Have you or an acquaintance of yours ever been ripped off by a computer repair shop? How often does it happen? You may not see reliable stats on the number of computer repair rip offs, but as an industry insider, I can tell that it does happen, and way too often.
My shameless plug here. At PARKERTECHGROUP we do not rip off our customers. We have seen too many customers come in with broken computers that they had ‘fixed’ elsewhere. It is not fun to give them the bad news and we have seen some pretty mad folks once they learn what happened to them.
Here are a few simple lessons to learn to avoid getting ripped off on your computer repair.
Lesson 1: Talk to multiple shops if possible, beforehand.
One time an older lady brought in her computer because she could not reliably connect to the internet. She lived alone and the grandkids were out of state. It was a machine she used to surf and get pictures of the little ones. She took the computer in to her local computer shop. After a $395 bill she got a souped-up computer back – they had replaced her hard drive, jacked up her memory, and put in a high-speed fan, all in the name of getting a better connection to the internet. They did not touch the problem at all. She talked to them and they stonewalled her, so she asked a friend who recommended us. We fixed the problem for $92. The other shop simply took advantage of her lack of computer knowledge.
If the lady had talked to us and the other shop before authorizing the repair, she could have made a better choice.
Lesson 2: Cost versus Performance – lower cost is not always better.
We often get phone shoppers and we can tell when one is simply looking for the lowest price. It is the same with computer repair as it is with picking a roofer or a mechanic. A low price does not mean they are the best choice. There are a lot of back seat repair guys working out of their house or personal car. Beware of these guys. Here today, gone tomorrow.
We had a customer come in for a machine with the proverbial Microsoft error screen, aka ‘blue screen of death’ on his computer. He had a friend who knew a guy…. Long story short, the guy got the machine to reboot, and charged the customer. The customer goes home and guess what? Blue screen of death. A couple days later he tries to find the guy. Nothing. Then he comes to us. We tell him what we think and what it will probably cost and the he decides to try to find the other guy again because we were more expensive. A week later he is back and we fixed his problem. And he had a warranty on our labor and parts. Plus, he knows how to find us.
Lesson 3: Customer and Computer Repair Shop Relationship
This is the big one! I tell clients all the time – you find, keep, and continue to patronize a good computer company. Its like this, you are careful to pick your doctor, accountant, dentist, and hair stylist/barber. Why is a computer repair guy so different? He is not! At PARKERTECHGROUP, we revel in maintaining relationships for years with our customers, whether they are business or residential customers. Why? Because if we do a good job for you, you will come back and you will refer us to someone else. We don’t have to spend money advertising to get you back. And we get to know you and your computing needs better each time. We become a friend. At our shop, we have folks who have used us for almost 20 years. We have one grandfather, son, and daughter set of customers. We really like that and you as the customer will get a lot of free computer advice too!
Lesson 4: Save your valuable information
In many cases, your pictures, emails, and documents are worth a lot more than the computer itself. Do not take your machine to a shop that does not offer to do a full backup of your machine (for free) before doing any work. You should assume that you could lose it all and it does happen from time to time. We ask that question every time a client brings in a computer for work. If tech doesn’t care about your data, he doesn’t care about you.
If you follow these simple lessons for your next repair situation you will go a long way in reducing your chances of a rip off. With computer prices dropping, it makes no sense to over pay for a needless repair.
If you approach your repair with knowledge and questions, then you can have a pleasant repair experience.