BBC Watchdog Reveals Poor Standards of Computer Repair Industry in Damning Report into Click4PC
The reputation of the computer repair industry took a battering last week as BBC Watchdog featured the activities of Click 4 PC and Click Computers, a computer repair company based in Birmingham.
BBC Watchdog had received a number of disturbing accounts of missing data and computers being held to ransom by the company and decided to investigate further. They revealed a string of dubious practices including false diagnosis of faults, fitting of second hand hard drives containing other people's data, alleged supply of illegal software and passing off used equipment as being new. When customers complained they discovered that the customer services skills of Click 4 PC also left a lot to be desired.
Jat Mann, Founder and Managing Director of the UK's largest computer repair and support franchise organisation PC PAL, said of the findings: "It was in fact a bad experience with a rogue computer repair company I had over eight years ago which prompted me to start my own business repairing computers, but one which operated ethically and actually did a good job and made customers happy! It is quite shocking to see any company who treats customers like this and especially one which has access to so much valuable and potentially sensitive data, and not the least because the company in question have offices only down the road from mine!"
It emerged in the program that the BBC Watchdog undercover agent was able to secure a job with the company without having to prove any qualifications whatsoever and was then told he should aim to achieve at least £120 for each job, which would only be revealed to the customer after they had appeared onsite for a ‘free diagnosis'. What should have been a field Engineer's job was actually described as a sales job.
"It is quite a worry when a customer has no idea what this firm would charge them before the engineer enters their home," remarked Jat.
"The core value which underpins PC PAL is one of trust, which we feel has to be the number one feature of a service which, if it goes wrong, can be a disaster for a customer who may have lost valuable data, especially if that customer is a business. To that end we only send out Microsoft and CompTIA qualified engineers, who have also been CRB vetted. We also carry out 99% of our work in the customers own home or office so equipment is not removed and thereby put at risk. All customers are briefed on our charges before the engineer sets foot inside a customer's home."
The computer repair and support industry is, at present, totally unregulated meaning that anyone can set themselves up in business. They frequently do as is evidenced by the levels of poor service experienced by many people attempting to have their computer repaired. Tradesmen can be operating in their spare time, from back bedrooms, often with no qualifications whatsoever.
Jat Mann went on to say: "I would be a strong advocate of this industry having some kind of regulatory body behind it, as it is only getting more crucial that people have access to properly qualified and ethical people to handle these types of problems. With the Governments race to get everyone online should also come the realisation that it is spawning a cowboy industry which can do a lot of damage if left to proliferate as it is currently."
Read more information on the PC PAL franchise opportunity here.