7 tips before you bring you computer to a techinician
In a computer repair shop, the technicians may play tricks to make you think you're getting value for you money. You may ask how I may know the following. Well, I worked in a computer repair shop (not for long) and my neighbour also owned a different repair shop in town. The one I worked in was by far superior in terms of service but there was still trickery played.
1) You're computer may not be broken
I saw this happening several times. One that comes to my head was when someone dropped in their laptop saying the Internet wasn't working; they were using a usb internet stick. Anyway, after investigating the USB port when I plugged out the USB, I noticed it was damaged. I moved the Internet USB to a different USB port and like that it was working perfectly again. Of course, they still had to pay the minimum 'repair' fee of $40/€30/£25.
2) 95% of the time, your computer is repaired in the space of a day
In the repair shop I worked in, a lot of computers would be handed in on a Friday and a Saturday, however, on those days were finishing up the previous weeks repairs. One Monday, a woman came in with her computer saying it was slow. We repaired it that same day and the next morning it was ready to go back to the owner. However, to give the customer the thought that they were getting their money's worth for the repair, it would be left on the floor or a couple of days. My advice is to call the computer shop after two days if you havn't heard anything and say you were hoping to have it by the end of the day.
3) Raise your eyebrows when the technician uses fancy lingo
Another item I 'repaired' was an Epson Printer. Piece of advise, buy the simplest looking printer available, printers like Epson are a pain to to fix. To cut a long story short, it took me 20 minutes to take apart the printer to find that a pencil, that the woman's kid must of dropped in, was causing the jam. A pencil. When the lady came into collect it, my colleague informed her what was wrong with it. Did he say that a stupid pencil was causing the jam? Oh no! 'Yes, we repaired that. After disassembling the printer we discovered there was a foreign object preventing the printer from receiving the paper'. I'm not joking, those really are quote marks!
4) If you let the technician keep your 'irreparable' computer, the parts will be reused
By irreparable, I mean it would cost more to repair than what you (or what they convince you) it's worth. Where I worked , customers told that were given the option for the technician to keep the computer or to get the computer back at a $40 fee to cover the time the technician spent examining it. Not once when I was working in there did I see someone asking for the irreparable computer back. We received two 'irreparable' computers in the same week that were the exact same model. The screen was broken on one and the motherboard and keyboard on the other. My colleague was able to combine the workable parts into a whole working laptop. As 'irreparable' laptops can slip under the radar of income and expense accounts easily, these computers made from obsolete parts can be brought home by us technicians without any questions asked.
Unless your computer is falling apart, it is definitely worth getting back. If you have a friend, lover, brother, sister or dad that is good with computers they may be able to salvage the parts. For example, the hard drive in a laptop can be removed, put in a $8 HDD casing and used as an External Hard Drive. RAM modules can be removed and may be compatible with other computer you or your friends have. Unless of course you planned on upgrading anyway and the computer is 10 years old.
5) Your files may be looked at!
'Let's see if she's good looking!' *opens photos folder 'oh....not to bad'
Yes, the technician has a boring job and can't resist looking at your photos! If you have any very private photos, it's probably best not to store them on your computer. Also, if you have any illegal photos, the technician is obliged to report you to the authorities and hand over your computer without notifying you first.
6) Have a slow computer? Maybe you should try upgrading your computer yourself
As I mentioned earlier, one of the most common problems is people complaining of a 'slow' computer. If you have this problem, you should consider learning how to add RAM to your computer (more RAM lets you run more programs at the same time.) 2GB RAM sticks are around $30 and the performance boost is incredible. We had a family computer at home that only had 1GB of RAM, I upgraded it to 3GB at a cost of just $30. The computer is still running perfectly (as of 2013) and is an amazing seven years old and definitely has a few more years left in it. Installing RAM is extremely easy, and there's plenty of resources online to help you chose the right RAM (not all RAM is the same) and install it (Make sure you wear an antistatic wristband if your a first timer!)
7) Ask for help before getting a repair
As a teenager, I was very good with computers. As a result, from the age of fourteen upwards not once did we have to bring our family computers to a repair shop as I was able to do everything myself. I saved my family a lot of money, I got no thanks but still, I'm proud of it. Chances are you have a neighbour or relative that knows something. If your having computer problems, just casually ask them to take a look to see if they can help. You'll quickly be able to know if their able or not to do repairs.
If all else fails, have fun shopping for a new computer and make sure to heavily research before buying. Online retailers such as Amazon offer a very wide selection and the high amount of reviews from previous buyers is a great help. Personally, I would always recommend a desktop over a laptop if the computer is going to remain in your house. Computers last longer, are easier to repair and cheap to upgrade. If you need a computer for work or college, a laptop is obviously a better choice. Tablets, although great for their purpose, do not and will not replace computers so don't go thinking you can place an iPad at home and expect it to do everything a computer can.