Q. I would like to know if you have had complaints about Dell customer support, specifically, MyTechHelp.com. I had a problem with my Dell PC and contacted Dell tech support. I was told the tech help would cost $300 for a two-year plan covering two computers. I then received support for my problem. Because I was not sent a receipt, I contacted the number given me by the tech support person who assisted me. That is when I was told that I was dealing with a third party, not Dell.
Roberta Cobbett, Swampscott
A. You stumbled into an area that can be incredibly confusing. Getting tech support for an older computer leads plenty of people to a place they might not have intended to go.
While you were seeking - and thought you had received - help from Dell, you weren’t dealing with Dell at all. MyTechHelp.com is not affiliated with Dell, said Christina Furtado, a Dell spokeswoman. But MyTechHelp does buy advertising on Google, which results in prominent placement when someone searches for support for Dell and other brands.
Since the relationship between manufacturer and consumer generally ends after the warranty ends, consumers typically look elsewhere to service their computers. Such service is usually available through a computer repair shop, electronics stores like Best Buy's Geek Squad, or office supply stores like Staples.
But, like those who return to the dealership to fix an auto after the vehicle’s warranty has expired, some consumers still want technical help from their computer manufacturer. Some will charge a fee for a phone consultation. Others might not offer support.
MyTechHelp, which provides support for a variety of brands, has generated hundreds of complaints to the Better Business Bureau and consumer gripe sites – many from folks who said they believed they were talking to the manufacturer. The company denies it misleads anyone. “MyTechHelp values transparency and actively takes measures to inform the customer of our role as a third-party provider representing various brands,” said Erika Garcia, MyTechHelp’s marketing director. “We are committed to providing optimal customer service.”
There are a lot of old computers out there and a lot of people who want them fixed. Know whom you’re dealing with before paying a penny.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com