When your PC breaks – if you cannot solve it by yourself – the first port of call is often a professional, who does computer repairs and just might be able to rescue that vital data and restore the operating system without losing your photos, or get the graphics card to work again.
Whether a sole trader found through the yellow pages or a local odd-job person advertising on a flyer, it is difficult to distinguish between true professionals and fly-by-night rogues.
Some High Street Companies have been widely criticized for the lack of technical knowledge leaving customers frustrated, while a handful of private equipment repairers, rip-off some end users.
“These people are in a minority, but give the industry a bad name,” said a chairman of a Computer Repair Businesses Owners Association. “Whether its technicians going through sensitive files, reading documents or failing to supply the hardware that customers have paid for. It is important that users carefully choose a technician or company who is providing Auckland wide computer repairs.”
According to the people in the industry, finding a technician is a lottery. Anyone can start trading with no qualifications and no warranty if things go wrong.
Even established repairers can use a number of tricks to inflate profits, and although they are the exception rather than the rule, there are many scams around.
We will not name and shame rogue traders here, but we can examine the methods and cons that are revealed to us by repair technicians. The stories point out both the difficulty of finding someone trustworthy to repair your computer, and how difficult it can be to realize a scam when it has happened.
Most of the stories you hear have been witnessed or used by repair technicians who speak out. Even by professionals who have been left to pick up the pieces after the cowboy had left the PC in a worse situation than when he arrived.
Here today, gone tomorrow
Since many computer repairers advertise themselves through flyers, with nothing more than a cell phone number, they can be difficult to locate if something goes wrong. We have spoken to computer technicians who have outlined how this works in practice, and how this can be an expensive lesson to learn for the innocent victims.
“Of course, we will fix this, but we’ll have to take it down to the shop to replace faulty parts or to do further testing,” is the standard response. “We will be back to you next week.”
In reality, this is code for “thanks for the hardware, we will get more selling for this secondhand, than from repairing.” The support company that revealed this said they learned of the scam when the distraught victim called asking if we been to collect their PC. The client realized that their computer was gone forever after they had phoned all the local repairers.
“Never use someone simply through a mobile number without knowing full contact details,” said a manager of a local computer store. “There was a run of it here, with several machines disappearing over a couple of weeks.”