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Tech Support...on the Net

Boot Camp feature for Monday, March 19, 2007

Getting tech support help…24 hours a day. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Consumers who have often been frustrated in trying to get support fixing PCs from manufacturers…or software makers…have been turning to outside companies for help. The biggest and best known perhaps…is The Geek Squad…owned by Best Buy. Another flourishing business…YourTechOnline….lets customers pre-pay for tech support time….to fix all kinds of Windows based hardware or software problems. CEO Steve Wandler…started the company with a friend seven years ago…and now has twenty agents…available to come to the rescue…

"We remotely connect to our customers via the Internet. You pre-buy tech support in plan blocks of 30, 60 or 90 minutes and the time comes off your account as we're actually fixing your computer. If you call in, we give you a free estimate, and once the technician has a good understanding of the problem, we'll actually start the timer and start fixing the problem on your computer."

The limitations of working remotely…mean not everything can be fixed. But Wandler says…

"If spyware breaks the Internet, you're right, we can't look at your machine. So the first thing we do is get your Internet back up and running."

An hour of support goes for 79 dollars. Two hours is 129. And you can share those minutes with friends or relatives. There is competition…including The Techguy.org….a site that has been offering free online assistance…for more than a decade. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.