From Smartphones to Smart Homes: Making the Right Call for Electronic Repairs

Consumers have many choices for repairing electronic devices, from their smartphones to their smart televisions and internet-connected home appliances. Small businesses, too, rely on these service providers for fixing their workers’ laptops, desktops, and company-issued phones. When something goes wrong, who do you call? 

There are arguments for and against do-it-yourself repair. When it comes to troubleshooting and ruling out serious underlying issues, DIY should definitely be your first line of defense. In fact, before you call a professional, you should always go through the steps that they might walk you through: 

  • Power down your device and wait 20 seconds before restarting it. 
  • Close all programs and clear out the cache or device history. 
  • If you have a malware program, run it (CleanMyMac, Norton Antivirus and McAfee are a few examples).
  • Check your electric outlets to ensure that something hasn’t tripped there. Make sure your surge protectors haven’t been tripped or turned off. 
  • If it’s software-related, try uninstalling and then reinstalling the program or app. 

When you’ve gone through all the obvious DIY troubleshooting steps, and you’re still having problems, it’s better to call an authorized professional repair person for your device, rather than your sister’s neighbor’s cousin’s boyfriend who works out of his basement. Not that there’s anything wrong with working out of a basement. Point is, there are a lot of unauthorized repair places that tinker with electronics, but if they’re not certified by the brand, they’re at risk for costing you lost of money and headaches. 

Here are 5 reasons why you should rely on professionals to fix your devices:

Protect your personal information

Hackers are hungry to get into connected devices, and when you use unauthorized or uncertified repair services, you risk vulnerability. Details about your personal life could fall into the wrong hands if you don’t use authorized service providers, or providers who are trained to protect your information. This pertains to all sorts of devices in your home as well as business: smart thermostats, security devices, computers, routers and modems, video game consoles, and, of course, computers and smartphones. 

Adhere to manufacturer specifications

Repair shops that aren’t affiliated with manufacturers like Apple, Android, Microsoft, Samsung, etc., might not follow the security and safety training the manufacturers require. They might also rely on their own suppliers rather than the manufacturers’ authorized suppliers, which increases risk of further breakdowns, vulnerabilities and safety. 

Someone who isn’t an affiliated repair provider likely won’t be as up to date as someone who is affiliated with the manufacturer. The difference between an authorized repair center and an unlicensed repair center is the authorized entity is kept up to date with the latest developments from the manufacturer. They may even be required to follow a checklist with repairs, and they’ll help protect the customers’ warranties, if they’re still within the time it’s in effect. 

Follow safety measures

IoT products are powered by technologies such as lithium-ion batteries, which require safe handling and disposal. So, when you open the back of an IoT refrigerator or security device or a smartphone or computer, you’re potentially exposing vulnerable materials. You risk voiding any warranties, and you risk further damaging the products. Although it is rare, injury is also a risk.

Worth the expense

Consumers have access to a wide range of options: local repair shops, online remote repair companies, and retailers like Best Buy, Apple and Windows. Best Buy offers service repair on many of the products they sell including computers, smartphones, appliances, game consoles, TVs and accessories. Apple and Windows both offer in-store service to the devices they sell. And, many cell phone service providers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile) will service the phones they provide to their customers. Paying someone to do the work — and put a financial warranty to their work — offers peace of mind that if the problem returns, they’ll fix it. 

Access to huge knowledge bases

When you use a professional electronics repair service, you get access to a large repository of information. In fact, before you hire a professional to do the repairs, go to the manufacturer’s website and look for their support section. Many knowledge bases are created by developers, as well as customer service professionals, who try to help customers help themselves. They’re usually built around commonly asked questions and issues. Some manufacturers include support forums, where users trade tips and tricks and help each other. Examples include Apple Support Community, Android Support Forum, Google Nest Community, and Samsung Support Community. Those are just a few examples. Try searching for your brand plus “help forum” or “community forum.”

Professional repair service providers have the right training and access to resources to protect your investments — those electronics are not disposable, and they’re expensive to replace — and the valuable information that they hold for you. They will also stand by their work; if something isn’t fixed right the first time, they’ll warranty their work for a limited time (make sure you ask about this before you agree to the work). While it may be tempting to save money by using the neighbor’s cousin’s brother-in-law, in the end the unlicensed handyman may end up costing you money (and a lost friendship).

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