Got computer trouble? Call in the Geek Squad!

By Mark O’Neill

I’ve just been reading an interesting article in the British Daily Telegraph about the Geek Squad which has just spread from the US over to the UK. It seems that for premium prices they are doing a booming trade in fixing people’s computers and gadgets. The top requests seem to be :

  • Setting up a BlackBerry to synchronise email with a PC
  • Activating and synchonizing an iPhone
  • Installing a SlingBox (the gadget that lets you watch home TV anywhere)
  • Setting up a webcam (with Skype)
  • Installing and securing a home wireless network
  • Installing a system for regular automated backups of important data
  • Cleaning up viruses and spyware

To test the service, the reporter invited one of the geek agents around to the house to get some computer things done. The tasks were installing Skype, creating a home wireless network, making the router secure and transferring the iTunes library from an old laptop. The bill? $260.

I am definately in the wrong business.

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60 Responses to Got computer trouble? Call in the Geek Squad!

  1. downloaded some geek squad manuals awhile back, and all the stuff they do is pretty darn easy… they charge 129 bucks just to install an os. they charge 249 to do a home installation. how lame.

      • It all sounds so easy, but the real enemy to our home computers is the invasion from the net.
        I can hardly get into what I want because of the junk that has gotten into my computer overnight without my knowledge or permission.
        The net has some real problems with privacy.
        The sales pitches jump up and get in the way of whatever you are trying to do. Also, there are so many popups that make it difficult to work on line. The enternet is a wonderful tool for research, but the other sites trying to get in are a real distraction to one’s work. I am wondering if it is a mistake to leave my computer on overnight as has been advised by those who should know.

  2. If they are anything like the US Geek Squad, keep your computer FAR FAR away from them! They’re a bunch of bumbling idiots. One of my friends says half the stuff that comes into FireDog (Circuit City’s repair thing) has stickers saying “fixed by Geek Squad”…and often real physical damage. Besides overcharging, they’ll convince you that something’s broken that’s not and then probably break it worse. Oh, they’ll also backup your hard drive for you…to their own! Those embarrassing photos of you from after last year’s Christmas Party? Not so private anymore…

    • Did you know (1) Firedog “Agents” use the same tool that Geek Squad Agents?
      That tool is called MRI, built from scratch by Geek Squad Agents. CC’s firedog has permission to use MRI tho..

      Geek Squad’s just as good or bad as any other computer repair service. There are good agents and there are bad agents; unfortunately.

      And if you take your pc to a service center and for any given reason, youre not happy with the service, youll take it elsewhere.

      So there, no wonder why GS never got pcs with a firedog system installed… theyve got no such thing. Its all Geek Squad.

      GS DOES overcharge in the states tho.
      I am a geek squad agent, CIA Sr. (formerly Double Agent); in Mexico City. 129 USDs for OS Install.. thats about $1,800 mexican pesos. Here, we charge $549 pesos (tax included) for reinstalling an OS. (Thats around 39 usd).

      Greetings.

  3. downloaded some geek squad manuals awhile back, and all the stuff they do is pretty darn easy… they charge 129 bucks just to install an os. they charge 249 to do a home installation. how lame.

      • It all sounds so easy, but the real enemy to our home computers is the invasion from the net.

        I can hardly get into what I want because of the junk that has gotten into my computer overnight without my knowledge or permission.

        The net has some real problems with privacy.

        The sales pitches jump up and get in the way of whatever you are trying to do. Also, there are so many popups that make it difficult to work on line. The enternet is a wonderful tool for research, but the other sites trying to get in are a real distraction to one's work. I am wondering if it is a mistake to leave my computer on overnight as has been advised by those who should know.

  4. If they are anything like the US Geek Squad, keep your computer FAR FAR away from them! They're a bunch of bumbling idiots. One of my friends says half the stuff that comes into FireDog (Circuit City's repair thing) has stickers saying "fixed by Geek Squad"…and often real physical damage. Besides overcharging, they'll convince you that something's broken that's not and then probably break it worse. Oh, they'll also backup your hard drive for you…to their own! Those embarrassing photos of you from after last year's Christmas Party? Not so private anymore…

    • Did you know (1) Firedog "Agents" use the same tool that Geek Squad Agents?

      That tool is called MRI, built from scratch by Geek Squad Agents. CC's firedog has permission to use MRI tho..

      Geek Squad's just as good or bad as any other computer repair service. There are good agents and there are bad agents; unfortunately.

      And if you take your pc to a service center and for any given reason, youre not happy with the service, youll take it elsewhere.

      So there, no wonder why GS never got pcs with a firedog system installed… theyve got no such thing. Its all Geek Squad.

      GS DOES overcharge in the states tho.

      I am a geek squad agent, CIA Sr. (formerly Double Agent); in Mexico City. 129 USDs for OS Install.. thats about $1,800 mexican pesos. Here, we charge $549 pesos (tax included) for reinstalling an OS. (Thats around 39 usd).

      Greetings.

        • i totally agree, some people didn’t belong working at that store, and i never got a good enough answer as to why they where working for geek squad instead of a big company doing networking and such

  5. well there is no real potential because a person is more likely to go to the geek squad as opposed to Joes Computer Repair. people think that because it’s so expensive that they’re getting quality work done. geeksquad and even firedog have a form that the person signs that says they aren’t liable for information loss. i mean really, is it that hard to backup a hard drive? i’ve even read of stories of employees wiping drives for fun. just don’t really see a market for the little guy that can do a better job for cheaper.

    • Actually there is a market. I price myself about 10 – 15% less than the Geek Squad and make a 6 figure gross income.

      Geek Squad sets the prices, I charge a bit less, and still make great money (and keep most of it). My clients like the “local” guy, and appreciate honest service, and clear no – BS explanations of what’s wrong.

      “Not being responsible for data loss” that is an industry standard CYA manuever, because you never know what will happen. A hard drive could crash during the backup, had it happen on me twice in four years. Or you could be asked to do data recover, and get the drive only after the friend of a friend did a system restore, followed by a system recovery to “get it back”.

        • i totally agree, some people didn't belong working at that store, and i never got a good enough answer as to why they where working for geek squad instead of a big company doing networking and such

  6. well there is no real potential because a person is more likely to go to the geek squad as opposed to Joes Computer Repair. people think that because it's so expensive that they're getting quality work done. geeksquad and even firedog have a form that the person signs that says they aren't liable for information loss. i mean really, is it that hard to backup a hard drive? i've even read of stories of employees wiping drives for fun. just don't really see a market for the little guy that can do a better job for cheaper.

    • Actually there is a market. I price myself about 10 – 15% less than the Geek Squad and make a 6 figure gross income.

      Geek Squad sets the prices, I charge a bit less, and still make great money (and keep most of it). My clients like the "local" guy, and appreciate honest service, and clear no – BS explanations of what's wrong.

      "Not being responsible for data loss" that is an industry standard CYA manuever, because you never know what will happen. A hard drive could crash during the backup, had it happen on me twice in four years. Or you could be asked to do data recover, and get the drive only after the friend of a friend did a system restore, followed by a system recovery to "get it back".

  7. I'd like to remind to our readers to *NEVER* call in the geek squad. They overcharge and are usually not very competent. They also have been known to mess up computers and to diagnose problems that do not even exist.

      • My comment was apparently lost in the ether.

        They are bumbling idiots. According to a friend that worked at Circuit City (in Firedog, their repair part), half the stuff they got had "fixed by Geek Squad" stickers…and was often physically broken. They have a tendency to lie to customers if they don't know the answer. One of my friends was kicked out of Best Buy for pointing out that the Geek Squad's suggestion of a USB A/A Male/Male cable for transferring data (instead of a USB Transfer cable) would, if they were lucky, destroy only one computer's USB card, but most likely both. I've been told by Geek Squad that PCI is a wireless chipset. When I decided it was time to talk to her the way Geek Squad talks to normal people, she got really upset and told me not to take that tone with her. Jeez, all I was trying to teach her is that PCI is a bus!

        • I'd say you got a bad GS agent… again, i dont know everything, but i do know a lot of things… and up to now; ive been able to keep every single computer out of my precinct in mint conditions and ive never had to lie to a custumer. Ill admit we DO overcharge tho. I used to work on computer repair by my own… but ppl like to pay for expensive services.

          Its sad to know, but yes, it is true. Most GS agents are plain posers….

  8. Leaving aside the quality of the work, of course it’s going to be more expensive to have someone come in and do it for you. After all there is labour, time, travel costs, overheads etc

    No one really questions that taking your car in for a basic service is expensive. Sure, I could save myself a packet if I serviced it myself but I would have to spend all that time learning how to do it and then take the time to do it. OR, I could just suck it up and pay someone else because I just want to use the car as transport – I couldn’t care less how it works if I can get someone else to check that for me.

    Us geeks forget that for a lot of people a computer is just a tool and the money spent to have someone else set it up and make sure it is working is worth the expense.

    • i agree to this, and this is why i say there is no market for the little guy. a person doesn’t want to take the time to look for a local guy to fix their computer and would rather take it to a “pro” to get it fixed no matter the cost.

      and is coming to your house to fix your computer really worth 120 extra dollars? i find that a bit high.

      • Jack,

        You find $120 a bit high. I agree that $120 is high for me. However, my parents (who live too far away for me to do it for them) would probably pay it because then they don’t have to worry about it – it’s installed, it works and while that was being done they could be doing other things around the home.

        Having said that, my thoughts on being prepared to pay $x for a service is based upon the idea that the service is being provided by a competent and credible service provider. It would appear from the comments here that Geek Squad are neither. I can’t comment on Geek Squad as that particular company doesn’t operate in Australia.

        • In Mexico city, we charge an aditional $379 mexican pesos (around $27 usd), for any on-site service.

  9. Leaving aside the quality of the work, of course it's going to be more expensive to have someone come in and do it for you. After all there is labour, time, travel costs, overheads etc

    No one really questions that taking your car in for a basic service is expensive. Sure, I could save myself a packet if I serviced it myself but I would have to spend all that time learning how to do it and then take the time to do it. OR, I could just suck it up and pay someone else because I just want to use the car as transport – I couldn't care less how it works if I can get someone else to check that for me.

    Us geeks forget that for a lot of people a computer is just a tool and the money spent to have someone else set it up and make sure it is working is worth the expense.

    • i agree to this, and this is why i say there is no market for the little guy. a person doesn't want to take the time to look for a local guy to fix their computer and would rather take it to a "pro" to get it fixed no matter the cost.

      and is coming to your house to fix your computer really worth 120 extra dollars? i find that a bit high.

      • Jack,

        You find $120 a bit high. I agree that $120 is high for me. However, my parents (who live too far away for me to do it for them) would probably pay it because then they don't have to worry about it – it's installed, it works and while that was being done they could be doing other things around the home.

        Having said that, my thoughts on being prepared to pay $x for a service is based upon the idea that the service is being provided by a competent and credible service provider. It would appear from the comments here that Geek Squad are neither. I can't comment on Geek Squad as that particular company doesn't operate in Australia.

        • In Mexico city, we charge an aditional $379 mexican pesos (around $27 usd), for any on-site service.

  10. I’d like to remind to our readers to *NEVER* call in the geek squad. They overcharge and are usually not very competent. They also have been known to mess up computers and to diagnose problems that do not even exist.

      • My comment was apparently lost in the ether.

        They are bumbling idiots. According to a friend that worked at Circuit City (in Firedog, their repair part), half the stuff they got had “fixed by Geek Squad” stickers…and was often physically broken. They have a tendency to lie to customers if they don’t know the answer. One of my friends was kicked out of Best Buy for pointing out that the Geek Squad’s suggestion of a USB A/A Male/Male cable for transferring data (instead of a USB Transfer cable) would, if they were lucky, destroy only one computer’s USB card, but most likely both. I’ve been told by Geek Squad that PCI is a wireless chipset. When I decided it was time to talk to her the way Geek Squad talks to normal people, she got really upset and told me not to take that tone with her. Jeez, all I was trying to teach her is that PCI is a bus!

        • I’d say you got a bad GS agent… again, i dont know everything, but i do know a lot of things… and up to now; ive been able to keep every single computer out of my precinct in mint conditions and ive never had to lie to a custumer. Ill admit we DO overcharge tho. I used to work on computer repair by my own… but ppl like to pay for expensive services.
          Its sad to know, but yes, it is true. Most GS agents are plain posers….

  11. Oh yeah, Geek Squad also doesn’t believe that your data is really yours. They like to backup your hard drive to theirs. Those embarrassing, scantily-clad photos you took for your ex? Yeah, someone from Geek Squad is staring at them, getting their jollies.

  12. Oh yeah, Geek Squad also doesn't believe that your data is really yours. They like to backup your hard drive to theirs. Those embarrassing, scantily-clad photos you took for your ex? Yeah, someone from Geek Squad is staring at them, getting their jollies.

  13. I just phoned the Geek Squad offices in the UK to ask for a phone interview with senior management to address some of the comments that you guys have been making. I figured Geek Squad had the right to respond. The guy who took my number and a message laughed when I told him I wrote for GAS. His response “I know that blog! We love reading it here in the office!”. It seems they have been reading this post too and have been amused by the comments you’ve been leaving.

    I’ll keep you updated on the interview possibility. Someone’s giving me a callback on Monday.

  14. I just phoned the Geek Squad offices in the UK to ask for a phone interview with senior management to address some of the comments that you guys have been making. I figured Geek Squad had the right to respond. The guy who took my number and a message laughed when I told him I wrote for GAS. His response "I know that blog! We love reading it here in the office!". It seems they have been reading this post too and have been amused by the comments you've been leaving.

    I'll keep you updated on the interview possibility. Someone's giving me a callback on Monday.

  15. Another ANTI squad geek reporting in…
    I run a great business locally and am in direct competition with these guys… nearly all my work is onsite and my customers say they would NEVER call “the other guys”, even when I get a bit backed up. I’ve had new referrals tell me that they would wait for 2 weeks for me to get to them, just so they wouldn’t have to use a “known ripoff” like geksquad (their words, not mine).
    I could add to the horror stories but what’s the point, we all know who and what these guys are…

    • as an aside, i actually have an old wirebound notebook from 1996 where my niece and I were brainstorming a name for a company I was creating .. on this one page is a crude pencil-drawn vw bug, black and white with a shield on the door and the words “geek squad” scribbled beneath it. My niece (14 at the time)thought it was too reminiscient of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry (we’re from NC) and that it wouldn’t portray the “high tech, turn of the century” persona we were aiming at….
      does that qualify as “prior art? I wonder….

  16. Another ANTI squad geek reporting in…

    I run a great business locally and am in direct competition with these guys… nearly all my work is onsite and my customers say they would NEVER call "the other guys", even when I get a bit backed up. I've had new referrals tell me that they would wait for 2 weeks for me to get to them, just so they wouldn't have to use a "known ripoff" like geksquad (their words, not mine).

    I could add to the horror stories but what's the point, we all know who and what these guys are…

    • as an aside, i actually have an old wirebound notebook from 1996 where my niece and I were brainstorming a name for a company I was creating .. on this one page is a crude pencil-drawn vw bug, black and white with a shield on the door and the words "geek squad" scribbled beneath it. My niece (14 at the time)thought it was too reminiscient of Andy Griffith's Mayberry (we're from NC) and that it wouldn't portray the "high tech, turn of the century" persona we were aiming at….

      does that qualify as "prior art? I wonder….

  17. Fascinating thread up to now. Here is my impression concerning Geek Squad.

    1- Considering the salary they pay, most competent computer tech, meaning those with 5 – 10 years of experience in the corporate world, would never send their resume to widely known companies that offer service to Mr. and Mrs. Everybody. Having an MSCE doesn't really mean anything anymore.

    2- Let's say GeekSquad pay an MSCE $20 per hour, or about 40k per year. a Good tech will earn at least 60K. At that price, the only people who will work for them are newbies.

    3- An excerpt from the article: "The tasks were installing Skype, creating a home wireless network, making the router secure and transferring the iTunes library from an old laptop. The bill? $260"

    $260? That is *completely insane*, especially since the task listed up here takes less than an hour to accomplish on a healthy system. I usually charge $65 to $85 an hour to my client + travel time. So something like this would cost around $100 to $120.

    As a last point, I would suggest to everyone to head on to youtube and search for geek squad. You'll find multiple reports from U.S. journalists who tested their service in comparison to other computer repair shop, and in almost all cases, they got ripped off with an inflated bill, and often, a wrong diagnostic.

    I'm sure there's someone out there who reads [GAS] and who work for the Geek Squad…. Your input would be appreciated.

    Please note that I'm not bashing the company just out of pleasure…. I'm sure there are a few competent tech working for them… Everything that I said is based of my observations…. I've been working as a system admin for 12 years.

  18. Fascinating thread up to now. Here is my impression concerning Geek Squad.

    1- Considering the salary they pay, most competent computer tech, meaning those with 5 – 10 years of experience in the corporate world, would never send their resume to widely known companies that offer service to Mr. and Mrs. Everybody. Having an MSCE doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

    2- Let’s say GeekSquad pay an MSCE $20 per hour, or about 40k per year. a Good tech will earn at least 60K. At that price, the only people who will work for them are newbies.

    3- An excerpt from the article: “The tasks were installing Skype, creating a home wireless network, making the router secure and transferring the iTunes library from an old laptop. The bill? $260”

    $260? That is *completely insane*, especially since the task listed up here takes less than an hour to accomplish on a healthy system. I usually charge $65 to $85 an hour to my client + travel time. So something like this would cost around $100 to $120.

    As a last point, I would suggest to everyone to head on to youtube and search for geek squad. You’ll find multiple reports from U.S. journalists who tested their service in comparison to other computer repair shop, and in almost all cases, they got ripped off with an inflated bill, and often, a wrong diagnostic.

    I’m sure there’s someone out there who reads [GAS] and who work for the Geek Squad…. Your input would be appreciated.

    Please note that I’m not bashing the company just out of pleasure…. I’m sure there are a few competent tech working for them… Everything that I said is based of my observations…. I’ve been working as a system admin for 12 years.

  19. Given the state of the economy, asking about the Geek Squad might be a purely academic experience. However, I am completing my IT certification in a few months, so asking about Geek Squad hiring as a summer intern might not be such a bad idea. How much would it be realistic to expect the Geek Squad to pay its summer interns?

  20. Given the state of the economy, asking about the Geek Squad might be a purely academic experience. However, I am completing my IT certification in a few months, so asking about Geek Squad hiring as a summer intern might not be such a bad idea. How much would it be realistic to expect the Geek Squad to pay its summer interns?

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