by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 5th 2007 11:37am
As less tech savvy folks start having computer problems, if they don't have in-house tech support (i.e., kids living at home) they tend to call or visit one of the growing number of computer fixit services -- many of which advertise the fact that they'll come to your home and fix your computer. The problem, though, is that they're pretty expensive, have little training and quite often completely screw up the diagnosis. On top of that, they may snoop around your computer or even download your hard drive. Many people probably suspected this, but when a Canadian TV station put ten such companies to the test with an easy-to-diagnose computer problem only three out of the ten accurately diagnosed the problem -- and then all three charged huge markups on the replacement part to fix it. Six out of the ten got the diagnosis completely wrong and one just gave up (but didn't charge anything either). Many suggested expensive other alternatives -- with a few suggesting that the customer just buy a new computer, even though all the computer really needed was a replacement RAM chip. Then there was the one guy who showed up late, completely misdiagnosed the problem (before he'd even opened the case), told the customer she had to send the computer to a special clean room that would cost $2,000 and then (without getting permission) downloaded the contents of her hard drive to his laptop (which he didn't delete before leaving). The broadcast also interviewed some former technicians who noted that they rarely received much in the way of training, and were often encouraged to charge as much as possible and always be selling other products. The final recommendation from the TV program? Go online, do some research and try to fix things yourself.
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