Sometimes people think that a repair can cost more than to actually replace the computer, but often it is actually something simple to fix that is wrong with it.
It can seem like the end of the world when a computer breaks, and figuring out what to do afterward can be confusing.
Fortunately, the world is full of computer repairmen.
“A lot of people throw out their machines without even seeing what can be repaired,” said Jeff Pierre, owner of Comp-Net Solutions in Quincy, Mass.
Pierre recommends going to a local store and having someone run a simple diagnostic test of the system. Most problems can be found and fixed easily this way about 90 percent of the time, Pierre said.
Pierre said to rely on a computer expert’s reputation when you’re looking for a good repairman. He also recommends getting a computer repaired in person instead of asking for help over the phone.
John McNabb, owner of South Shore PC Services in Cohasset, Mass., said it’s important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s warranty terms for the machine, because many independent repair jobs could nullify that warranty.
Computer repairmen generally charge between $45 and $75 an hour, and they can fix computers in as little as an hour.
Comparison shopping to find the best price is important, Pierre said, and consumers should look for places that do free basic diagnostic tests.
“Sometimes people think that a repair can cost more than to actually replace it, and it could actually be something simple,” Pierre said.
Once fixed, a computer should work the way it did when you first bought it, said Jeff Watson, owner of Jeff the Computer Guy in Hull.
“A local business will tell you exactly what’s wrong, and they can fix it on-site,” Watson said.
Lana Lagomarsini may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*What is usually covered: Most companies will cover expenses for labor and replacement parts for hardware that is defective or broken, as long as it was not broken by the owner. Software damages are harder to repair, but usually can be done by the manufacturer.
*What isn’t covered: Any damage to the hardware that was a result of the owner’s negligence will not be covered by the warranty, but the company can usually fix the problem for a fee.
*Protecting the warranty: Many warranties are voided if you open up the inside of a laptop. Read your warranty carefully before you take it to be repaired by someone other than the manufacturer.
Sources: About.com; South Shore PC Services