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crazy fees to fix computer

JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting DefensePlace at the tableRegistered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
a buddy of mine took his dell XPS to a "local mom and pop" type computer repair place.

The charged him 75 for diagonostic labor (so far) and want to change a 600 dollar "cooling unit" before they can "get it running and look for the real problem"

I think the implication that they can't test the other parts and the cost of the cooling unit are lunacy, and the 75 bucks up front is even a little much. I told him for that, we could mount the working parts in a new case. He's on the fence.

Your thoughts, forum? Are these fees out of line and is there some issue with dells or something that would prevent testing the ram/cpu to see if they've overheated?

JohnnyCache on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    $75 to look at a machine is what I would expect from a mom-and-pop store. They have to make their overhead somehow. The $600? totally bogus. For that price you could build one of the new machines on the Moe's Technology Tavern builder OP. I can't think of a single part that should run that expensive.

    What happens with the machine when you boot it? Beeps? Nothing? Explosions and fire?

    Enc on
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    OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I can buy a computer that can run modern games really well for $600. In fact, I did a month ago for my roommate.

    Is this really a question? Tell those rip off artists to get bent and go to a different store. $600 for a cooling unit.... .... yeah.... maybe it can also move through space/time and provides unlimited energy for humanity. D:

    Use the internet to find a well reviewed place. Customer feedback matters in situations like this.

    OnTheLastCastle on
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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    The $75 diagnostic fee is a little steep, but not unheard of.

    The $600 "cooling unit" is outright nuts. There is even no part in the computer worth that much unless it has a super high-end GPU or "Extreme Edition" CPU of sorts.

    You are right in your assumption.

    pacbowl on
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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    you could buy a decent fan/heat sink (processor), heat spreaders (RAM), and 4 80mm or 120mm fans (case) for $50 or so .... and mount them in your brand new gaming rig for less than $600

    after you tell your friend to get his computer back from ma and pa scamsalot, I'd be interested to know what kind of 'cooling unit' (whaat?) in a computer they think should cost $600

    Xaquin on
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    JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Make sure you spread the word about what a rip-off that place is. Maybe you can keep others from being rear-ended.

    JaysonFour on
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    I can has cheezburger, yes?
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    It's a higher-end xps desktop

    I don't know the model offhand

    it MIGHT have some kind of liquid cooling or something but yeesh

    JohnnyCache on
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Most likely the good people of this forum could tell you what is wrong with the machine and what parts your friend needs to pick up with some more details. Dell is kinda annoying about soldering parts and whatnot on some of their machines, but most of their goods should be replaceable.

    Enc on
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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I couldn't find a way on Dells website to add water cooling to an XPS desktop (unless it's standard which I doubt), so I doubt it's that.

    weird

    Xaquin on
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    Sir Red of the MantiSir Red of the Manti Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Get that computer away from that shop immediately. Anyone that thinks they can charge $600 for a processor heatsink/fan is insane and shouldn't be allowed near a computer.

    Sir Red of the Manti on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Are you sure it wasn't $60 ? That seems more likely. $600 is way too much.

    Also, olol to look for the real problem.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Enc wrote: »
    Most likely the good people of this forum could tell you what is wrong with the machine and what parts your friend needs to pick up with some more details. Dell is kinda annoying about soldering parts and whatnot on some of their machines, but most of their goods should be replaceable.

    I'm sure. Or I can do it. I don't have the machine in front of me, or the details would be posted.

    @bowen no, 600 for sure.

    JohnnyCache on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Do you know what issue he brought it to them with? Wow $600. They've got some balls.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    OnTheLastCastleOnTheLastCastle let's keep it haimish for the peripatetic Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I agree, their balls are the biggest.

    OnTheLastCastle on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    rebooting on or before bios load. And either a switched fan or a varible speed one got much louder.

    I do agree it's a cooling prob of some sort. I told him that, for free.

    JohnnyCache on
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    ransimransim Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Even if it came with say, a liquid cooler for the CPU, you can buy a factory sealed CPU cooler for a hundred bucks. $600 is ridiculous for any individual consumer PC part. Even on a high end machine the only things that could come near that in price would be a extremely high end motherboard and a extreme CPU could definitely go well above 600.

    But sheesh, like others said get the PC away from them.

    ransim on
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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Well to be fair, some of the high-end Zalman watercooling solutions can run $600, but that they are trying to upsell it to your friend before they even look at it is batshit insane.

    pacbowl on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    They are saying it's the cost from dell to restore it to the default hardware configuration.

    JohnnyCache on
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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    They are saying it's the cost from dell to restore it to the default hardware configuration.

    so he had modified it and voided the warranty?

    otherwise, couldn't he just send it to dell for a fix?

    Xaquin on
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Yeah, if they don't have a bunch of spare parts they can use to swap in for diagnostics they're not worth looking at. The fact that they're trying to sell "cooling units" so they can start doing diagnostics is a huge red flag. Anything heating up so fast you can't even get past POST is either 1.) the heatsink has come loose/thermal paste was incorrectly put on or 2.)has much deeper issues that a cooling unit won't fix.

    Tofystedeth on
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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Yeah, if they don't have a bunch of spare parts they can use to swap in for diagnostics they're not worth looking at. The fact that they're trying to sell "cooling units" so they can start doing diagnostics is a huge red flag. Anything heating up so fast you can't even get past POST is either 1.) the heatsink has come loose/thermal paste was incorrectly put on or 2.)has much deeper issues that a cooling unit won't fix.

    If it's just a cooling issue it would at least reboot/freeze in the bios but it should at least post something. If not, it's another issue altogether like a hosed bios.

    pacbowl on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Hahaha oh wow, if I had someone tell me that they wanted that I'd go out and buy them a pirate flag to hang in their store.

    But seriously, get that computer the fuck out of there and consider it a lesson learned.

    Robman on
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    Hugh JassHugh Jass I'm Squint Eastwood Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Not sure how much my opinion matters here since I'm mostly a lurker, but I used to work for a local pc repair shop and I can say with confidence you're getting cheated.

    Charging 600 dollars for a part when they don't even know what's wrong!? I'm willing to bet the technician was formerly a mechanic... They must think you're friend is stupid, rich, or stupidly rich.

    Get the computer back, write down the service tag (usually on the very back or top of the tower) and look up the computer on Dell's website to see if it's still in warranty and contact Dell about possibly getting it repaired under warranty.

    Hugh Jass on
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    MutilateMutilate Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Even if you are out of warranty from Dell they will still take it back and repair it. Of course this will come with a cost but it should be much less than $600.00.

    Mutilate on
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    XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'd offer to take his HD and copy any wanted/needed info off it just in case.

    Xaquin on
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    joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I bet they have a bridge for sale, too

    If your friend is even considering spending $600 to fix an old computer, tell him to just get a brand new one and install the old hard drive

    joshofalltrades on
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    Hugh JassHugh Jass I'm Squint Eastwood Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Mutilate wrote: »
    Even if you are out of warranty from Dell they will still take it back and repair it. Of course this will come with a cost but it should be much less than $600.00.

    I would be careful with this. I once had a customer come to us after compaq tried to charge him $400 to repair his 2 year old laptop and without even knowing what's wrong with it either.

    Hugh Jass on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If they are replacing the water cooling stuff in an XPS, that stuff is probably only available from Dell or from a place that does a lot of pulls from Dell systems. It's an engineered solution that works with the case design. Off-the-shelf water cooling systems probably couldn't fit in the case without a lot of work. If they want to replace that stuff it's not going to be cheap.

    That said I'm not sure why they couldn't just remove the waterblocks and set a standard HSF or something on the CPU, and boot into the BIOS and underclock the machine so it won't overheat. That way they could find out if there are other issues involved and can put off the water-cooling stuff repair until other stuff is fixed, if necessary.

    Djeet on
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    PrimesghostPrimesghost Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    pacbowl wrote: »
    Yeah, if they don't have a bunch of spare parts they can use to swap in for diagnostics they're not worth looking at. The fact that they're trying to sell "cooling units" so they can start doing diagnostics is a huge red flag. Anything heating up so fast you can't even get past POST is either 1.) the heatsink has come loose/thermal paste was incorrectly put on or 2.)has much deeper issues that a cooling unit won't fix.

    If it's just a cooling issue it would at least reboot/freeze in the bios but it should at least post something. If not, it's another issue altogether like a hosed bios.

    If it were overheating, it wouldn't reboot. It would just turn off when it hit the cutoff temp. If the heatsink is installed incorrectly it could easily hit cutoff temperature before the system posted.

    Primesghost on
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    darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Djeet wrote: »
    If they are replacing the water cooling stuff in an XPS, that stuff is probably only available from Dell or from a place that does a lot of pulls from Dell systems. It's an engineered solution that works with the case design. Off-the-shelf water cooling systems probably couldn't fit in the case without a lot of work. If they want to replace that stuff it's not going to be cheap.

    This.

    It's not that the mom-and-pop store is necessarily trying to riff your friend off. Chances are, even if you called Dell and ordered the replacement part, I'd not be surprised if they quoted you the same cost. Some of the XPS systems (before Dell fully positioned Alienware as their top-end) did in fact use exotic hybrid cooling systems. It doesn't take much of a stretch to see replacement parts being $OMGWTFTEXAS.

    The real question is, is it worth sinking another $600 on top of $75 into an old computer, especially when you're not sure that'll fix the problem (or ensure similiar expensive problems aren't experienced later)? That answer's pretty likely to be "no". Most of the time, computers are fixed by replacing the parts until there's nothing left to replace. An expensive cooling system may just the be start of this - followed by replacing the CPU that may or may not have been damaged, a new (Dell-propritary) motherboard, etc.

    Salvage the hard drive (or at least the data). You can probably save the DVD drive, though not much else. Head over to the computer build thread. As mentioned already in this thread, $600 alone can purchase a modest working computer system (minus peripherals like a screen and such). For a little more, you'll get a nice system, one that uses conventional parts and is much cheaper to repair or upgrade than the old Dell.

    darkgrue on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    So, wait, they charged you $75 to tell you that they want to charge you $600 to send it back to Dell?

    Frankly, I'd ask for my $75 back.

    Thanatos on
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    joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So, wait, they charged you $75 to tell you that they want to charge you $600 to send it back to Dell?

    Frankly, I'd ask for my $75 back.

    Well, I mean, they had to look at the computer and determine that they didn't have the ability to fix it

    Realizing you can't do shit is expensive, man

    joshofalltrades on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    He feels on the hook for the 75. Its a dell h2c cooler, the system is a dell xps 720 iirc

    JohnnyCache on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Its a 730x 3 weeks out of warranty

    Apparently the mobo has a measure built into it to prevent boot if it doesn't have one plugged in

    JohnnyCache on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    And the 600 is parts cost they can change It's

    JohnnyCache on
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    darkgruedarkgrue Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    He feels on the hook for the 75. Its a dell h2c cooler, the system is a dell xps 720 iirc

    The $75 is sunk cost. And not unusual for a diagnosis fee. Most places will charge up-front and usually that fee is credited towards the repair. People tend to authorize the repair because they already feel they're so far in... mor won't hurt that bad.

    It's not a good deal. Your friend can kind of ague that if they're sending the unit to Dell to reapir, they're not really doing much in terms of diagnosis, and they relaly should reduce or waive the diagnostic fee. But getting it repaired isn't a good deal, even if he's stuck with the $75 fee.

    To be fair, he would have still had to have paid $75 even if they'd told him that it was unsalvageable. Which essentially, it is. If it was a car, it'd be totaled.

    darkgrue on
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    ransimransim Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    He may even be better of seeing if he can find and replace the cooler himself. I just did a quick look and found a refurbished one on ebay for $250.

    I've never done one myself but just looking at a picture of it, it doesn't look that complicated. But again... sometimes with those things you just never know. Depends on where it is in the case.

    ransim on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Beat by ransim on the Ebay suggestion.

    In case you cannot get that one you could look to a store that specializes in Dell parts. Here we've a store called Discount Electronics that has tons of Dell parts, and they ship. If their site says it's out of stock, call anyways and check, the site inventory is often off.

    They could be into this system for a couple grand and it still is probably fairly decent if it's only 1 year old so it may be worth looking into fixing up. If you do fix it for them make sure they compensate you, at least with plenty of beer or something.

    Djeet on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    We're looking at that very eBay listing now

    They aren't sending it to dell they want to order the part from dell and Change it.

    If he eBay's one I'm sure I can change it.

    Sorry for odd grammar and triple posts I'm phone posting

    JohnnyCache on
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    pacbowlpacbowl Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I don't get it though. Is the current one broken? Do they know for a fact that a new one will fix the problem? Do they even know if it's an overheating problem? How do they justify buying a new one from Dell if the old one is working fine?

    pacbowl on
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    JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Place at the tableRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Thanks for the ideas ill keep you guys posted

    JohnnyCache on
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