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Am I being ripped off for a repair?

by handtowel / November 23, 2010 3:28 AM PST

My daughter who is at university broke the power socket to her dell laptop by treading on the fitting. I am to be charged ?100 for fixing a new socket. Not including charge for the part. The guy reckons it will take him 2 hours.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 23, 2010 3:46 AM PST

The "correct" way to fix this is to install a new motherboard at many hundred bucks!

You are getting a fix for a bargain price.

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by handtowel / November 23, 2010 5:55 AM PST
In reply to: BARGAIN!

and she tried to fix it with her tweezers!

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 23, 2010 6:07 AM PST
In reply to: Oh!

My nephew had a failed jack. I was dreading the fact I would have to fix it. Turns out that in his case "dad" looked at it one last time and found some rubber that was in the way. "Couldn't hurt to remove that" was the consensus and saved me from yet another family repair job.

Good idea to try!

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Ripped off
by PKsteven / November 23, 2010 6:52 AM PST

I don't think so, I think it's more than fair actually. Most of our shops here would charge 100 bucks "just to tell you what you need", not including repair, with an option to get a new laptop or motherboard instead.

I tell people all the time, if you want me to break out the soldering tools, it's going to cost and no guarantee.

I would charge about the same for such a task and unless you find someone to do it for half or free, I would say to the repair person, "Thank you for saving me hundreds of dollars or from having to purchase a new laptop."

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I agree
by Jimmy Greystone / November 23, 2010 9:17 AM PST

I agree with the others, this sounds like a bargain. That's $50 an hour, which is dirt cheap. Usually that's the going rate for a single hour. I do tend to think a 2 hour estimate is a bit high, but if he's only charging $50/hr, no big deal.

Of course you don't list how much the part will cost, so that may ultimately change things.

I work for a national retail chain, fixing things internally, and we charge stores $50 just to diagnose a system. Repairing it can cost quite a bit more, depending on what kind of damage the stores think we'll miss.

The only real issue here is that the estimate is for 2 hours. Even if it's only $100, that says to me either the guy is padding the bill OR isn't very good. Time was, I could swap out a motherboard and display panel on some Dell laptops in under an hour. So I'm a bit skeptical about the two hour estimate... But, if that's just an estimate and the guy ends up charging you less, no problem.

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Thanks Jimmy
by handtowel / November 25, 2010 7:55 AM PST
In reply to: I agree

It is a dell and it is pounds sterling ? a bit more than $100. I arranged the fix over the phone as daughter is living some 3 hours drive away from home. Found the guy over the internet. Maybe should have gone to Dell.I think, as we say over here, he saw me coming. He has the laptop and I haven't heard from him yet. So don't know what the final cost is going to be.Bet it doesn't go down, though! Just don't understand why a little broken power socket would need a new motherboard. Expected it to be a very small repair. The computer cost ?300 nearly a year ago. Refurbished Inspiron 1545. The keyboard is pretty awful.Think there was a fault, but never got round to sending it back.I don't think the daughter does much work on it because she hasn't noticed how bad it is. It's good for multimedia though.

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Because the makers do not allow board repair.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 25, 2010 9:54 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks Jimmy

Board repair relies too much on the skills of the technician and since the company's name is at stake on a failed repair they must take the position that no board level repair is allowed.

Apple did this 2 decades ago and most companies do this for this reason.

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the final outcome
by handtowel / November 26, 2010 6:47 AM PST

The charger board needed replacing. The part cost 40 pounds sterling with 2 hours labour at 40 pounds per hour. He wanted to charge an extra half hour for the labour, but I objected to this - based on Jimmy's advice. Eventually they agreed to do it for the original 100 pound estimate - based on a cash payment. It seemed fair and I am happy. Hope the darned thing works when we get it back. Thank you to all you guys over the pond for your help. Wish I could buy you all a beer.

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