Computer repair shops

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by ohblu, Oct 5, 2010.

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  1. ohblu

    ohblu Registered Member

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    So last year my grandmother took her computer to "store A" to have it repaired. The store ended up stealing a 1 GB stick of memory.

    So I told my grandmother that a really nice tech guy at the local school who used to own his own computer store had recommended "store B". So she recently took her computer there when it wouldn't turn on. They replaced the PSU which had died but they also charged her for all this other stuff.

    They removed the anti-virus and anti-spyware program that she had recently purchased and installed another brand and charged her for it. She never told them to do that and they didn't ask if they could. They "cleaned" out her computer by emptying the cache and removing programs she uses on a daily basis. They removed her (free) firewall program and Weatherbug (her favorite program) and a few other things, and they charged her for it. I don't think she gave them permission to do that, and besides, that's my job.

    She's had problems with two other places as well. The one place fixed a video driver problem by removing a working video card (and taking it with him) and installing a new one.

    Are there any honest repair shops or repair people? How do you prevent stuff like this from happening? Are you supposed to stand there and watch over their shoulder to make sure they're not screwing you over? These people are worse than mechanics.
     
  2. NoIos

    NoIos Registered Member

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    Honest yes there are...but it's hard to find. Best thing in life...be as much self-sufficient as possible.

    For sure there is the law that is supposed to be there to protect your rights and in your case your pc and money. Although sometimes protecting yourself requires more money than the cost of the damage...1gb of ram or one PSU and some software.

    In any case your grandma did wrong to not call immediately her lawyer and report the thing to the local authorities. Best way to defeat these guys...spread the word about their practices.

    There is another way............get your friends and play...bull in a glass house...in their store.
     
  3. acuariano

    acuariano Registered Member

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    well..here in new york i have no other choice than bestbuy,imagine..
    i knew some great guys at northern blvd. but thy gone already...
    really hard to find an honest pc shop.
     
  4. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    I agree. People who behave this way are used to not being challenged. I bet they would have made it right after receiving a call from a lawyer with a threat to sue. You have to advocate for yourself.

    As far as finding trustworthy techs, you can do that the same way you find other contractors, i.e. word of mouth. Ask everyone you know until you get a recommendation. My main source of new customers is recommendations from my old customers.
     
  5. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    Can't find the article any more, but a while ago a British consumer foundation or something like it disconnected some part of 10-20 notebooks, making them unable to start. They were all loaded with advanced keyloggers and sent to different repair shops. The results were shocking. A lot search the computer for photo's etc and also some tried to steal passwords for banking etc. They also replaced parts that were unnecessary, one called them back that a part was broken(which of course wasn't) and told them they needed to get a replacement, they said no and they wanted the notebook back, they got it back and found out the computer repair shop destroyed that part themselves, so they would have to send it in again. The list goes on and on with outrageous results, even if they were honest, they charged way too high prices for work that only needed a few minutes etc. In the end only 1 or 2 shops did their jobs right and charged fair prices.

    I would say fight back and sue their ~ Snipped as per TOS ~! Bad publicity works great as well, naming "store A" and "store B" would be a good starting point :p
    My advice, if your computer is broken, ask someone you know with good computer knowledge first before and try to fix it together with him/her. If you got no choice and are stuck with BestBuy(try searching computer repair fraud, lots of results with Best Buy Geek Squad in it..) or others, make backups of your data and to be sure, wipe or encrypt your HDD. Doing a clean install + keylogger after a wipe might be fun too + you have evidence when going to court :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2010
  6. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I couldn't agree more. In my experience, shops have been either dishonest or incompetent (or in some cases both). I did find one shop that is highly capable and efficient - they charge $190 per hour plus parts; so before long, it is just cheaper to replace a computer.

    So yeah - you have to go it on your own - with some great advice right here at Wilders.
     
  7. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    Number of times I have taken any or all of my computers to a repair shop or had a technician come to the house to fix them over all the years that I have been online = ZERO.

    Number of times I have used one computer to heal the other computer = I've lost count.

    Wilders will set you free! :D
     
  8. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    i guess im lucky enuff to know a good computer guy whos always fair and honest, never tried to screw around with the system, install unwanted software or "break"/steal any of my parts, only used him once myself, but my dad's a regular :p
     
  9. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Yeah, it's bad enough I have to brave taking automobiles to a repair shop when I don't have all the tools and competency to fix it myself.

    Thankfully, the only time I ever had to take a machine to a "shop" was to get insurance coverage on a lightning strike that fried a NIC and a few other things. They wanted a quote/receipt from a "qualified professional" (hehe). Turns out the guy was quite honest, running a shop out of his garage and thank goodness I was qualified to be a proper judge of the outcome!
     
  10. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Generally when taking the computer in for service is unavoidable, I've gone back to the dealer I bought it from (a small local/regional OEM) ... I've dealt with them for something like 25 years, going back at least to my C-64 days, and have always found them reliable. Rates aren't bad, about $75/hr last I looked -- and with no minimum, if a job takes 10 minutes they charge for 1/6 hour.

    On the minus side, they gained a lot of service workload from excellent word-of-mouth, so these days if I have to grit my teeth and take it in to them, it'll likely be a week or so before they get a chance to even look at it.
     
  11. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    I think the comparison with car mechanics is valid. I wouldn't say problems in the tech field are worse though, just similar. When you have a car repaired you do have to make sure you don't agree to have services performed you don't want. If you're not knowledgeable about cars it's good to bring along a savvy friend who can help keep things honest. The same applies to computer repair. Even if you're not knowledgeable you can see after the fact if your antivirus has been changed, etc, and require that things be put right before you pay. Whenever you have any kind of work done by others you need to be willing to speak up if you feel something is wrong with the result.

    Without wishing to discount anything you said about your grandmother's experiences I would add it can be tricky for technicians too. For instance in the process of tuning up a computer I normally empty the browser caches and disable auto-starting programs that I believe are slowing the computer. I do my best to keep the customer involved so I don't make choices they are unhappy with afterward, but mistakes happen. For instance when you clear the browser cache the saved credentials for websites are usually lost so I have to try and make sure the customer knows their essential login information beforehand. The inability of customers to keep track of their passwords is epidemic. I've also had some customers who are so attached to their computer looking or working a certain way that they feel I've ruined everything if something is inadvertently changed. For instance Weatherbug is a serious resource hog, especially on older systems, and I encourage people to uninstall it. I've learned though that I have to be willing to leave some things as they are even when it hurts system performance because pleasing the customer is more important.
     
  12. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    it sucks they do this to people. but i can say this gives me a TON of business. i do NO ADVERTISING at all all my clients are word of mouth and i have more clients than i know what to do with at times. i in no way trying to say we are the best though many of my customers tell others we are =) but we are HONEST. i hate seeing people taken advantage of like this. as a example i have MANY senior clients and just the other day a brand new one calls me and she says i called the geek s. to come hook up the printer she just bought . they told her 189$ PLUS the house call!!!!!! i was floored and utterly shocked. and yes while i know i am running a business this lady was 87 years old... i mean come on have some compassion she is also on oxygen come to find out. she calls me and says her neighbor gave her my number and i sto pby on the way home since i was going to pass it anyway and it took me under 15 minutes and i simply told her not to worry about it (i do a lot of vol work for our senior centers) and she handed me 75$ and INSISTED i take it. she also was nice enough to offer me a cold soda.

    i also have clients who have had parts removed and stolen as well. one customer called me to ask if i had 2gb ram sticks in stock about 2-3 weeks ago and i said sure i have them here. then he explained what happened which is similar to the op's post. his mother brought her system in and they stole one of her ram sticks. and when he called to explain to them that he has the original invoice from dell showing it came with 4 gb and now there was only 2gb in it they brushed him off telling him someone his mom knows must have "stole" it while at her house.. lol she is 72 years old and lives alone. no one touches her system besides her. and i can rattle on for hours about how many times i have heard of this happening and it just plain sucks

    anyway long story short that is imo how someone should treat customers. and what these places need to learn is to ask themselves how they would want to be treated if they were in the other persons place..

    now i do agree with some of the above said things but like removing programs for instance i will never remove anything unless specifically malicious but i do always call or go over the list of things on thier system while i have it. i do also make suggestions as to some programs they may have running that impact performance etc... if they do not want them removed though i do not remove them. now if its a malicious program i will 100% tell them in order to fix the issue this has to go. and they are i would say always ok with that.

    i also do try to make know other issues like hardware ones. say a 10 year old system they bring in for repair that maybe only has 256mb of ram in it lol.. i always make it a point to tell them no matter what i do it is not going to give you any real speed increase. maybe adding some ram can help especially if they as i said have only 256 total. but i will always make the suggestion at that point of getting a updated system. and you would be shocked at how many people actually listen and end up having me build them a updated inexpensive system.

    sorry to be long winded here but man these types of things drive me nuts and seriously just tick me off.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010
  13. allizomeniz

    allizomeniz Registered Member

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    If you don't know them and know for sure they're reputable, ask if they're certified and make them show you their certification. CompTIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompTIA would be pretty good. Being certified doesn't mean they're honest but at least you'll know they should be competent. And if something goes awry, you'll have someone to report them to. Or contact the Better Business Bureau. :)
     
  14. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    I wanted to upgrade my Asus notebook memory from 2 GB to 4GB. At the Asus repair centre I was told that my machine could not be upgraded with more memory, and that was that. When I started the machine at home I quickly realized that the memory was now 1GB instead of the original 2GB!!!

    Needless to say that I rushed back to the repair centre and obviously they were embarrassed about the mistake. I live in Seoul, and usually these things are never planned for personal gain, I guess that under the urgency of getting things done, technicians often either forget what was originally there, or they get things back in the wrong machine.

    It is however difficult to tell when an honest mistake was made or there was an attempt of outright thievery. Reading the story of this guy, made me really wonder about repair shops: he sent his laptop for something related to the display monitor, and got it back with 2-3 hardware parts downgraded. Even the CPU was changed!

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/513590-asus-rma-canada-send-me-back-wrong-laptop.html
     
  15. ohblu

    ohblu Registered Member

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    I'm the one that started this thread, but never had the time to respond... until now.

    The last repair shop my grandmother went to was recommended by a technical support specialist at a local school. The guy is trustworthy and very knowledgeable. He used to own his own shop but got bored and took a pay cut to work at a public school. So the fact that the repair shop he recommended screwed my grandmother makes me wonder. Do these repair shops typically screw over people who they suspect aren't knowledgeable or who might not put up a fight if they discovered they've been screwed?

    If I were to take a computer in and tell them the problem, then tell them that I had better not finding anything missing or damaged and they better not do anything without my authorization (like install their AV software and remove mine) or I'll take them to court, what would they do? Would they treat me fairly and do their job right? Or would they really try to screw me over because I basically threatened them?

    All of these repair shops that screwed my grandmother over have a lot of good reviews on the internet and have good ratings on the BBB website. I personally don't know anyone who takes their computer to a repair shop so I can't ask anyone for their opinion.

    Maybe next time I should take the computer in for grandma and see if that makes a difference. Shoot! I'm gonna take away her administrator privileges and put her on a limited user account. :D
     
  16. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    There's one shop in this area now and, fortunately, the guy is good and he's honest. The downside is, he's 74 yrs old and who knows how long he'll be around, or keep the shop open.

    I usually fix my own computers, but since my wife refuses to let me touch hers, if something happens (only once) it goes to him. What's nice is, he's inexpensive and you can go there and shoot the breeze with him while he's working.

    He does exactly what you ask. IF an unexpected problem shows up, he will call and tell you about it and explain it to you. You make the decision whether to fix it or let it go.
     
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