Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Geek Squad Sucks

So they have cool little cars, impressive commercials, and wear nerdy looking clothes. They still suck. Twice I have gone to Geek Squad with a computer problem and twice I encountered a teenager who knows less about computers than I do. The first time was the disk problem... OK, I really didn't expect them to open up the disk and recover the data but I did expect them to make more than a minimal effort. In fact, the Geek Squad guy did nothing more than what I was able to do myself. He pulled the drive and put it in another PC where it still didn't work. Duh... I told him the disk was fried. I expected a little more like maybe swapping the electronics on the drive and seeing if that might do something. But that would have required some technical know-how and that does not seem to be what geek Squad is about.

OK, how about the second problem which happened last week with my daughter's PC. According to the lights on the back of the PC, the processor failed. So I called Geek Squad on the phone and they said, "Sure, no problem, bring it in, we can fix that." Well, actually after I dragged the PC over there I discovered that if I buy a new processor from Dell they will put it in for me. For $50. They wouldn't even bother checking the computer to make sure it really was the processor or even order the processor themselves. Putting in a processor may sound scary but if you can plug in a toaster without electrocuting yourself, you can put a new processor in a computer. It is about 5 minutes worth of work. So Geek Squad will be happy to put in the processor, with no guarantee that the processor is actually the problem, at the equivalent rate of $600 per hour. Nice work if you can get it.

They will install a hard drive at $40 (after you buy the hard drive). What does installing a new hard drive entail? Open the PC, slide the hard drive into a slot, and plug two cables into the hard drive. Close the PC and start her up. Less that 5 minutes work. They will install a memory chip for $30. Again, less than 5 minutes for you to do it yourself. They will install anti-virus software for $30 plus the cost of the software. Are you telling me that someone might own a computer and not know how to put a disk in their CD player because that is all Geek Squad will do for you. For $170 they will remove any viruses and spyware and add a firewall and some virus protection. $170!!! I cleaned up my sister's PC which was infected with both spyware and viruses without using anything other than some free anti-spyware software and 90-day free version of Norton.

Geek Squad is a rip-off. They charge outrageous amounts for the simplest work but are incapable of doing anything more than what anyone can do with just a little advice or assistance from a random teenager.

16 comments:

Darwin said...

Probably because they are a rip-off, Geek Squad has one of the most envied business models out there. It's very, very high margin because their reason for being is essentially that half the people who own computers not only know nothing about computers but are afraid to try.

Anonymous said...

You obviously haven't seen the dark side of PC repairs.. $30 sounds like a ripoff for just installing antivirus software.. but have you even had to deal with a computer that had a problem when you went to install that software? What do you do? oh.. it just usually takes a ton of time to hunt down and figure out the problem and fix that as well. Everything isn't as hunky-dory as you describe. If it's that easy, setup your own shop and put the noob squad out of business.

Anonymous said...

"Putting in a processor may sound scary but if you can plug in a toaster without electrocuting yourself, you can put a new processor in a computer"

ROFL!!! Just like my friend, who's an auto mechanic said, "Why did you take your car in to have your right front axle replaced? That's easy! Just pop it out and pop it in! You paid too much!"

It may be easy to you, when you know how to do it, but just like my car problems, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO IT AND I DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW! Hello? Do you get it? Do you understand? Are you that disconnected with real people?

Just with my car repair, I paid the price quoted to me because it WAS WORTH IT TO ME! I have NO desire to learn how to replace a right front axle!

Just with replacing a processor, it isn't as easy as you claim it is! $50 bucks is certainly worth it to most normal people out there.

Anonymous said...

Yup. People pay for services they deem to be worth the cost. Geek Squad charges a fixed price for each service - regardless of how long it takes.

As for installing software, I had an agent install anti-virus and anti-spyware on my computer and they did much more than just drop it in and hit 'okay.' They worked with me to make sure that everything was setup how I wanted it and set task times so that nothing conflicted.

Tom P. said...

I am guessing the the last two posters workat Geek Squad! ;)

Taking off a front axle involves a few specialized tools such as a lift that most people don't have lying around the house. There are no special tools required to put in a new processor. Literally, it is a matter of unplugging the old processor and plugging in the new one. If you think it is worth $50 to get someone to do that then I guess you also pay someone to turn on the heat for you when it is cold and vacuum the floor when it is dirty. But if you want to bring your computer over my house I'll gladly replace your processor for $40.

Anonymous said...

To the last comment about configuring software, if you really need someone to configure your software for you then I don't think you should be using a computer.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that they have the "drive electronics" for every hard drive ever made in the back in a closet someehere... I think you don't realize that some people just want to have stuff fixed for them, they don't want to learn how to do it. Repair shops are for these people, not people who know how to do their own repairs. I would never pay for someone to work on my computer but that is because I can do it myself and am confident in my ability.

Tom P. said...

Wow! I seem to have really struck a note with the Geek Squad employees! Most of the things on the GeekSquad price list are not repairs. They are extremely simple computer upgrades that take less than 5 minutes to do. Would you pay someone to change the batteries in your flashlight? Then why would you pay someone to plug in a new memory card in your computer. They both require the same level of skill.

As to the drive electronics, no one is suggesting that they have the drive electronics to every possible drive in every store. But why don't they have access to it? They have thousands of stores, why can't they have access to the electronics on an as needed basis? I was willing to leave the drive with them for as long as it would have taken to make some real attempts at recovering the data and I would have been willing to pay for their time even if they failed. But thatis not what Geek Squad is about because would require that their people actually know something about computers.

Anonymous said...

Some things you've all said are valid, others are just absurd.

For your issue about the drive being fried. Once the motors or machanics are gone, there is nothing you can really do besides opening the drive and yanking out the platters. Trust me there isn't a single computer repair company that will do that for you without a clean room. If you open a drive and if any dust or dirt gets on the patters you can lose data. There's no such thing as easily replacing a part on the hard drive to fix it. If a computer can't read the drive then you'll have to deal with a fully recovery company. Do a google search to find out the cost of data recovery from one of these companies.

For the software most people that need software installed are either having problems with it installing it themselves, or are just unable to do it themselves.

Finally for the processor issue, Best Buy does not carry processors. Sending you to Dell to get a replacement processor is the only sure way to get the right part. Most of the times if the computer is still dead after replacing the power supply, memory or hard drive, it is better to replace the whole computer since it could be a failure of the motherboard or processor, or both. Sure $50 sounds high for something that can take 5 minutes. Sometimes it takes much longer to install the processor. If done wrong you'll destroy the processor.

I'm not saying Geek Squad is without fault but the fees for the services are for the knowledge of the geeks, not the time invested.

Tom P. said...

Well, I like to be considered absurd. Most drives can have their electronics replaced without tearing them apart.

As to the processors... Actually, Best Buy does carry processors (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=cat01070&type=category) But, the geek did not even check the PC to verify that I actually needed a processor, did not offer to order the processor for me, did not offer to do anything, in fact, other than to install it for me for $50 after I bought the processor. Why would I be more likely to get the right part than the Geek? Are they icapable of using a phone or a website to determine what processor I needed? If I can figure out the processor then certainly installing it should be a piece of cake.

A friend of mine made a good comparison. Most people feel absolutley no qualms about spending $1,000 at Ikea and putting the furniture together themselves but wouldn't dare put in a memory chip.

The Geek Squad is in the business of making people waste their money on poorly trained "geeks". By creating the myth of the "geek", Geek Squad has made it seem like the insides of their computer are some mysterious region where only people with bad haircuts and too short pants dare to tread. Geek Squad is a rip-off.

Anonymous said...

You have done some research, but for the record Best Buy does nto carry a processor for a DELL. Some of Dells parts are proprietary. You shouldn't talk until you know ALL the facts...

Anonymous said...

As a feild service tech for several different companys I have seen alot of Geeks doing things completely wrong. Not to mention that they are so over priced. The best example is in Ft Scott KS the geek who worked over this poor guys computer had removed the PC from its OEM case and put in a full tower case, but the tech didn't put the stand offs in the new case, and poof small fire in the case. the bad part is it was brand new never even turned on by the end user. To make matters worse HP refused to warrenty the item since it was removed from the manufactures case. Best Buy also refused to warrenty it since the "Technition" didn't log the the transfer of the guts into the new case correctly in the system. I spent hours resolving this issue and hope to hell the geek squad goes away. It would make life in joplin mo so much better

Anonymous said...

None of dells Cpus are propritary the system boards and cases are the only propritary componets

Nick Newberry
Dell DCSE service tech
Banctec and Qualxserv

Anonymous said...

Qualxserv is a scumbag greedy wannabe corporation!! Do NOT work for them, they treat their employees like GARBAGE!! I am a employee so I know what I am talking about! If your service contract with Dell is thru Qualxserv, call dell and switch!!! Do NOT give these people ONE MORE DIME, they run their company like its publically traded when it is PRIVATELY OWNED! Screw over the employees to make one person richer!!

Anonymous said...

I gotta call 7:20am from my Manager at Qualxserv. He said I was to be laid off permanently. No warning just an early morning call. This was after having worked for them for over six months and no complaints from anyone. The said because the company was "re-alighning the companys resources with its business priorities" I was to be terminated that day. End of story. Don't work for this company as a tech. Don't waste your time with these fuckers.

X said...

Do not bring your computer to Staples. Go with the honest and knowledgeable small guy.