Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Laptop repair scams - Buying tips

Before you buy, always do some research and compare price/performance. It's always a good idea to read performance reviews first. Then google the brand of laptop with the words 'complaints' or customer complaints. This will actually take you to websites and forums where users like yourself have had problems with the product, after sales service, poor repairs etc. Really, it is important to know about the people your're dealing with before you spend a penny,  otherwise you will face problems if you have to get your laptop serviced or repaired. You could buy an excellent brand, but if the local service and support are poor, would you really buy it?
Many times 'expensive' laptops come with more bells and whistles that you may never use. The basic things to look for- A current cpu- Intel i3, i5 or i7. The AMD cpu models are cheaper but make sure you read the reviews first. 4gb ram. A 500gb hard drive. DVD or blue ray drive. These are the basics.
Get a decent laptop bag. make sure that it's padded and actually takes the bumps and blows that you might come across whenever that machine is in the bag. When you first  purchase the laptop- you will be offered insurance on top of the warranty. The warranty should cover as many faults and failures as possible. The difference is that the warranty will not cover damage you may accidently inflict on the laptop.
The laptop should come with a gurantee that the manufacturer has to honour. If the laptop does break down during the warranty period, the repairs fall within the specifics of the warranty and the dealer refuses to honour the warranty, you can lodge a complaint with the UK Better Business Bureau or Trading Standards as you are clearly being cheated. If you go with the insurance , make sure it covers everything, otherwise what are you paying extra for? The same applies, the contract must be honoured. The laptop market is a massive one, you need to be prudent. Always read the purchase agreement and the fine print before signing and paying.
Also remember that laptops and pc's depreciate in value quickly, as newer processors are introduced every few months. Do not fall for the old trick- was £1000 new, now only £699, you need to check the model number and the specifications, it may well be a model that's discontinued or even last years' model, with a slower processor by this year's standards.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What to do before you send your laptop for repair

Label and mark the body,battery, dvd/blueray and any other devices that can be swapped. Write down the serial numbers for reference so you can check when you get you laptop back.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Laptop Repair Scams

A recent Sky news investigation revealed that Laptop repair shops are illegally accessing customer data, charging for non-existant 'repair work' , charging for parts that were never changed or replaced and even attempting to logon to bank accounts with data retrieved from customer laptops!

In one instance, passwords, log-ins and personal photographs were all transferred to a portable memory stick by a shop laptop technician.
A representative of the UK Trading Standards Institute said he was "shocked" by the findings.
The operation was carried out by outfitting a brand new laptop with surveillance software

The Laptop worked covertly so every event that took place on the computer was logged.

All screen activity was captured to still images, and the identity of the user was recorded using the laptop's internal camera.
A simple , easily diagnosable fault was then created by Sky engineers. The connection of the built in ram chip was loosened. Windows was unable to load. In order to rectify this simple problem , all a technician would have to do is to gently push the ram chip into it's slot.
Of all six repair shops that were checked, five misdiagnosed the problem

The engineer identified the real fault then called the customer (an undercover reporter) and reported that the motherboard needed to be replaced for £130.

There was nothing wrong with the motherboard in tests conducted later.

The surveillance software then showed a technician going through the files on the hard-disk, including private documents and personal holiday photos, including some of our reporter in her bikini.

He was recorded going through the files, smiling and showing the pictures to a colleague.
Later, a second Laptop technician starts up the laptop and also looks through the photos, which are inside a folder marked 'private'.

He inserts a memory stick into the laptop then transfers files, including passwords and photos, into a folder labelled "mamma jammas" on his memory stick
A document containing passwords for Facebook, Hotmail, eBay and a NatWest bank account were also transferred.

The technician then attempted to access these accounts, including the bank account for five minutes.
He was unsuccessful because the details were fake.

Many of us today need reliable Laptop services as the laptop has become a big part of our lives.

What can we do?
Look for a reliable shop, preferably a shop that's also a laptop dealer in your brand, Acer, Toshiba, H.P, as a manufacturer has a great deal to lose if any of their authorised dealers are caught cheating.It's not easy to get dealership status as Laptop manufacturers do not give away dealership status without some kind of deposit and after carrying out company background checks.

Ask friends, if someone has overcharged you or ripped you off, you will remember. You'll know where not to go. Also if someone had a good experience, they'll be more than happy to share it.
Another way is to look for shops that advertise in the newspapers and web. Since they do an honest job, or rather treat the business like a business and not a fly by night shop, they would also have an advertising budget. They are not afraid of a high profile as they are doing business honestly.

Another method is to look at the prices of items sold in the shops. Most good laptop shops stock branded peripherals and charge accordingly. Ripoff shops stock the cheap stuff and mark it up, thinking that most people don't really know the difference.
It's true. Most of us are simply too busy to look twice. If a mouse fails- get a new one. Printer not printing properly - get new ink.

The situation has changed drastically over the past year with the current economic crisis. Every cent counts, so it's time to be careful and not getted ripped off next time you visit the Laptop shop.This is an essential service and if you are a little careful, you can avoid being scammed.

Read the news report