Every now and again Bluefish Computer Services have customers come to me with computer problems that have been made worse by the previous “tech” they used. The last person who came to me had called a “computer repair engineer” he found in the small ads of a local newspaper after his PC became infected with a virus. Instead of cleaning the virus the tech guy performed what we call a “Nuke & Pave” which is a complete reinstall of the operating system, when he did the reinstall he used an illegal Windows license key and to make matters a lot worse when he installed the OS he managed to get it assigned to the “D:” drive letter instead of the “C:” drive.
These unscrupulous tech engineers often work for “cash in hand”, have no ethics, would not think twice about installing illegal software on their customers computers, and do not posses technical qualifications or enough experience to have any chance of repairing the problem to the customers satisfaction. Often their customers are left with no comeback and end up turning to a qualified technician to correct the problems they created and sort out the original issues. The result is additional cost for the customer and the possibility of their data being lost forever.
So how do you avoid these fly-by-night computer repair people also known as “Pizza Techs” (computer techs offering to repair computers for enough money to pay for their beer and pizza!)? Check out this You Tube video for a classic example of what I’m talking about.
I would follow these key points when choosing an engineer:
- Recommendations are key! We get most of our business from recommendations, we do little advertising because we don’t need to. If you know someone who has used a computer tech and had a good experience then you should consider using the same person.
- Query the techs qualifications and experience. Do they have vendor certifications? Can they show you them? Can they show you a CV? Can they provide you with multiple people willing to vouch for them?
- Do they provide a land-line number and registered business address? Do they have a website address? Would you really give your computer over to a person who just provides you with a mobile number? Are they willing to provide proof of identity?
- Can you pay by bank transfer or cheque? I would not recommend dealing with anyone only willing to accept cash.
- Are they willing to provide a receipt for payment or any hardware they need to take away to work on in their workshop?
- Do they have valid insurance? At a minimum they should posses Public and product liability. Ask to see a certificate.
- Are they offering software or charging rates that seem to good to be true? It’s not wrong to shop around for a good price but there are factors other than price to consider. Would you employ a builder to build you a house just because he was the cheapest?
- Do they offer a guarantee on any work undertaken in their terms & conditions?
- Do they offer to back up your data prior to working on your computer? Pizza Techs will often just wipe your hard drive by reinstalling windows. You should never have to lose data unless your hard is faulty or your data corrupt prior to repairs being undertaken.
I’ve seen quite a few examples of “Pizza Tech” work brought to me, by following the points above you can help reduce the risk of being caught out.