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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Understanding PC Sources, Vendors and Prices | Vendor Evaluation Factors | Support ]

Technical Support Quality

Technical support is one of those very important support services that most people only think about after things go wrong. :^) I discuss how to get technical service and other related matters in the section that discusses problems after the purchase, but when buying a PC, it's really important to research a company's technical support policies and histories before you buy.

The first thing I would suggest you do when buying any PC is to use the company's technical support resources and check them out. This includes their online help, their technical support phone line and so on. This will help you gauge, at least in a preliminary way, what the company is like to deal with if you need help. You may be unpleasantly surprised: some companies, both large and small, make technical support a very low priority. Exceedingly long hold times are far from uncommon, and support web sites often address only the most fundamental of problems. Definitely do not assume that if a company answers their sales line quickly that their support line will be the same!

Tip: Consider the value of a company that has a toll-free phone line over one that does not. Support calls can get expensive.

Another issue is the actual quality of the support provided by the company. This also varies greatly from one company to another, and a rather unfortunate fact of the PC industry is that many companies have technical support people who are generally unknowledgeable. The only way to protect yourself is to research the company and read the reports of others' experiences.

A final note: right now, you are sitting in the best technical support department in the world. PCs are not too complicated for anyone to learn about. Using this site and the help of other PC enthusiasts you can solve many problems by yourself. The more you learn, the more problems you can fix yourself, making yourself less dependent on the technical support departments of any company.

Next: Vendor "Danger Signals"

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