Yet another valiant former Firedog writes in to share insider info that will help you successfully navigate the rough waters of big box computer repair. The most important takeaway—Don’t let them “preinstall” anything on your new computer. According to our tipster, it’s both expensive and pointless. Lots of good stuff inside.
1. Every Saturday night we would be forced to “preinstall” half of our laptop inventory for Sunday, which would be the beginning of our new sales week. We would have to preinstall maybe 20-30 laptops in one night. When customer come in on Sunday looking for a laptop, the sales associate is trained to only offer “preinstall” laptops even though we have new ones still in the box. This is what consists of preinstall: Open up the laptop box, power up the laptop, and go through the Windows installation screens, once the desktop loads, install all the critical windows updates, and your done. Firedog charges $100 for this service on top of the cost of the laptop. They say that the laptop has been “optimized and ready to go”. And i’d say half the customers fall for this tactic.
2. We would have to help the sales associates put out new price tags for laptops and desktops every Saturday night, the price that is listed online and in the flier gets hidden behind “B Tags”. “B Tags” are the same as the original price tags, but the price is jacked way up. The laptop is offered with an Full In Home Installation option. For example if a laptop costs $800, the $800 would get you the laptop and your out the door, no firedog installations, no warranty, no nothing. The “B Tag” would list the same laptop for $1149 with the “everything installed firedog package”, and it would be covering the original price tag. Consumers who did not research the laptop or did not look in flier are tricked into paying more. If consumer did not want any Firedog installation, the sales associate would tell them that Circuit City was all out of stock.
3. Firedog techs are deprived of the correct tools to get the job done, we do not get supplied with soldering irons, screwdrivers, glue guns, we get nothing, we would have to bring all the tools from home, as far as software tools, you may be fired because it is against policy to use any kind of software that is not provided by Circuit City directly. All they supplied us with was a trail version of Spyware Doctor and CCleaner. If you were caught by a District Manager using different tools you were fired. I personally used my own arsenal of tools, but the other guys that I worked with used the ones supplied by the Circuit City, all I can say is we had alot of customers come back for re-work because their computer still did not work. We are not provided with any data recovery tools incase your harddrive is malfunctioning, our store had to use a BestBuy Diagnostic CD that we found in a customers computer. How sad it that?
5. Once the customer signs the Firedog work order, they sign their computer away, on the back of the work order are the legal terms, basically telling the consumer that if Firedog lose or damage your laptop or desktop, Firedog is not responsible, if any data gets lost, Firedog is also not responsible.
6. If a computer is left at Circuit City for more than 60 days, it is considered abandoned and by the legal terms, it becomes Circuit City property, the firedog technicians do not keep their promises when they tell consumers that the computer will be ready by such and such a time. 8. Average turn around time for a computer is 1-2 weeks, 2 weeks especially if the Firedog technician does not know how to fix the problem, maybe even more. Firedog had computers from 6 months ago.
7. Circuit City will hire anyone to be a Firedog Technician, the Hiring Managers dont know anything about building/repairing computer hardware or software, if a person of the street came in and made stuff up and sounded like they knew what they were doing, they would be hired by the clueless hiring manager.
8. 95% of the work done by Firedog Technicians is Windows Operating System reinstalls, HP supplies us quarterly with recovery disks for every laptop/desktop system that we sell. If a consumer comes in with a simple problem, the computer is reformatted. Firedog offers data backup for $100, plus another $100 for the reformat. What is so hard about putting factory supplied restore disks in a computer? If a consumer does not have a recovery disk available, Firedog will install a retail copy of Windows thus resulting in the loss of all OEM software.
9. Firedog works strictly on Windows platforms, no Mac or Linux
10. Warranty work is done though a third party. If consumers buy a Circuit City warranty, their best bet is to take care of it themselves by calling the Circuit City repair service. If a customer brings in a laptop for hardware warranty repair, Firedog is not authorized to fix it, it must be fixed by the third party, even if a key fell off a keyboard, if the customer wants us to send it out for them, we have to put a claim with the service provider, the warranty company would have to review it, send us a prepaid box, we recieve the box, ship it back to the warranty service and then we get it back supposedly fixed, Firedog had a couple that came back still broken, customers are looking at a minimum wait time of atleast 4 weeks for laptop warranty repair.
11. Firedog services are not refundable, if a consumer brought their computer in for a diagnostic, and the Firedog technician told the consumer what they already know, they will not get a refund.
For more Firedog confessions, click here. Wanna play Firedog tech for free? You can download CCleaner here. It’s a nice little program, and the new version is thumb drive portable so you can take it over to grandma’s house and delete her cookies while you’re eating her cookies.