It always amazes me about tech stores

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coius's picture
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It always amazes me about tech stores

There are alway stores that gives the good tech support a bad name. I have had several customers over the course of a few months tell me about how they went to a store, and either got ripped off for something simple, or didn't admit they didn't know how to fix it, and end up causing more problems with the hardware/software than was originally done by itself.

I had a client come to me with a machine, in which the screen was flipping out when a hinge was pressed on. He went to Micron PC (Cheap Clone computer store. Made the laptop) in which they proceeded to charge him $300 for a 14" laptop screen, for a computer maybe worth $100USD. That still didn't fix the problem, then they said "Tough". So, he turned to another store, in which they said the connector was coming loose. So they put a penny between the ribbon (the connector ribbon that runs between the display and the actual computer components) said it was fixed, and charged him $45 to do that. well, about 2 days after doing that, the screen started flipping out. They also screwed up his harddrive's directory, so he didn't have a laptop that is even booting to windows.

So, after I advertised on craigs list, with my cheap prices, I got a call from him. I have looked at the laptop, and noticed that the solder traces up to the connector on the lower computer part (that houses the keyboard/computer essentials) were broken. After searching down the component. the component cost $7.58 w/ Sh/Handling. After telling him, he was surprised that it was such a cheap fix.

Anyways, I have been given the go ahead to work on the hard drive and get it up and running with an external monitor. I found that the essential files that are needed to boot windows, have been completely wiped off the hard drive (not just corrupt, they aren't there!!!) and have determined that someone messed with it that didn't know what they were doing. I asked the guy, and he said when he got it back, it wouldn't boot to the OS.

Needless to say, I have done the reinstall (he had the stuff backed up) and am doing updates. Once the part comes in (should be about 5 days) I will have his laptop to him. the longest part of the repair, is just waiting for the part to come in. He also noted that when he sent it into the other shops, and it sat for 2-3 weeks w/o anyone even looking at it (in fact, one shop threw it in the store room, and didn't even know who's it was)

He has now said, that with what I am doing, he has a few more machines for me to work on. So I will be getting more business by him.

I don't know why these shops insist on trying to fix something half-***ed and don't admit they don't know what the problem is. Have you (for those of you that do work on other's machines) ever seen this problem before with you guys? I seem to recall way back when, this type of stuff didn't happen. It seems (after looking at resumes and reqs. for getting a job as a repairman) they want you to be more of a salesman than an actual competant repair person.

As much as I like getting business, I just wish these other shops are more competant. I, myself, would be more willing to tell them that I don't know how to fix something, than to lie and try to do a half-***ed job, and screw over a customer.

People that don't know what they are doing, don't deserve the bad service they get. I don't want to be screwed over when someone comes to work on the house and does a lousy job, why should these people who don't know this stuff be screwed over themselves?

I am getting disgusted from cleaning up these wrecks that the major stores do to the machines before I get them.

coius's picture
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oh, this was the part he needed

Bridge board

Costs a whopping $7.58USD shipped

iantm's picture
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It's common for this sort of

It's common for this sort of thing to happen. Especially with laptops. Most techs, for whatever reason have no idea what they are doing when working on a laptop. Don't even get me started on what the FBI's computer techs do to computers. (shudders) I've dealt with situations where they had to seize a computer for evidence and later on (1 year - 18 months later) returned it to the end user in a non usable form.

Most Windows techs don't have the first clue. My windows knowledge isn't as fresh as it once was - so I don't do windows work that I'm going to charge for.

Also, consider this - most tech stores are only paying wthing $2-$3 of the minimum wage on average. You're not going to be getting a terribly brilliant PC or Mac tech for $7-$8 an hour. (this is on the average) Competence and skill are not importance - turning a profit for the company, however ...

Perhaps it's because I've been immersed in corporate America as long as I have that I have this view.

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Commercial pressures

I work in higher ed, and over the years I have been approached to perform a quick fix on operating systems and hardware that I don't know very well. Whenever this has happened to me, I've declined and I've always defended my technicians from pressure in the same circumstances. I explain to the member of staff that this is not the sort of work that we are qualified to perform and give appropriate advice on companies who may be able to help.

And I feel very grateful for all of the above. At the same time, I have seen field engineers from our suppliers put under pressure by pushy customers to fix things that were not the suppliers' problem. In a commercial environment, technicians are under pressure to perform repairs "no matter what" and may feel obliged to fix kit that is not economically viable or to simply swap the most likely component. It is difficult to refuse if you need the job, whatever the hourly rate, when the boss expects miracles.

As Colus has noted, professional behaviour will gain you new business from people who trust your judgement. Low paid technicians don't have the luxury of professionalism in some companies. The commodification of PC technology makes it appear that fixing a PC is like replacing a tap washer, so customers may not appreciate the complexity of some hardware.

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luck

Great posts about this.

A while ago, I looked at a broken laptop that the owner previously paid $600 to a technician at a store to fix and it still didn't work. I looked up dip switch settings on the internet, and switched the clock speed down to what it was supposed to be and the laptop worked again. I think I got lucky.

Most recently, I heard of a guy at a printing shop asked to recover data from a hard drive. He made no guarantee on his work, but he managed to recover the data and only charged $20. He would have only charged $10 if he wasn't able to recover the data. The companies that do this type of work would have charged $200-$1000 for the same service.

The only thing that "professional" means is that I charge money.

coius's picture
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I've got one more...

about 5 years ago, i had someone come to me with a broken drive. they said when they went to get a replacement floppy drive, the place (DIT Corp) told her that a Zip drive doubles as a floppy drive, and got her to cough up the $75 or so to get the drive, plus $55 to install it. Well, when she went to put the floppy in, she couldn't get it out. she took it to them, and they said it wasn't a floppy drive. when she told who the person was that sold it to them, the guy denied the whole thing. and sadly, the company believed the employee and not only denied the accusation, but told the lady to leave the propery because they said she was trying to cause problems.
Well, she called me, and I looked at it, and told here that she had been fenagled, and they lied to her. Right now, i got a machine coming from her workplace that someone asked her if she could find someone to fix it. I have kept her as a customer, because I have never once lied to her, and have ALWAYS told her the truth when it comes to buying and fixing stuff.

She is one of my best customers. This is why it is important to build trust with a client. It's better to be honest with a potential repeat customer, than it is to think you can just get new ones. Eventually you run out of people that would have come to you, if you hadn't screwed them over. on top of that, you get more business as they refer people to you, people that you have never met, or talked to.

I have had people tell me how much more they trust me than any other shop, and some in fact, have asked to take some of my business cards and give them to friends, or even put in their offices.

Both the client and I win in this situation

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