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I have used AUT Direct on two occasions, both times actually visiting the premises to buy my items. Most people reading this may just use the website to order from AUT Direct so will not know how the shop works.
Their address is AUT House, Towerfield Close, Shoeburyness, Essex, SS3 9QP. Use http://maps.google.com for excellent directions, just type in their postcode. It is very easy to get to.
Once you arrive at their premises (AUTDirect is written clearly on it, you can't really miss it) the only problem is parking. When I got there once, there were no parking spaces along the road, but people were coming and going quite a lot. I had to park in a no parking zone and wait a minute for another car to leave, then go in their space. It could be more of a problem at really busy times.
Once you approach the shop there is a rather non-reassuring sign saying that if the website says a product is in stock, that doesn't guarantee they have it in stock! That's rather bad news if you do what I do, look at the website for the products you want then go in person to pick them up. Fortunately they had my products in stock on both occasions.
Once you enter there's a medium-sized room with a counter. When I went in the busy period I had to join the back of a queue of about 7 people, however there were 5 staff there to deal with everyone, and the queue went down really quickly. I overheard conversations with customers describing their problems and the advice seemed great, and well informed. Obviously in a different league to that of PC World, etc. They have a door which leads to what must be a massive storeroom at the back, where they keep all the items.
The staff were friendly and relaxed, and it was a much better environment to what I was expecting. I'd have been happy to ask questions if I'd have needed to.
So then, why use AUT in the first place? The prices for some items are unbeatable. Check out their website, they have some real gems, especially in the Specials section. Their prices, combined with their customer service, means I will keep going back.
I have not used their website to order but have used it to browse. It's a simple and quick website which I've never had problems with. Perhaps there could be a little more details alongside each item. Then again, if you know what you're looking for it's not a problem, and you can always Google for more information on the product if you don't.
If you order from the website, you have the additional expense of postage. These are the postage charges listed on the website:
Small Items under £20.00 in Value are sent Recorded Delivery costing £4.00
Small Items Over £20.00 in Value such as Memory, CPU's Sound Cards, Modems, are sent Registered Delivery costing £4.50 to £6.00 depending on Weight.
Larger items such as CD Rom drives, Cases, Systems, Monitors, are sent out by our Couriers City-Link costing £6.00 + VAT= £7.05 up to £20.00 for a complete Computer system and Monitor.
I quickly tested this by (pretending to) order a complete tower, and the website lets you choose from several delivery options. The cheapest was £10.00 to deliver a complete tower unit, so that's pretty good!
I'd recommend using their shop and also their mail order website, because you can phone them up as well as e-mail them if you buy mail order. AUT are also a well-established company having existed for many years (Google history) and their prices have been consistantly cheap for many years, so I can't see that changing anytime soon!