Why Computer Repair Services Like Geek Squad Suck

How many times have you brought your computer with a minor problem to a computer repair service like best buy geek squad, and your computer has been diagnosed with all kinds of problems by one of their so called geek?   I bet you have.

The problem with your computer might be as easy as tight up a loosen IDE cable, but a geek squad technician will tell you that the motherboard is fried, and you will need to change it, and then they will tell you the power supply is faulty, and you will need to change it also. The price tag for the repair and replacement parts can go as high as the price for a brand new computer, but you need the data on that computer, and you are left with no alternative but to shell out the money for the repair.

You might be quiet about these kind of rip offs because it seems every computer repair shop does the same, and unfortunately you don’t have the expertise to fix the problem yourself. But your are no fool, and you suspect something is quite not right when paying such a high price for a computer solution. As a geek myself I can assure you that your guts are 100 % right. So, what’s wrong with these people that charges me so much money to repair my computer you might ask?

The problem is that these people see you as a consumer and not as a person. Their business model is to suck up as much money from you as possible. They see every opportunity in you to sell you anything they might think they can get away with it, even though you don’t need it. They are not professionals much less geeks, they are parasites waiting for you to feed on.

Let me tell you, before I got into the computer field ( that was back in high school) I got ripped off by these so called computer professionals too. I worked at a restaurant during that time and let me tell you, it was not nice to give my paycheck to one of these slob just to fix a simple problem with my computer. If you think I’m lying or you think those guys are the geekest on earth, put your glasses on and watch these videos:

FYI. I have nothing to do with those geekteks guys, I just couldn’t find the videos without the promotional URLs. I wouldn’t be surprised they are parasites from the same carcass. I don’t think the videos are biased though.

Watching those videos and thinking that those facts are everyday events at those places, you wonder, do these people have lost their ethics?   Do they think they have divine knowledge a god right seated angel have whispered to them so they don’t feel morally guilty when ripping off people this way? As you can see, these people don’t know anything about computers. A techie that is capable enough be be called a techie should be able to catch the problem shown in the first video as soon as the computer is turned on.

The problem in the second video is more subtle but it shouldn’t take very long for an experienced technician to diagnose the problem.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t charge when repairing computers? Not at all. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t take advantage of people, remember that they need to work to get the money. Some of them don’t even have good jobs, have kids, family, debts.

Don’t make their lives even harder. Be reasonable in your prices. What’s reasonable you might ask?   For me reasonable computer repair prices in Boston are 25 to 30 dollars per hour, depending on the problem. If the technician has a local shop and pays rent, 50 dollars per hour is reasonable. People should not pay for consultation or diagnose of a problem. Period.

Is that degrading your work or devaluing your knowledge? I don’t think so, being reasonable and honest on the work you do, is not degrading or devaluing your work. Rest assured that people know that you depend on your work to live and support your family, and they will be happy to pay you and come back when having computer issues when you are reasonable with them. Just remember they are not responsible for the lifestyle you think you deserve.

Do people have alternatives to geek squad like rip off places when needing computer repair service? Sure they do. Even though they think they don’t, but there are many real computer geeks that might do the job for you for a reasonable price, and if the problem is easy, they can do it for free. Where can you find those geeks, and how can you make sure he is what he says he is?

You can spot real geeks in local newspaper classifieds, or poster ads on your local streets. Geeks normally have day time jobs, but try to supplement their income by doing side work on the evenings or weekends, also you can ask family or friends about someone they might know that has done good computer work for them at a reasonable price. This is how I get many calls. Word of mouth.

How can you know the person is a geek? Ask them if they work in the computer field. And if yes, ask them where. If he works for a company in IT he mostly likely is a geek. Working in a company he needs to justify his paycheck, so he might know something, but keep in mind that there are some rotten IT departments in companies, so ask him many questions like, how many years has he been working in the IT field, and why is he doing side work while having a day work? An honest person should have an answer for all those questions. Once you find a good techie, stick with him.

What do you think about this, do you think charging people $250 to tight up a loosen IDE connector is reasonable? Post your opinions on the comment section.

  1. rafik the geek says:

    Well put, having personally worked at a service department at a tech store and IT in a few companies, I have realised that the best geeks, are the ones who are not working low end jobs.

    Generally, if you see a middle aged man claiming to be a geek and working at Best Buy, he will gouge you. He is working for 10 bucks an hour and on comission.

    He wants to sound smart so avoid him.

    Generally people doing work on the side, and getting paid in CASH are your best bet.

    They will charge 25-30 an hour, and probably will fix your problem for less.

    I personally charge 50$ for a problem, and if I can't fix it, no "Consultation" or "Figure out the problem charge".

    You should not be charged for an idiot who needs time to figure out the problem.

  2. A.Y. Siu says:

    I don't really know what an IDE connector is, but I would never pay $250 for such a repair. For a little more than $250, I could get a new computer. The computer I use right now (an Eee PC) was only $399.

    It's about as ridiculous as an autoshop charging you $15,000 to repair your car. For that exact price, you could get a really nice used car. For a little more, you could get a brand new car.

  3. Nelson says:

    Rafik, you are definitely right when you say that geeks working on high quality jobs are the best ones. these are the geeks who strive to be the best, the geeks that read every piece of technical paper that catch their eyes, because technology is their passion.

    I believe you belong to that bunch.

    charging 50 bucks for a well done job is acceptable, as long as the problem does not come back – educating and explaining the problem to the user is the best way to make sure the problem does not come back.

    Thanks for your comment Rafik, and remember,if you want to publish anything interesting you want to share with us, please send me an e-mail to set you up with an account.

  4. Nelson says:

    A.Y. thanks for your sincere comment.

    I don't know why computer repair services like Geeksquad charge so much money for a simple repair solution. I understand they might spend a lot of money to run the business, but they definitely don't care about their customers which should be the base for any business. but they operate more in the mentally of hit and run, probably because they know the customer won't never come back.

    buying a new computer is definitely a better alternative instead of paying the same money to repair a PC.

    hey, have you noticed that geeks quad techies always show up in a van and a ladder even though they only need to remove a virus?

    strange uh.

  5. Judy says:

    I think the biggest problem with Geek Squad is the technicians try to sell you products rather than fix your issue(s). My computer had a bad sector so my computer crashes often. But the Geek Squad came four times and spent countless hours. Guess what, they can't fix it.

    In brief, I went with this small local company in Toronto (http://computersquad.ca), they identified the problem and problem resolved. I'm happy.

  6. Jack X says:

    As a Geek Squad Covert Operator I must stand behind the quality of our work.

    If you say that our work comes undone, allow me to retort.

    90% of the work I do involves removal of the advanced polymorphic virus known as Virtumonde. This is included with several Trojan Packs (as in Wolf Packs, not service packs). Half of these are caused by illegally sharing files over P2P networks, and the other half comes from habitual use of online pornography.

    So, If you call me a money grubbing fool, i call you a Pervert and a Thief.

  7. jordan says:

    computer repair services suck i fix computers for $10.00 to $20.00

    an im 14

  8. PCTech says:

    "people should not pay for consultation or diagnose a problem, period."

    R u nuts?

    Consultation and diagnosing the problem is the most important task, as you have just shown.

    Using that same rationale…lawyers should give you free counsel when you get into arrested for breaking into a warehouse, and doctor's should give you free care when you get an STD from screwing a hooker without a condom.

    Why should you pay someone? Well, obviously he knows more than you, and he is providing a service that if you didn't need or could do yourself, you wouldn't have called in the first place.

    Listen, I'll be the first to admit that there are unscrupulous techs out there, and there many yahoos that think they can fix a pc because the know how to boot into safe mode, but I wouldn't let those jerks tie my shoes, much less trust them with my pc.

    What are you doing for a living these days that is so unreplaceable that you believe people should advise you for free?

    Why do you pay for anything? People owe you, don't they? After all, you were a waiter, and all you did was bring people food, why should I give you money for fetching me something that someone else cooked? I could just as well gotten up and gotten it myself, right?

    It's a good point that you make about being careful not to get ripped off, but when you start saying that people should do stuff for free, you need to move to a communist country.

    Great post JackX. People get into all kinds of sh1t doing illegal stuff, then say the computer is a piece of crap. Maybe they should call up Limewire and complain that Limewire owes them free support because the virus is interfering with their ability to rip off music and software…good luck with that phone call.

  9. May says:

    I just had been rip off worst than ever. I went to the small retial repair shop and asked them to check the problem for me. Then, they give the invoice for only $40. Then, we've been talking during the week and realized that the motherboard are broken (2 computers), so I told him that I don't want to fix it. When I went to pick up my useless computer, the guy give me a $250 invoice. Now I'm stuck with $250 bills and 2 useless computer (that not even start). What should I do? Should I pay the guy or take him to complain court for not being honest and upfront from the beginning. Please help.

  10. Drew says:

    I my self am a Tech, now i have had to deal with the geeksquad and the firedogs before and let me tell you their techs are dumb as hell. I had to explain the problem to them as if they were end users. Now your saying to yourself why would Drew go to them to fix something? Well a few of my clients got burnned by Best buy into buying the Black tie protection which is BS because they just send it out the the manufacture and have it repaired for free. Long story short they dont do their job right they place a Dynex power supply into the Dell unit and VOID the warranty which my client paid extra to dell for. They are such retards.

    When i do a job i charge most of the time a set price and no matter how long i take i will get it done and 90% of the time it only takes the proposed set of time.

    I am A+ cert, Network+, and CCNA. I am tierd of warnning people of the danger of going to a place that your just another number. I tell them we are here for you they are there for them selfs. We care and conform to your need and take care of you as if you were family but with respect. lol Its those dumb a$$es that put us back ten steps and make people lose trust in their local techs. I love computers its what i eat sleep and breath. Its all ive done since i was a little kid my dad worked for a major company (bigger then cisco back in the day) I would run up and down the labs and mess with networking equpment build and distroy computers. Its what i love. Sadly i still cant find a nice job in IT even tho i have my certs. Its crazy! I can tell you one thing i will open my own business before i work for the geeks or compUSA.

  11. Zack says:

    Is it just me or are there no people on this thread who speak English as a first language? Just sayin'…

    Yes, the "technicians" at Geeksquad, Best Buy, CompUSA (before they went under) and Fry's should all be regarded with suspicion. In regards to the Best Buy doofus in the first video, if parts of the computer power on, any jerkoff should know to be looking for other causes before blaming the power supply. I was particularly amused (and dismayed) that the idiot calls the psu a "box."

    I'm not a trained techie. I'm 25, and strangely enough I didn't have access to a computer at home until I was 13 (we're talking 1997 here), my parents not being computer users themselves. I think it's important for any person who depends on their computer today to become familiarized with the basics of pc hardware. My interest doesn't quite reach passion, but I did enjoy learning to build my own systems, selecting exactly the components I wanted, and saving buttloads of money.

    At the very least, use decent system protection programs to try keeping your rig safe when you're torrenting porn. Oh, and don't buy a freaking Mac–it's just PC hardware in a semen-colored enclosure running a different operating system and sold for twice as much as a comparable Dell or Toshiba or whatever. Really love that Leopard-Tiger-Snow Leopard-Drunk Siberian Ruskie OS so much? Buy a PC and learn how to set it up as a dual boot rig–one for XP or 7, one for the Mac's OS.

  12. sinister1 says:

    Hi all,

    I also got into the IT arena because I got tired of getting ripped off. I work as a Deskside Support Specialist for CompuCom and also do my thing on the side thus the name of my website (Techs On The Side).
    I do the work out of my house so that cuts out the price of renting a store or location plus I offer the lowest prices possible in the Houston area. I'm discussed but what these stores charge for simple things like a simple virus scan or memory upgrade. Guys if your in the Houston Texas area look me up at: techs-on-the-side.mysite.com. :)

  13. alkibulan says:

    Hi I am a geek and a 50 year old man. I am in a IT school now! And I learned how to fix computers on my own, and I have never charged, people prices like that! As much as I have ever charged anyone it has never ever been even a hundred dollars. The highest I have ever charged anyone has been $80 bucks. Because I see myself, as helping people keep their computer safe and running well. You! are right I was getting rip off to at one time before, I knew about fixing computers myself.

    But I try to educate people about their computer letting them know even if they don't have the money I will fix it for free! And I have done a lot business for free. So I know what Geeks charge and I don't try to take advantage of people. Honesty is the best way to go! Because it keeps more people coming back to you! Because you value your trade of life, and you not just trying to make a buck by lying to people. I mainly work with linux, but I do most of my repair work in windows.

  14. RethinkPlease says:

    I disagree that there should be no charge when diagnosing issues. It may not seem fair but a person is still spending there time, time that could be spent fixing things for actual money figuring out what is wrong with your machine. I am not saying it should be full price at xx per hour but it should be something. That person took the time if they are qualified to learn how to fix your computer and they should be compensated for their time just as you would want to be for yours in whatever your field is.

    Doctors charge for visits even if you are well, mechanics charge you to determine what is wrong with your car. Almost every field is this way so why should computer science be different? I do feel 50 dollars an hour is far to much for just determining what is wrong but 10 dollars an hour is not, and that is in my opinion an acceptable diagnosis price.

    People need to understand that places like geek squad and similar retail repair shops to those are huge. They have massive overhead just like a fast food restaurant chain. On the same token they are run very similar to a fast food joint. Would you take your date to a McDonald's for a nice sit down meal on a special day? Would you go to Burger King for your anniversary dinner? I am thinking for the most part and most people that answer is NO. Why then would you take your computer to a "fast food" computer retail repair shop? Just something to think about when you are bitching about your computer not getting repaired correctly and for a reasonable amount of money.

    And for those who want to poke holes in that analogy my price model is not based on the fast food theory just the service model so just save it.

  15. realpctech says:

    There is a huge skill in diagnostics and consultation time is a huge chunk of the day. What we have here is self serving so called know it alls, who dont really know the job at all. first and foremost, if you dont think you are good enough, you dont chargem because you know your not worth the money..simple as. geek squad, futureshop etc are all the same, they are useless and geeksquad are just about the lowest form of pond scum when it comes to techs. the one who answered about standing by the quality of their work and started BSing about viruses, gimme a break, that just shows what they know, nothing and they all have little ranks to show how insecure they really are.

    the biggest problem with this industry is exploitation of the customer….i run a business that is fully transparent and i build my clientle over the years ive been in the industry. yes i meet some shyster customers and they end up where they belong, at the end of a lawyer letter or debt collection agency where they belong, its a two way street in business. i know how good i am, i dont have to talk ro discuss it, i just do it and i deserve to be paid for it. i work at the high end, but as for the assumption all good techs work at the high end, you culdnt be more wrong. there are very few good techs in this game, most of the techs are all talkers and no substance… i come across them all the time, in fact i love these guys, cos when they cant do the job, which is most of the time, they call me and bingo. so rule number one, learn the trade and keep learning, believe ur worth what u get paid. if your crap, then thats why u think u shouldnt accept money for diagnostics and consultation, but keep dreaming… to all the good techs out there…keep doing what ur doing…

  16. realpctech says:

    oh yeah, i nearly forgot, 10 bucks an hour for diagnostics. dude, i wouldnt touch a machine for less than 40 bucks for a diagnostic. if its onsite, then its by the hour regardless… so im missing the point between ast food and diagnostics on computers…stop eating the thermal paste son. you seem to know alot oabout these places, so im guessing this is where u work now. also, a piee of paper does not mean your qualified, its only a piece of paper. i know techs who have no qualifications, but they could blow most guys out of the water in the industry. its what u know that counts and talking a good game isnt knowing, walking the walk is what its all about…wannabe techs.. they are the bain of the computer world…

  17. Karen says:

    I've recently purchased a virus removal service from the Geeks at Best Buy. The whole process turn out to be somewhat of a nightmare and I'd only wished I done my research before signing that credit card slip. In the end, I did get a refund, but what it took to get there is amazing and unforgivable.

    Last week, I received a virus in the middle of writing a final term paper. Earlier in the day I had let a friend of mine use the machine to watch the awards on tv. He was unable to find a good site to watch it on, but he did find a site that filled my computer with loads of crap. The resulting viruses and 'malware' as it was explained, was the reason why I lost my paper that evening.

    Geek Squad was right down the street, and eager to get something done, I visited the store, talking with the tech, dropped my machine off, very eager and get my paper back and computer cleaned. I get my paperwork, and a promise it will be done in 24 hours! Long story short, and 4 days later, no PC, and im still on a time crunch. I started googling around for GEEK SQUAD REVIEWS, and found this website. Surprised…? You bet.

    I ran some google searches and found secure remote support. They had a nifty lil box that I could talk to the technician through right on their website. The representative was able to give me an exact figure of what is was to cast to optimize my computer and said he could do it from their office and I wouldn't need to take it anywhere. I was able to pay with my credit card on their site (which Geek Squad couldn't do!) which made it easy for me. The technician then started his process and in less than an hour I was surprised at how fast and clean my computer was again. It was like it was new all over again. I had forgot how fast it was. The technician, then recovered my word document and was able to get all of it except that last page that I had written. The technician thanked me for my business upon completion. This was all at 2am! He sold me the service for about 80 bucks, and an external hard drive which arrived last week (to back up all my school work.)

    The end result, was me filing a BBB complaint against Geek Squad, finally getting my money back, and giving my business to a company like secure remote support. They actually earn it, and do a good job. Do your research before you buy. No one wants to get stuck in my situation, not fun.

  18. jer says:

    Brought my PC to them on Wed. with a need to replace the motherboard. I order the replacement part and send it off to them with my PC. They tell me it will be a day or two, so I'm waiting for them to call me. Two days later, I'm calling them and they're saying it will be a few more days because they apparently only have 2 people talented enough to replace the motherboard. I'm still here waiting for this to be done.

  19. Julia says:

    The original, old school Geek Squad used to be pretty good. We used to use them a few times a year. The current Geek Squad is a joke, staffed by young kids, the majority of whom don't know their craft. We switched to Eureka at eureka123.com and have been well take care of. If Geek Squad focused less on upselling the crap out of people and more on skills, they would be better off.

  20. bestfreepcsoftware says:

    I went to geek squad once years ago. They charged me 60 for a diagnostic and 100 for diagnosing a "faulty hard drive." I bought a new hdd. They only used Avast Free to "diagnose" it saying it'll be dead within days. I take it home and see they never ran Avast. I ran it and it rid me of a nasty virus. Problem solved and I have 2 working hdd… years later.

  21. Bill says:

    There is no way I would diagnose a PC for free. People shouldn't be getting ripped off, but people have bills to pay. Unless some charity wants to collection donations and give them to me to be the "free PC repair guy" I am going to charge for a diagnosis. I probably won't charge $100, but I'm definitely going to factor in the cost of electricity, my time, etc. into the cost.

    There is a difference between lying (or being flat out wrong about something) about a problem and then asking for exorbitant amounts of money to fix it and honestly evaluating a problem. If I look inside a machine and all I have to do is plug in an IDE cable then that is maybe $5. If I have to run hardware diagnostics for two days straight and swap parts out it will be more.

    I definitely don't want to trick people into getting services they don't really need, but I am definitely not going to get stressed and spend my time fixing problems for next to nothing.

  22. Mexica says:

    Oh, I see the language police have arrived. Newsflash, the internet is international and English isn’t the only language in the world. I’d venture to guess that you only know one language. Also, being an English only speaker doesn’t give you Carte Blanche to be a d***head.

  23. Adam says:

    I disagree with Bill, it is very simple to diagnose 99.9% of issues and I’m not exaggerating. Any competent repairman will almost never need diagnostic software to diagnose an issue. It is sad that most computer repair shops higher technicians with little experience and no education. I challenge Bill to give us a situation where he would need diagnostic software to pinpoint the issue. The only time I would ever use any type of software would be to test a new hardware piece that has been installed. Stress tests for compliance is about it.

  24. Jessica says:

    Hey guys- I had a problem with MacBook pro and because my warranty is done I stupidly went to best buy. Geek Squad told me that it would be a to 5 day turn around- this was on a Monday morning.

    Friday came and I called- they said it would be done by Sat morning, sat morning I called and they said it was still nect in line and would be done Sunday, I called sunday and they still hadn’t touched it.

    I was about to pull it out but they assured me the guy who was working on it tarted it and when I spoke with him (it was a missing OS X file so we tried to re-install the the disks and they would not install. He said that a new harddrive would fix this and put it in. $239.99 I got back the computer the same way it went in. No booting, not reading the OS disks.

    We had an identical MacBook pro we can use for parts so we took out the new harddrive and used the second Mac’s harddrive and what a shock it booted! A 3 year old could have been able to see at that point that is was a dvd drive issue. Anyway I already returned the new hard drive so that was $99.99 back.

    Now from what we found I feel as if the 20 minutes this tech spent on the laptop was NOT worth $140 as he didn’t correctly diagnose or fix ANYTHING. I am getting the rest of my money refunded today and filing a complaint with the BBB if they do no honor this. Thoughts?

  25. Devan says:

    I got into this type of deal recently. My laptop would not turn on so I though why not support a local business, so I took it to a small local repair shop. I am low on cash so the first thing I asked upon entering the office was “How much is your hourly fee?” the man behind the counter said, and I quote “We don’t have an hourly fee.”

    He then proceeded to tell me if I wanted to pay $50 to have it looked at quickly I could or it would be free to diagnose and he would charge me to fix it.I thought this sounded awesome. I would have paid an hourly fee, but I am more likely to pay a high repair fee when the diagnosis is free.

    When my husband went to pick it up(over two weeks later) the guy told him it was $35 for diagnosis. He then said he would waive that fee if I would pay the $35 as a fee to have the files transferred. He said the motherboard was shot and it wasn’t worth fixing a one year old base model laptop. Really?

    It’s not worth it to put a one hundred dollar part in to have a new laptop? Wouldn’t that still be cheaper than a new one? Even if he charged a hundred to put it in. I believe he just wanted to keep my computer for himself and probably sell it to someone for a couple hundred bucks.

    So it went from no fee to $35 to give me my broken computer back. I really don’t mind the fee….however I do mind being lied to. On top of that when I got home and plugged it in….”fried motherboard” and all, it started charging again.

    I’m assuming something was disconnected. It has worked ever since. I will never take anything there again. Waste of time and money and poor business ethics. These people give a bad name to “geeks.”

  26. Barb Johnson says:

    I came to this site to check on Geek Squad and any other ideas for getting my computer fixed. My son put in a new graphics card yesterday and now it won’t boot up. We recently moved and I can’t find the boot disk for my 4 year old Dell PC. I’m worried. Want the thing fixed and am scared about getting ripped off. I’m going to try to find a local person. Thank you for this helpful site even though I’m not an IT professional.

  27. Ex-geek squad tech says:

    I worked for Geek Squad in Nanaimo BC Canada, and was told one day that my job isn’t only to just go into people’s houses and fix things, I’m there to sell them things while I’m in their house. Very uncomfortable. They could care less about your teching skills. The entrance quiz they give you is all about sales rather than actual technical ability. I quit over the phone, my conscience couldn’t take it, and the GM of Best Buy tried to guilt me out and lied to my former co-workers about why I was gone. He no longer works there, I’ve heard. Good riddance! NEVER go to Geek Squad. Take your business to your local techs who run their own thing, those people are smart and dedicated.

  28. John Palace says:

    Most of the Best Buy and other repair centers work on a “cookie cutter” recipe formula. that’s why so many are dissappointed with their results. Also, as pointed out in previous comments, the technical expertise found at many of these “repair centers” is very basic. Lost data is very common. Backup your data before you go in, or better yet, do the repair yourself. There is so much help available on the internet, and some instructional products available to help you do it. Check out products like Home Technician which you can have as a resource any time you need it.

  29. Cindy says:

    I took your advise and contacted a local IT Pro that my sister and some friends had used. WOW what a difference. MY PC was infected with some root kits and other junk . the Geeksquad said it had to be reformatted and they wanted 159.00 I took it over to the guy and he fixed it for $75.00 and the thing runs GREAT , he didn’t have to reformat it. Told us all he had to do was runs some scans and fix a few registry problems. Places like Geeksquad are such a rip off

  30. LavaGeek says:

    Cindy, what a disappointment! You actually went the cheap way out. I hope that your “Local” IT Pro actually missed a rootkit (it happens with newly released rootkits that have not made into rootkit cleaners). With any virus found, you are better of with a reformat of your drive. It is the only way to know that no rootkit and/or any other viruses are active on your hard disk! Actually, $159.00 is a reasonable price for a reformat and reinstallation of the OS.

Leave a Reply