Hidden Camera report sheds light on Ignorant and Shady Computer Repair

by James

CBC Canada performed a hidden camera investigation on computer repair recently. What they found was not only costly, but as many as 70% of repair technicians failed to diagnose computer problems, spening most of their time upselling costly solutions, and even recommending replacement of the entire computer. The report interviews three technicians who worked for main competitors like Best Buy’s The Geek Squad, and learned that repair technicians are relying on a customer’s desperation and cashes in on the ignorance of their customers who trust their so called expertise.

And even when technicians correctly diagnosed the problems, they either charged a markup of over 200 percent for parts or even repaired the computer for cash without an invoice – leaving the customer with no recourse should the repair fail to solve the problem.

In many ways, the computer repair industry is like the Wild West. Solutions are always based on improving the bottom line. There is no standard pricing structure, no training of technicians, and recommendations for costly data backups that simply aren’t needed. In addition, with repair technicians having access to a customer’s private data (like banking information or personal photographs), 20% of technicians actually snoop around while working on customer’s computers.

Of the 10 major players in the repair industry investigated, not one received an adequate score for offering customer service and fixing the problems.

Video here.

So, at least in the computer repair industry, the old phrase “May the Buyer beware,” has never been more true. The report also offers concrete steps to protect yourself including being the habit of backing up your data, getting more than one opinion, getting online advice before going to a repair technician, and doing a little preventative maintenance by making sure your spyware and antivirus software is always up to date.

2 reviews or comments

El Nino Says: October 4, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Not that I’m defending the things those techs did, but the “experts” they were using were being slightly unfair when they quoted onoline prices. Yes online prices are usually much lower, but many of the people who have computer problems have no idea how to buy stuff online, so they’d have to buy them instore, and pay the instore premium they have to charge to make up for the overhead they pay sales people. The only other thing though, is many of the techs quoted prices that were probably even higher than those in stores.

Billy Says: December 6, 2007 at 10:59 am

This is not a fair “test” for techs. Although some of them were strictly lying to the customer, a memory failure can very much look like a motherboard failure, which in turn can look like a power supply failure, which in turn can look like a CPU failure! Without testing the PC with new hardware, it is very difficult to determine the exact problem right then and there.

I agree with the previous post, about the pricing. Yes the memory module itself might have been $25 dollars. but what about the shipping? what about labor for the installation? they did not include that in the “$25″ dollar statement they made.

Again, many of those techs did not properly diagnose the problem, but again, it was not a fair test because further test IS necessary to find out exact problems.

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