Real SMB IT: Dishonest PC Repair

August 13, 2009

Venus Flytrap

Venus Flytrap

Every couple of years somebody publishes an exposé on some class or type of service business that is fishing for honesty and integrity.

Disappointing as it is, it had to happen. The August 10 2009 print edition of Business Week (I could not find it on-line) had a brief note by Arik Hesseldahl titled; Shifty PC Repair.

Same idea, set up a basic sting operation where a machine has a known minor defect (in this case just a loose memory chip) and take the machine to various service outlets.

In this UK example, only one of six sting targets actually just fixed the problem. While some over charged for non-existent problems, some actually copied data off the machine. If that is a business machine with possibly confidential information, you see where that can go.

The SMB Takeaway

That behavior is deplorable. Period.

But to reduce that risk, as I have written before, planning for the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when purchasing IT assets is critical in the small to medium enterprise. That means planning for the fact that sooner or later something will need to be repaired.

So here are two ways to reduce that risk;

1) When purchasing desktops or notebook computers, spend the extra few dollars for the vendors on-site extended warranty service

2) On out-of warranty older equipment, have a trusted local vendor that will do the work on your site, and have the repairs watched.

The key point here, they may be able to squeak in a little padding on the bill, but when they are sitting in your facility they sure can’t use a USB stick & grab your entire Quick Books database.

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Photo Credit Wikipedia

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