Should You Call The Geek Squad?

Category: Viruses

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.
computer tech support

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...

 
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Most recent comments on "Should You Call The Geek Squad?"

(See all 25 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

DanD
15 Dec 2010

The Geeksquad is a bunch of Geek crap. I have (at least) two friends who used to not know each other. This is how they got aquainted.

Friend one, a female, had problems with her computer. She called the GS. GS comes out and "looks" at her computer. After a cursory inspection, they tell her that the unit is fried and it needs to be replaced. They advertise to her where she can get some real good, G-note cyber-surfers. She's out something like $150 for this "advice."

She laments to me her problem. I tell her to have a(nother) friend of mine take a look at it. My friend tells her "Yeah, I'll look at it. If I fix it, then you pay me a hundred dollars above costs.

He takes it, checks it out, discovers that the wrong power supply has been installed on it, and replaces it. He also runs some anti-virus/"tune-up programs in it. It's now running like gangbusters.

She's happy as -- well -- you know. She's also sworn off all Geek Squads, while my friend is getting her and other friends business. Geek Squad is a scam.


Posted by:

J. J. Anderson
15 Dec 2010

Greetings from New Mexico, Bob-- Both my daughter and I have had _very_ bad experiences with Best Buy's "Geek Squad," even after buying their support service contacts. As a result, I will not purchase any more HP computers. My daughter switched to an Apple product and I had my desktop replacement custom built by people who actually provide knowledgeable support, much of it free of charge. The Best Buy computer support processes are confused and poor (at least locally) and even after going through management it is difficult to get competent support. Certainly, they are _not_ timely. And, by the way, I found HP computer support to be poor (although they provide good printer and scanner support). JJA


Posted by:

Bob Nolan
15 Dec 2010

I recently had 4 experiences with Best Buy's Geek Squad. The first involved determining that my HD had crashed. They cloned the old HD onto a new HD which was approx.95% successful.
I needed 3 more visits to untangle an error that I committed on the new HD, and two to correct some faults involved with the original cloning operation.
I was very satisfied with the service. The only charges were for the initial visit,none for the other visits. The total costs were reasonable and the explanations of the services rendered were good as were the repairs.
I would use the GS again. They were honest and helpful.


Posted by:

Jeff Bales
15 Dec 2010

I bought two Toshiba Setelllite laptops at WalMart last Christmas, 2009. The other one died(Startup programs stopped starting up) two weeks before Thanksgiving. I took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy as I'd planned when I bought two to have one to use while the other was being fixed. A geek told me they couldn't do anything until I brought in my A/C adapter. I didn't have it as I thought they'd use their own power. After thinking about the Geek Squad losing all my programs and data as they had me sign a paper absolving them of responsibility for so doing and how close it was to Black Friday, I changed my mind about fixing it and thought I'd buy new with a full complement of RAM, etc. so went back to Best Buy to pick up my old laptop before they did anything as they said they couldn't without my A/C adapter, only to be told I owed $69.99 for the diagnostic they were able to do even without my A/C, but claimed they "wouldn't do anything."
I always pay for any computer or computer-related charges with Amex. and they are in the process of dispute-resolution now that'll take 60 more days before I know if I have to pay the stupid B.B. Geeks! You underestimated the "diagnostic" charge when you said $50. It's more like $70. I figure thanks to the Geek Squad, I overpaid $70 for my new laptop I bought at WalMart on Black Friday, 2010. Plans are to buy a 3rd laptop this Christmas so I can use all three Trend Micro and MS Office downloads. Last year I only used two. I thought I had an extra at Yahoo!, but it's vanished to somewhere I know not. If I'd let the Geek Squad fix the hard drive that they said was the problem, it would've cost $280 in addition to the $70. If it'd been a virus I knew it wasn't, it'd have cost an extra $130. I'm a dolt and thought they'd be able to just fix the Startup program so I could get it running and let the wonderful Trend Micro system tuner take over fixing it.

Thank you,
tutorjb1 - visit me at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bookdoctorsandeditors. You'll find yourself, your askbobrankin site and some of your newsletters there among a lot of other interesting information.


Posted by:

Lynda Smith
15 Dec 2010

When I purchased my HP computer at Best Buy last spring, I paid for the pricey three year in-home Geek Squad service, and it has paid off handsomely for me. I am a 61 year old housewife, and I don't know a lot about computers, but I am learning. For me, the ease of being able to contact a Geek Squad agent by phone or have them remotely connect to my computer is great. I also needed an agent to come to my house for the last repair, and it is really convenient. So far, I would recommend the Best Buy Geek Squad.


Posted by:

krisham51
16 Dec 2010

yes. quite often I had to call computer repair guy and he charges rs200 (usd 4.5. I am in India) for visit and then other costs based on diagnosis . quite often he just punches in a few keys and the problem is solved and he still pockets Rs 200.this site has helped no end in reducing such costs.but one problem persists. that is my "c" drive getting full. he just punches a few keys in run and opens selects large no of files and clears in GBs .all other cleaning methods that I do ends up adding in MBs. he says as the PC runs large amount gets used up and they can be deleted.I have not fathomed it out . may be your site can help I run and update CC cleaner regularly.what he does is over that


Posted by:

Jack
16 Dec 2010

THanks for addressing this primary and most important issue that we will all come to deal with, at some time in our computer lifestyle. However, you told us nothing...

No ranking to any of the services mentioned that is out there from good to bad or how not to be a victim. My experience with neighborhood computer services is a roll of the dice at best and the Geek Squad is the Jiffy Lube of Computer services. Also, never teach you friend to drive a car and never let them work on your computer...

Terrific subject that should be followed up on. Thank you for bringing it up.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The problem with me giving rankings is what I call "Big Company Syndrome." Mention ANY well-known company (Dell, Ford, Verizon, etc.) and you will find a small percentage of customers willing to publicly say "XYZ Sucks" because they had a bad experience.


Posted by:

Al
16 Dec 2010

The amount of mail organ enhancement spam which appeared on my computer after a Geek Squad repair was astounding. I have heard comments about similar problems with Geek Squad. Locally, (San Jose CA area) ClickAway.com is far superior for computer repair.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I have no iron in the fire for Geek Squad, but I can't believe the spam has anything to do with their visit.


Posted by:

Fred
16 Dec 2010

PC User Groups usually offer free tech support for members. And members can usually tell you who the good technicians are locally.


Posted by:

Darcetha
16 Dec 2010

My mother and I used Geek Squad when our computer became infected with a virus. The technicians were very professional and explained to us, in plain English, what was wrong with our computer and how they were going to fix it. We were satisfied with the overall service we received.

Also, we used Staples Easy Tech service when we wanted to upgrade our computer hard drive. Their technicians were helpful, professional and explained what steps they would take to upgrade our computer. We also received a printout of what the technician did to our computer, which was very informative.

Therefore, I would say either Staples Eash Tech service or Geek Squad are good for computer service.


Posted by:

Don Hamilton
16 Dec 2010

Other things besids malware can slow your computer. I experienced an incredible slowing in my boot speed. I suspected malware but it turned out to be an install of the latest Zone Alarm free firewall. Removing the program speeded things up significantly.


Posted by:

Robert Shankie
17 Dec 2010

One thing I noted here so far (haven't read all 16 comments).
No one seems to know about the time bomb mentioned. We used to call it the click of death. Hard drive is ready to die. Backup ASAP!
If you can, use PartSave.exe from Partition-Saving.com. I recently went through a bunch of backup/cloning software (I faced some inteeresting problems since I needed to get by without a CD/DVD drive) and found PartSave.exe to be the ONLY one I could make work. Having CD/DVD will likely open up more choices for you. But note, it is VERY likely you will need to replace your hard drive soon. Clone it, back it up, or whatever, such that you can restore your system, progams and files.

PS to Bob, How do I get my "avatar" associated with my comments? Then again, who wants to see a truly over the hill 62 year old jack of ALL trades????
Thanks


Posted by:

snert
19 Dec 2010

I've never used 'Geek Squad' per se. I use 'C & C Computers, My friendly neighborhood geek. I've known this guy since I got out of the Army. My BIOS went flaky some years back. He had me bring in my 'brick' and sat with me and showed me what to do. He walked me through the complete procedure, threw in a new battery and only charged me $20. All this plus he did a lot of scans for malware, crapware and such. And he gave me a warm fuzzy kitten.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I seriously doubt if the Geek Squad is handing out kittens. That's a great marketing idea! :-)


Posted by:

Donny
19 Jan 2011

Geek squad charged 180.00 to hit the f-12 key and re-install the OEM backup on my aunt's laptop without even backing anything up...

Run away !!! don't look back!!!


Posted by:

Thomas
19 Jan 2011

I may not be computer literate, but I am not illiterate. Yes, I took courses back in college, when we were using punch-cards and calculators the size of desk-tops. I later took three years of 'Data Processing' at a local community college.

The best weapon to repair computer problems that creep up everyday are articles such as yours, and the others that provide free, helpful insights. (I also read Fred Langa and 'Windows Secrets'.)

Half of fixing a problem is knowing how your computer is operating and being aware of capabilities. Thanks for in forming all of us!


Posted by:

Snert
19 Jan 2011

Never used Geek Squad of any similar service. I had my BIOS go belly-up and took my 'brick' to C&C. (Chuck and Cathy) I found them in the want ads in the local paper. C&C does other stuff like small appliance repair, (which is a dying art) and he's a down-home type of dude. He wanted to know If I wanted to learn how to do what he was gong to do and I jumped up and down yelling, "YesYesYesYes!"
He showed me what he was doing and told me what, why and how and got me up and running in about 10 minutes. Total cost $20.
If I'm stymied with a computer glitch be it hardware, software, malware or something between the chair and the keyboard he get all my business.
He isn't a member of any franchise, he's just a 'good ol' boy' playing with things for the fun of it. My sweetie was playing with kittens and chatting with Cathy while I got some education.


Posted by:

Mary Ann
19 Jan 2011

I have very little tech knowledge and have used GEEK Squad twice after friends tried to work out my computer problems.
GEEK is *very* expensive, both home visits cost $300, but it took them about 2 hours each time to correct the problems on my 5-yr old Dell desktop.
They are very professional and cleaned out my computer so that it's running like new.
However, and that's a big however, I could have bought a new computer for the price.


Posted by:

rich
19 Jan 2011

Just bought an external hard disc at Best Buy, and asked a kid in a Geek Squad shirt about partitioning it to handle image backups from three computers. Had I taken his advice I would have been in deep trouble.

The Staples crew who prowl their stores seem quite knowledgeable but I am not happy about the extra (and useless) "services" they sold my daughter when she bought a new computer there recently.

My local hole in the wall shop does a good job mechanically, but after I bought a computer there I found my Chinese wasn't good enough to explain how I wanted the hard disc partitioned, and I had to do it myself at home.

I find online sources - Microsoft Knowledge Base, Bob Rankin and similar gurus, manufacturer help desks and all my best first source.


Posted by:

Notek
21 Jan 2011

I used the Geek Squad when I was having trouble with my wireless connection. The guy was very nice, talked my head off, said he fixed it, got me online and then gave me his cell # and told me to call direct if I had a problem. A few days later, the same problem. I called his cell and he threatened to report me for bothering him. I called Geek Squad and they wanted to charge me again for the same problem. I never used them again


Posted by:

jeddo
08 Feb 2011

Your article does not do justice to people with PC problems. There was an extensive study done on many repair services only to show that almost all of them are there to make money and make money only. One simple repair (deliberately induced) got estimates from $150 to $2000. There was nothing wrong with the PC--a simple 60 second repair. When confronted with this they all had various excuses. One said the technician was fired, but is still there. The technician was only doing their will.

EDITOR'S NOTE: When people talk about some "extensive study" without quoting the source, I always have reservations about posting their comments. Yours would be much more credible if you could provide a link to the article in question.


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