Can The Major Chains (Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples) Really Fix Your Computer Problems?

While wandering around the Internet I found an interesting article by a television station in the Sacramento, CA area about an experiment done concerning PC repairs and three of the major chains. The TV station KCRA-TV had its own Manager of Information Technology (David York) create a problem on an IBM PC by disabling the hard disk in the BIOS. The station contented that the fix should have been an easy one and could be done in about 30 seconds with six or seven keystrokes.

It then took the PC to three of the major chains that advertise they fix computers, being Best Buy, Circuit City, and Staples for a fix of the problem. It reported the following:

Best Buy and Circuit City charged $60 up front to say what it thought was wrong with the PC.

Staples charged a $50 diagnostic fee.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad on Freeway Boulevard in Sacramento thought the problem was a software issue and asked for the Eventually, Best Buy found and fixed the problem, but it gave the worst customer service of the three chains. Best Buy promised five times to return Call 3’s phone calls but never did. It also kept the computer the longest amount of time. Windows restore disc. When that did not work, they asked to use their own Windows disc. York gave BB a letter grade of D.

Circuit City Firedogs in Elk Grove ran disc fitness and memory tests. The computer passed both. Circuit City said there was no operating system and charged an additional $129.99 to restore it. Later, they found and fixed the real problem. “You got charged $130. It wasn’t for fixing the real problem — it was for reinstalling the operating system. You also lost all your data. Any personal folder, files, pictures of the kids — it’s all gone. You’re not getting it back,” York said.York gave Circuit City an F.

Staples on Howe Avenue in Sacramento assigned Easy Tech Kevin Sakamoto to work on the Call 3 PC.But when that did not work, Sakamoto started poking around the system settings and hit on the real problem.”It was actually pretty easy because you could see in there that the boot device was turned off. It was just a matter of turning it back on, and then somehow it magically worked,” said Sakamoto.Staples found the problem the fastest. Sakamoto thought the hard drive was missing and charged an additional $139.99 to replace it. It returned the computer working in the same condition in which we gave it to them. Staples also said they initially misdiagnosed the problem and refunded the money for the hard drive.He gave Staples a letter grade B.

This makes for an interesting read. But how accurate is the information? Does it judge every store in the chain’s service department the same? Or should one take these findings with a grain of salt?

What has your experience been with one of the major chains? Were you satisfied or did you feel like you got ripped off?

Let us know. Comments welcome.

Full article is here.