Gouged by Geeks?

While the Geek Squad may be getting most of the bad press recently, it seems other home computer repair companies may not be fairing much better. CBC Canadian television news called 10 on-site geeks into a house with hidden cameras to repair a simple hardware problem. How many got it right? Watch the short video below to find out:

The original story and a much longer 25 minute video, including the performance of some big box retailers and a notebook system, can be found on CBC.ca Marketplace.

How do you prevent getting gouged by a geek?

1. Research your problem and seek advice online. We recommend the free computer help forums at Geeks to Go! 😉

2. Many problems are caused by spyware and viruses. See our guide to free antivirus, and antispyware software.

3. Backup your data. Home computers have become the photo album, file cabinet, and media library. Don’t risk losing it. Invest in an external hard drive, a backup program, or backup regularly to CDs or DVDs.

4. Protect your privacy. Ask the tech if the have a privacy policy, and ask to read it. If you’re able, remove any personal, private or proprietary information. Rely on friends, trusted associates, or someone that comes highly recommended.

5. Ask for rates up front. Many techs will offer a flat-rate repair for common problems. Call three businesses and get quotes.

6. If it’s a notebook system, consider the manufacturers extended warranty. A three-year extended warranty would offer protection for the expected useful life of the system. Notebooks tend to be a lot more expensive to repair, and the manufacturers are usually best able to repair them properly. We don’t recommend extended warraties for desktops.