So, who watched Anne Robinson and her crew on Watchdog last week? If you did, did you see the ‘Rogue Traders’ section about the computer repair company? From our perspective, its was very uncomfortable and frustrating viewing. ‘Cowboys’ like these don’t do genuine services any favours.


When the interviews (loosely termed) took place for new staff to help in the field for company the show was based on, the emphasis was very much on sales, with a minimum target value of £120. Any job earning below £120 and staff would receive minimum wage. However, if they met the apparent target of £120, they would then earn commission on top of their basic. Hmmm, we thought they were there to offer a service to repair, not sales? With the Watchdog staged computer problem of having a jumper (something to tell the computer the priority of drives) incorrectly set on a hard drives, the PC will get confused and not boot. This isn’t so much of an issue with newer PC’s, as they come with numbered connections for SATA. Regardless, it should have been a straightforward issue to resolve, however, this wasn’t  the case. The salesman, sorry, engineer said the hard drive had seen better days and a replacement was needed at a cost of, you’ve guessed it, beyond £120 at £205!! This wasn’t necessary, but it was done anyway and at an outrageous price.

But it gets worse the ‘new’ hard drive they installed wasn’t new, it was used! On top of that, the content on the drive was confidential medical records and illegal software! Ouch! Double whammy! The customer was charged a crazy price for a ‘new’ hard drive that wasn’t needed and worse still, it contained confidential information and illegal software. The icing on the cake, none of the files were saved from the old hard drive and therefore, lost. Well we say that, but we have our suspicions that the old drive will be sold on to another customer at £205 complete with the apparently ‘lost’ files.

Now we appreciate that things can be dramatised to make good TV and we’re sure it’s not as black and white as was relayed on TV, but the principal behind it is cause for concern and gives genuine businesses a bad name.

Technology SOS are a service with the client interests as a priority, not sales with a minimum target and certainly not misleading. If a new replacement hard drive is needed, that’s exactly what you’d get, a new replacement hard drive and we’d be happy to prove it. We’d also happily return clients back their old hard drive if they wanted, or we could destroy it on their behalf. When we destroy hard drives, the data is overwritten to a minimum level that is used by the Department Of Defence so there’s no risk of your data getting into the wrong hands. This takes quite a few hours to run, but time isn’t the issue here, it’s removing any traces of personal data.

Also, never under estimate the importance of backups. We put have all our personal files on the computer, especially photos (new babies, family celebrations etc) and trust they’re safe and take everything for granted. It’s only when something goes catastrophically wrong that we realise. Hindsight eh, but we’ve seen it so many times and backups are regular topic of conversation. There are so many solutions available, many that are automated and require no user interaction and just works in the background.

So Jerry time, final thoughts. Don’t let what you see on Watchdog put you off, there are Rogue Traders everywhere, just be selective who you choose and be comfortable with what’s being done. Personally, we go for referrals where we can and we’d say about 75% of our work is via word of mouth as we treat people exactly how we’d expect to be treated.

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