Scams abound in my industry so I figured I’d talk about some of the more common ones. Like anything used every day, when a computer repair is needed customers tend not to get second opinions and simply go with their first stop. Do your homework and get an opinion before spending your hard earned money unnecessarily.
How shops are getting away with hourly repair rates amazes me. It used to be shops charged by the hour and could get away with it because of the cost of computers. Computer repair shops today should be charging a flat rate based on the repair.
Computer repair shops are notorious for finding other issues that weren’t disclosed in their initial assessment. A good technician should be able to find major issues during the initial diagnostic. Truthful shops will provide this information upfront so you have a good idea of what to expect for a price.
Although computers may be complex beasts for those needing to visit a repair shop, a good technician should be able to diagnose a machine relatively quickly. Paying for a diagnostic today is not necessary. Most shops that still charge diagnostic or bench fees are doing it to hook customers into a repair.
Overpriced repairs are the mainstay of stores that also sell computers. Big box store repair prices are generally much higher than the industry average to sway customers to purchase new. Not only does the big chain store make money on the new computer, but they make money moving your data to the new machine.
Extended waiting times to have a repair completed are completely unnecessary. Virus removals take about 3-4 hours if done properly. I’ve been hearing stories about computer repair shops taking days and weeks to complete the bread and butter of my industry. If a shop takes longer than a day to complete a software job they’re doing something wrong unless they’re really busy. Even then, it should be completed the next day.
Data snoops are everywhere in my industry, it’s simply unavoidable. Many years ago I realized customers felt better about us doing repairs in plain view so I moved our repairs to the front of the store. Although I don’t want customers hanging around watching us work, it makes customers feel more at ease knowing my technicians are less likely to sift through their files.
I’ve never understood why shops don’t return broken parts to customers. Hard drives should be returned to customers because they contain everything done on that computer. Most shops simply toss bad hard drives without physically destroying them. Fact is, they contain your personal data and until they’re crushed data may still be retrievable.
Before you have work done or sign a contract you should ask who will be performing the work on your computer. Many larger shops are moving to remote service because it’s far less expensive. Sometimes the repair tech is an employee of the business, but many times the store is contracting outside vendors to perform the work. Many repairs simply can’t be completed correctly if the tech isn’t in front of the computer.
(Jeromy Patriquin is the President of Laptop & Computer Repair, Inc. www.LocalComputerWiz.com.)