We look at what you need to know about finding a professional computer repairer to fix your IT equipment.
There’s nothing more infuriating than when your computer equipment lets you down. But you don't need to feel stuck with a sluggish laptop or a printer you can't connect to. There are plenty of everyday computing issues that are surprisingly easy to fix for yourself. Head to our Which? Computing advice pages, where you can search for solutions to problems big and small. Which? Computing members can also get in touch with our friendly expert Helpdesk directly for one-to-one support and technical fixes.
If you’re stuck for a solution, you may need to think about calling in a professional repairer. Which? Trusted Traders has endorsed computer repairers in your area. Find one near you with our straightforward online search.
Tips to find a computer repairer
1. Get a recommendation
Most computer technicians work in a relatively small area, so ask neighbours, friends and family for recommendations. You can also find one in your area with Which? Trusted Traders. We have endorsed computer repairers around the UK, who have passed our rigorous assessment process.
To avoid a last-minute panic, ideally try to note down details of a recommended repairer before computer disaster strikes.
2. Ask questions
Once you have a shortlist of traders, call them and check the following:
- Do they charge a diagnosis fee? Some traders will take a look for free, and only charge for fixing the problem. Others will charge to identify the problem in the first place – you need to know which you’re dealing with.
- Do they charge by the hour, or by the job? Ask them to give you an estimate – if it’s possible to fix the problem.
- How long will it take? Sometimes even simple repairs will take a few days, because your repairer will need to source spare parts or do lengthy scans or installs.
- Check call-out fees. Most computer repairers will come out to your home to fix a problem, but most are likely to charge a call-out fee for this. It may be cheaper if you take the faulty equipment to their premises.
- What will happen to your data? If they are wiping your operating system, for instance, will they back up your data first? Or do they expect you to have done it?
- What if the problem persists? Before you hand over your computer, ask if they will charge you if the problem reoccurs once you get home.
Get at least three quotes for labour and parts before work begins.
Never pay upfront. Wait until you are satisfied that the job has been completed.
Also, tell the computer repair technician to ask your permission if the cost of the work will go over a certain price. Check our computer repair cost guide for information about prices.
4. Replacement hardware or software
Ask the technician to call you before replacing any software or hardware – you may need to check if you risk losing data.
Major hardware failure is unusual. Which? head of computing Richard Parris says: ‘As a general rule of thumb, if there's a hardware fault with your computing equipment, it will make itself known pretty soon after purchase. That's why it's important to make use of your warranty - likely to be a minimum of 12 months - and insist on your right to a repair or replacement by the retailer you bought it from originally.’
The message from Richard Parris is upbeat when it comes to smaller faults, too. As he says: ‘Other faults can develop over time, but there are often fixes for these. For instance, you may find that your computer runs more slowly than it used to, or the battery no longer holds its charge as well. In these cases, you can take some steps to clean unwanted programs and files from the computer, or even replace the battery. If you're not confident with what you're doing, then it's best to rely on a trusted expert repair service to help.’
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