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PC Repair shops fail hidden tests

December 21, 2009

From Oregon Small Business Association,

Two different studies this year exposed serious problems in the computer repair industry which often goes unquestioned by many businesses.   The Wall Street Journal did a secret study with in-store computer repair being offered by big box chain stores.   Sky News did a hidden study that measured honesty and privacy concerns with the repair industry.   Both studies showed terrible results.

Staples and Office Depot have rolled out their own massive computer tech services campaign with the successes of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.   The Wall Street Journal criticized these stores as not the best place to start.  Their study concluded that a connection with a corporation doesn’t necessarily translate to efficiency and reduced costs.

At Staples, they were plagued with slow service, conflicting information and it took four trips to the store before the “Easy Tech” announced the computer couldn’t be fixed.  

At Best Buy’s Geek Squad, the technicians gave a complete report within a day evaluating and explaining the costs and options. Unfortunately, it cost $70 to learn that there was a bad hard drive and it wasn’t cost efficient to salvage the computer.

At Office Depot, they were given a computer requiring a minor fix and this small job ended up costing $200.   Office Depot was complimented for their speed of repair but had doubts about the qualifications of the technician (who was selling the office chairs the week earlier to the study researchers).

A study in Businessweek found that PC technicians aren’t always as honest as we may think.   When British TV’s Sky News and PC Pro magazine loosened a memory card in a computer and took it to six different repair shops, they received different responses.  All the technicians quickly discovered the lose chip and all but one said extensive repairs were necessary.  Two of the six technicians viewed some of the photos on the computer, and one tried to copy them on a USB drive.  To their credit, one store actually put the card back in place and told the customer there was no fee.   Having only one repair business that proved honest and effective is an unsettling statistic.

To better drive the point home further,  the State of California’s last month was faulted for their computer upgrade project being over-budget by $300 million.  The project is expected to be caught up in years of delay as well.

In the business world it is tempting to dump money into computer repair to achieve a quick fix.  The hidden tests demonstrate that it may cost you more time and money in the long run without proper accountability and oversight.

  
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Discuss this article

Whit Patrick December 21, 2009

I can’t understand why anyone choses a typical PC rather than an Apple Macintosh computer. Apple provides the best customer service and genius services of all the manufacturers. Their service personnel are the best there are. The computers retain more value over the years and you don’t even have to use the Apple operating system. You can run Windows exclusively if you feel you must. I’d recommend running Windows in a virtual emulator so that all of your viruses, trojan horses, and other compu-germs will only affect the virtual system and won’t infect your hardware.

Alphadog December 22, 2009

People choose PC for price. It is cheaper, not always better.

Ferndale MI PC Repair January 6, 2010

@Whit Patrick – people choose to start with a PC, not a Mac, because of the lower upfront cost, plus lack of availability of computer games and other software on the Mac.

Alex January 28, 2010

While I’m a competitor with the Geek Squad, and others listed, I’m surprised by the following statement:

“Unfortunately, it cost $70 to learn that there was a bad hard drive and it wasn’t cost efficient to salvage the computer.”

My business posts it’s hourly fee online, and we’re less than half the normal fee of the Geek Squad, but this is a typical fee for any reputable computer shop. Unfortunately, it takes time to diagnose any problem, no matter how small, or large it is.

I have another problem with this article, as it shows no real information on an actual computer repair story. What I mean is, this story points to SkyNews, and other video’s that even I’ve seen online. This isn’t a story, it’s someone that watched about 2 hours of YouTube videos and complained. There are no local computer shops (ie: Small Businesses) listed here, which disappoints me. Smaller shops TYPICALLY have better service, more qualified technicians, etc.

There’s a reason I don’t belong to the OSBA…

Nope January 28, 2010

@Ferndale – great way to get page rank, but I see a few problems.

1) You make blind statements about the Mac OS & software, that are incorrect. Try talking to actual repair technicians about what they use at home, you might be surprised. You might actually want to do do some research on the Mac OS before making another inaccurate comment.

2) “You” are not an official business. You are not registered with the state of MI, etc. Therefor, you are not collecting taxes on your computer repair jobs and such.

3) You are commenting on a story in Oregon, in hopes of increasing pagerank for your website, which I would date back to 1996 or so – completely based on looks.

As others move out of MI, why don’t you register your business, gain some knowledge, update your website then come back and comment on computer repair.

It’s sad, yet another _PT_ that just blindly comments in hopes of thinking he sounds good. It’s a shame, really.

Buyer beware – be careful who works on your computer. Pleas ensure that they’re registered with your state and are insured for the services they are providing.

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