Undercover reporters find PC repairmen batting .300

CBC's hidden cameras reveal that big-box retail repair squads often misdiagnose simple PC problems, overcharge customers and access personal information.

Hitting .300 or shooting 30 percent might be a standard of excellence in professional baseball and basketball, but in computer repair? Not exactly MVP material.

The Consumerist links to CBC Marketwatch's undercover investigation of PC repair services, which shows that employees often have a startling lack of basic knowledge about the machines they are paid to fix. Plus, while they're misdiagnosing your technical problems, they'll likely overcharge you, and maybe even access your personal files for good measure.

Scary stuff for the technophobe or anyone who doesn't have the time or resources to fix a computer. The reporter checks out a variety of national and local electronics repair companies, including Best Buy's Geek Squad and Staples. Only 3 out of the 10 tech repairmen accurately assess the problem, and even then, one of them charges double the going rate for the part that needs to be replaced.

It gets worse when they interview three former professional geeks employed by large repair companies who admit they were instructed to upsell and even take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

Perhaps this isn't a surprise for some, but it's depressing just the same.

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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