Laptop Cash

Flat Rate Fallacy

By their complex nature computer problems are often unpredictable. An open ended per hour charge understandably makes customers uneasy. Therefore some computer repair companies employ flat rate pricing as a way of guaranteeing costs. On the surface this sounds reasonable. Yet the inter-connectivity of a computer can cause flat rate pricing to be a huge rip off.

Suppose you have a Windows Mail problem for instance. A tech could say he will work on it and quotes an attractive flat rate charge. However the underlying problem may be an internet issue that is manifesting itself in Windows Mail. But you’re not paying him to work on internet issues. His so called flat rate “doesn’t cover that”. So he tells you that there are also internet problems. But not to worry! “There’s a flat rate for that!” The next thing you know the low flat rate price is 3 or 4 times the original quoted price.

Many computer repair companies chant a low flat rate mantra to lure customers. Then exploit their lack of computer terms and knowledge to nickel & dime them to pay much more.

Similar to humans computers need a holistic, wide angle approach. Problems effect many parts of a computer and need a big picture strategy to diagnosis and repair. The vast majority of computer issues can be addressed, diagnosed and repaired in 1 hour. In rare instances the issue is more complex requiring additional work.

Computers are among the most complex devices ever created by humans. A technician is being honest when he tells you that he must diagnose BEFORE quoting a fixed price for the repair. Any other approach is less than truthful. I charge for the repair itself OR for the diagnosis. Never both.

Because my customers are welcome to sit with me while I diagnose and repair they can grasp the complexities of the system and appreciate my recommendations. Their trust is strengthened as they see with their own eyes what needs to be done.

To make the misery of a computer problem a more pleasant experience give me a call. Who knows? I may facilitate a fix over the phone without any charge. That happens on a regular basis.

Bill Emett, Computer Service Calls 503-572-1307

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