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Computer repair rivalry, or jealousy between shops...

By ReflowJo ·
Hi there

I am manager of an independant computer store who do the usual repairs (up to BGA level) plus sales, etc.
Recently we had a new shop open straight opposite us ( by an ex employee of ours!) straight away the posters went up in his window "Cheaper, gauranteed and twice the service". Now i dont mind healthy competition but the reason the guy no longer works for us was that his work was unbelievably shoddy (glueing DC sockets back on, etc) and he was forever jealous as to the size of the shop we had plus the amount of repairs we get in (over 100 a week).

Now, today we had a job in from a student, usual premise of not much money, etc, etc. So we tested his hard disk as we were not happy with some of the cyclic redundancy errors coming off his hard drive during the data recovery phase and found that there was a smart failure as well as over 100 ECC sector errors on the hard disk. WE advised the customer to replace the disk as even though a full format would cover the sectors, chances are it will get worse over time. After shrugging a few times he takes it over to the other shop and brings it back saying "oh he's fixed it and only charged me a third of what you were quoting to replace the disk". All he had done was to run the usual chkdsk /r on the drive, so it was back and kicking into windows. We explain to the customer that although it looks ok, he does not test the machines he repairs so the issue will likely occur again very soon.
Obviously he didnt believe us and accused us of trying to rip him off, never use us again, etc, etc. Now the interesting part.
He then took the laptop back over to the shop and told him what we had said. The other shop then promised that if the disk does go down then they will replace it free of charge!!! Now am i missing something here? The disk is definately on the way out, with clicking also occuring during the data recovery phase.
Is he just doing all this to make us look like rip off merchants or am i missing something altogether?

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Yes

by santeewelding In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

I think you miss and misuse the point of this forum.

I would remand you to a court of lower jurisdiction.

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Oh wow

by ReflowJo In reply to Yes

And what is the point of this forum? For IT professionals to discuss the IT industry? I'm sure there are plenty of people who have had this happen to them, i'm merely broaching the subject to see other peoples opinion.

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well

by Snuffy09 In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

if he does such shotty work then people will soon catch on when their "repaired" systems start failing them. Then it will go back to being just your shop on the street :)

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Maybe

by seanferd In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

He just really is that clueless, or there will be a catch when the time for replacement comes around.

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Having been in a similar situation in the past,

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

I can only advise you do what I did at the time. I said "We have different approaches to our work, I follow a professional outline and work ethic that I use. I advised you of the problem as I saw it, you chose to go elsewhere and they see a different problem. I've no trouble with that as it's your system and your money. I can only say I don't get systems back with the same problem, I don't know about him."

That way you can't be got at for putting him down, but you leave a seed of doubt in the client's mind. Then you sit back and wait for the client's next visit.

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The worst case I had was parts for an older Compaq weren't available and the local Compaq rep said the system couldn't be repaired, the woman should throw it away and buy a new one. She couldn't afford that. I replaced the hard drive with a new one that was different, because it was the Compaq version of Windows wouldn't run, so I loaded a new version of Win 98SE, the original was Win 95. I got the system working with more RAM, a bigger hard drive, and a newer OS than the original set up.

While she was away on holidays her sister's kids were allowed to use system while visiting their gran, they picked up a virus off the Internet. Gran took the machine to the Compaq dealer who immediately wiped the legal copy of Win 98 SE as the manual said Win 98 doesn't run on that machine. He did a format C and also wiped all the data as he made no attempt to back it up and complained about the system being faulty as the standard image for that system wouldn't run on it. He charged $100.00 and gave it back not working after two weeks.

I went back to the shop with the woman's mother and ended up getting the owner called in and getting her money back as they not only failed to fix the machine but made it worse.

Interestingly that shop was out of business after only 18 months of operation, and I wasn't surprised. the techs all had Compaq certifications but all they could do was run Ghost to re-image machines and do blanket swaps of parts from stock, no real knowledge of the hardware or how the systems worked.

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If all the details of your story are correct...

by dixon In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

...I promise you the problem will correct itself.

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Exactly. (nt)

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to If all the details of you ...
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I agree....

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to If all the details of you ...

... the other guy will run himself out of business because of customer dissatisfaction, probably sooner rather than later.

It won't take much time for word to spread about shoddy work that comes out of his store. Bad news travels much faster than good news.

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My Bet, if this is true

by The Scummy One In reply to Computer repair rivalry, ...

the HDD when it fails, and needs replacing, will suddenly be a different problem, and needs to be purchased. Either that or he's got a stack of free HDD's somewhere?
There is a catch whatever the case.

Whatever you do though, you really should keep from badmouthing the other shop. Not only is it unprofessional, if the loser there is a jerk, he may hit you with a slander suit. Best is to avoid the possibility.

Likely if you have been giving good service and have satisfied customers, you will keep many customers, regardless of what is in his window. The other shop will likely pull some away, however, if these people are unsatisfied, you will likely find them return. And in these cases, you may end up with lifetime customers.

I wouldnt worry too much about it, unless you charge way, way too much or put out shoddy work.

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Well well well...

by ReflowJo In reply to My Bet, if this is true

Thanks for all the replys guys. I had to get it off my chest as sometimes it does make you question your own judgement and knowledge when things like this happen.

And what would you know, the client came back into the store earlier today to ask us if we still has his data backed up as he was now getting imminent smart failure predicted messages coming up constantly. Unfortunately for him we are governed by strict laws that govern personal data, so his data had already been wiped of our system. Needless to say he wasnt very happy with the other store. I did feel kinda sorry for the guy as he obviously thought he was getting a good deal at the other store, plus he is now back at square one, albeit with a new hard disk but possibly minus his data.

God knows why two shops cant co-exist peacufully, we both target two different dermographics and both do totally different repairs, except for the laptops that is.

Maybe in the long run it will all even itself out.

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