3 reasons why a mom-and-pop shop is better than a PC repair chain. (1 Viewer)


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Think you’re doing your PC a favor by bringing it to one of the big retail chains? Think again!

This article will explain why it’s better to have your PC repaired at a local mom-and-pop computer shop, or even by a local freelancer, than going to one of the big retail-based chain depots.

1: Independent techs are usually more knowledgeable.

Reason: Retail-based repair depots are so big that finding people who really “know their stuff” is difficult. After all, they have 1,000+ stores to fill with techs. Do you really think that they care if a tech is savvy enough to fix a difficult issue without formatting? Don’t think so. They will look for someone that knows how to talk a good game to customers and as long as he knows how to uncheck boxes in the system configuration utility or run ad-aware.

2: Independent techs will not falsify a diagnosis to get you to buy something.

Reason: Retail-based repair depots are in a store with numbers to meet. As such, they will many times push their techs to stretch the truth to get you to buy an extra product or service. Mom-and-pop shops and freelancers don’t have to worry about a suit in a cushy office breathing down their back, so when they tell you something, almost all the time it’ll be an honest diagnosis. Plus, at many retail-based repair depots those “techs” are actually just salespeople that have been stuck behind the tech counter, and their first job to do is to sell you stuff.

3: Independent techs are not restricted to what software tools they can use (this is the biggest of all).

Reason: Many of the software that is out there to fix various problems are freeware. Meaning free to use forever. However, one look in the license agreement almost always has 2 clauses: “only for private, non-commercial” use and “not for profit use only.” Retail-based chains certainly don’t fit either of those categories. The first clause is self-explanatory – no business use. The second clause is there because even though using the tool doesn’t cost the customer anything, chains are charging people for their services and using the tool to fix the problem therefore making a profit off of it. Some of the chains have tried to use freeware software (even if a certain one is the only tool that really gets rid of a certain virus) and have gotten sued by the vendors of the software for license violations. Because of this, the retail chains restrict their techs to only using software that’s on an “allowed software” list. The software listed on this list is software that the vendors have given the chain permission to use. Many times this software does not get the job done (many viruses, for example, require specialized tools that are “hands off” for corporations to touch) and chains are forced to format the machine after spending days running scanner after scanner. And techs cannot tell customers “we had to format because we are not legally cleared to use the software that takes care of the issue.” To the retail-based chains, formatting is better than risking being sued for resolving a customer’s problem.

Now you may be asking, “freelancers and mom-and-pop shops also make a profit by using freeware software to fix problems, why aren’t they restricted?” The answer is simple: they are a small goldfish in a sea of whales. Software vendors won’t go after a small mom-and-pop shop because they know that they would probably only get “chump change” from going after them, and it’s just not worth it after paying the lawyers. They won’t go after a freelancer because most freelancers are doing their work as a hobby on their spare time off from their day-job. As such, because they’re free to use anything to fix the problem, a mom-and-pop shop or a freelancer would most likely be able to fix your issue in a couple of hours without formatting where as the retail chain would keep the PC for days and then call you up and say, “we did all we can, we have to format now.”

Your next question may be, “then why don’t the retail chains make the effort to get better software they CAN use?” It’s not that simple. First, the suits in the store’s corporate headquarters need to talk to the vendor’s legal dept. By the time the vendor lets the chain use a piece of their software, it may not be as effective as it once was. Secondly, even if a vendor does gives its blessing to use its software it may want a crazy amount of money, like a couple of million dollars or so. And some vendors refuse to let a corporation touch their software no matter how much money the store wants to pony up.
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