Help KeySince I am pretty knowledgeable about the internal workings of a computer, I often find myself helping others find the light at the end of the tunnel. By that I mean people who are having problems with their computers and have no idea where to begin. Typically they will just take it to a computer repair shop, but when you know someone that understands how computers work then you will of course turn to them first.

Most of the time the questions come at the most inopportune time for me. It is often when I am busy working on something else, but I always try to help others out with their problems…normally without charging a fee. For the most part no one really takes advantage of me, and if I feel that they are I will start billing them for some of the work. So why do I want to help people with their computer problems in the first place?

There are so many computer repair businesses out there that it is almost disgusting. People prosper from hard drives failing, motherboards getting fried, and the list keeps on going. Best Buy even has their “Geek Squad” that offers to not only fix your computer problems, but also setup networks among other things. The problem is that these companies pride themselves on having a “knowledgeable” repair staff, when most of them are lacking a lot of the experience that they need to be qualified for such a job.

The video below clearly demonstrates why I like to help people out with repairs, especially when they are minor ones. Basically this news station took a “broken” computer to 8 computer shops in their area. They had the computer checked out by a professional before hand to make sure it was in perfect working order, and then all they did was disconnect the cable that connects the hard drive to the motherboard. A fix that would take just seconds for any good computer repair person to complete wasn’t as cheap as you may think:

Here is what some of the different companies were charging to “repair” the computer:

  • Best Buy’s Geek Squad: They couldn’t fix it because they claimed the computer needed a new power supply that they didn’t carry. Best Buy responded to the misdiagonoses saying that “Computer malfunction can be hard to pinpoint.” If they can’t diagonose a disconnected cable then what can they do right?
  • Circuit City: Fixed it for $59.99 after saying there were also issues with the jumpers being set incorrectly on the hard drive.
  • CompUSA: Fixed the problem and didn’t lie about what was wrong, but still charged $119.99.
  • Fry’s: Charged $69.99 for the repair and also didn’t lie about the cause of the malfunction.
  • Torrance Computer Repair: They fixed it for free!
  • BMI Computers: Claimed there was a power short and that the motherboard and hard drive were bad…and it would cost $275 to fix!

I am still not sure if I should be shocked at the results or not, because I knew that the services were a rip off. I guess that is what keeps some of these electronics stores in business.

If you know anything about computers at least try and give people advice when they need to get something fixed, because I’m sure you would feel bad if they had to shell out that much money for something so simple!

Thanks for the tip Jason!

Source: Daily Cup of Tech