Free diagnosis vs. written estimate – there is a difference.

Posted Sunday, September 9, 2012

This review is of another laptop repair shop in Midtown Manhattan. We won't mention the name. It's not us. They are a reputable company.

We’ve offered a free diagnosis as long as we’ve been in business. This worked well. People wouldn’t feel awry about leaving a machine, which increased our business, and I got to keep a clean conscience from not taking money unless we had actually repaired something.

Time went by, we became more well known, and people started bringing in laptops just to get insurance money back from them. People were bringing machines in to have estimates written up to how much it would cost to repair them solely for insurance purposes, from renter’s insurance or other means. These individuals had no intention of using our services, or spending a dime here. They’d use the insurance money on a new laptop, vacation, hookers & blow; whatever wet their whistle, but it wasn’t on a repair. Even cheap repairs. Not a single client who has ever asked for a written estimate has ever come back, and many have had the audacity and bad taste to state upfront they had no intention of using our services, they simply wanted the free diagnosis for insurance purposes. Thanks.

I’ve pointed out on these occasions that the free diagnosis is a good will service. Meaning, if you are happy with the diagnosis, and we have done a good job of showing you that we are a professional shop, you may have some work done here. We often give diagnoses for issues we do not find to be worth repairing, or for issues customers are not willing to pay for. That is fine. We give diagnoses to people who were 90% set on not having their laptop repaired. That is also fine. We don’t go off on a tangent when people choose to not have their laptop repaired. However, using a third party repair shop to provide a free diagnosis to someone who has a 0% desire to have their laptop repaired is selfish, predatory behavior. Apple will do that for free, as they should – you’ve already given them $1000-$2000 for the computer.

For these reasons, we have set up a policy of $75 for a written diagnosis & estimate. If you’re going to milk your insurance company for $320, I do not feel bad taking $75 for helping you do so. Some people from the insurance scenario have gone as far as to mention “put the most expensive option in to restore it to new condition”, asking me to put parts replacements into the estimate instead of parts repair – which would cost an additional $200.

The way it works now is simple. You can bring a laptop in. We will diagnose its issue, and tell you what the cost of repair would be, and what we would be doing to it. If you agree to the repair, we will write you a ticket with the exact charges sWe do not charge for written estimates so that our prices can change from today to tomorrow. We do not charge for written estimates so we can re-neg on what we agree to. We charge for written estimates because it is the only way a popular shop like ours can provide free diagnosis services without being taken advantage of. We only provide written estimates after a client has committed to having a repair performed, or after a client has paid for a written estimate after saying no to repair after a diagnosis.