heard making the statement "I'll be honest with you, I came back here this morning half-expecting it not to work." He also made a couple of other comments about how he would feel and behave if all these problems were happening with a computer he had bought. However he preceded these with "off the record, and please don't quote me..." so I shouldn't really document precisely what was said. He insisted that he was just an engineer, and as such had no way of getting our money back, so he couldn't make any promises or take the computer away, we would have to speak directly to the manager. We agreed that the engineer had half an hour to call the shop and report the failure of the test to the manager, and then we would phone to discuss things.
I am extremely glad it was Steve who handled that phone call as it would have left me floored and god knows what it would have done to the owners of the computer.
The manager refused all suggestion of taking the computer back in exchange for a refund. He then accused us of tinkering with it, cited the "favour" he had done the owners by "repairing" the computer after the owners "messed it up" (trying to repair it themselves with the Windows disk). The pièce de résistance had to be when he told Steve that the computer had left his shop with all the hardware components it was supposed to have and therefore someone outside the shop must have tinkered with it - to us this sounded a lot like he was accusing us of opening it up, deliberately stealing pieces of hardware, and causing the issues ourselves, deliberately (I'm not sure why we'd do that?). Steve was shocked at this and asked him to clarify that this was what he meant. The statement was repeated, and not retracted.
The outcome of the conversation was an agreement that we should bring the computer in (again), he would test it (again), and call us by lunchtime the following day. If he found ANY problems with the machine, the owners would get a full refund. If not, the machine would be returned to us as a fully working, as-specified computer.
Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets...