Should You Call The Geek Squad?
My computer is running really slow, and I think it might have a virus. There's also a ticking sound inside the computer. I'm not very technical, so I'm thinking about calling the Geek Squad. Do you think that's a good idea?
Computer Tech Support - Who Ya Gonna Call?
When your computer starts acting oddly or breaks down entirely, you have a choice. Common problems such as viruses & spyware, lost or damaged files, flaky hard drives or failing power supplies can sometimes be hard to diagnose. Should you try to fix it yourself, or call a computer tech support service like the Geek Squad? Depending on how adventurous and/or geeky you are, there are several things you can do.
If the computer is still under warranty, call the warranty provider. That may be the manufacturer, or a third-party computer tech support company. Be prepared for finger-pointing ("Sounds like a software problem, your warranty covers only our hardware") and long telephone hold times.
Try to fix it yourself using software manuals, household tools, and - if you can get online - diagnosis and repair guides that you find via Google. Of course, this website offers a wide range of advice about fixing many common computer problems, but not everyone is a do-it-yourself type.
Call your computer-savvy friends and relatives. They may or may not be available, or know what they're doing, or very motivated to spend hours fixing your problem for free.
Call a computer repair shop. But what kind of computer repair shop? There's the kind that says, "Bring your computer in and we'll take a look at it" just like a car repair shop. Nationwide computer repair shops, including computer vendors, tell you to "mail it in," which can get rather expensive and time-consuming. (You did save all the original packaging, right? Of course not.) There's also on-site service; a repair person comes to your home or business. Then there's the kind of computer repair shop that never looks at your problem in person; instead, they offer to "talk you through" your own repairs. These guys go by different names, too.
Computer help desk services are for when the problem is you. If your computer is fine but you can't figure out how to increase the font size in Microsoft Word, a computer help desk person will tell you over the phone. Such on-demand tutors are also called "computer support" or "computer technical support" services. Large employers have entire departments providing help desk and tech support to employees all day long. Independent computer support services take calls from anyone who can pay.
Computer Repair Services
Computer repair rates are comparable to car repair rates, although the cost of parts is generally lower for computers. Some computer repair shops charge a "diagnostic fee" of $50 or so just to figure out what's wrong and tell you how much more the fix will cost. Hourly labor charges for computer repair can run $30 and up.
The Geek Squad popularized computer repair services with million-dollar marketing campaigns and logo-emblazoned company vehicles. Today, The Geek Squad offers all the types of computer tech support services discussed above, including some pretty trivial ones. It will cost you $50 to have a Geek Squad member talk you through setting up an email program and address . Troubleshooting email problems starts at $70. Fifty bucks (plus parts) will also get a hard drive, network card, or other hardware component installed if you "bring everything in to a Geek Squad or Best Buy store near you and let us take care of it." On-site service starts at $150.
Office supplier Staples offers "Easy Tech" computer repair services. If you bring your computer into the store, they'll do a free PC Tune Up which includes cleaning out dust and dirt, removing unnecessary software, adjusting settings, and hard drive defragmentation. A full range of diagnostic and repair services is available in the store, or at your home/office location.
Other national companies offer computer repair and computer technical support services, too. Firedog.com started as a partner of Circuity City, but is now an independent company that offers installation and support for computers, TVs and home theater. AT&T ConnecTech has a $15/month plan that provides unlimited phone and remote desktop help desk services.
All of these well-known services will have computer techs trained to handle the most common computer problems, and should do a good job of fixing your computer. If you're outside the USA, and don't know of a local computer repair store, NerdsOnSite.com is an international network of local computer repair techs who make house calls.
Have you used Geek Squad or a similar computer repair service? Tell me about your experience, or post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Dec 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Should You Call The Geek Squad? (Posted: 15 Dec 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved