CompUSA's Paid Support Goes Online

The new service, Dialatech.com, is an extension of CompUSA's existing Dial-a-Tech telephone support system. In addition to the phone service, you can now look for help on the Web, chat with a techie, or e-mail your question to someone who might have an answer. The Web lookup service is free and open to everyone, but the other Dialatech.com services require payment: a 120-day subscription costs $US49.95.

With the free Web service, you get what you pay for. In fact, you get considerably less than you would from other free sites. All Dialatech.com offers is a directory of other companies' support pages. You drill down to a page for your particular product--say, a Dell Dimension computer or Microsoft Office--and get a list of links to other pages, mostly on the vendor's site. The search engine is simple and not particularly helpful.

The subscriber-only Chat option has the closest feeling to a phone call: You're one-on-one with a technician. Of course, a phone call doesn't require special software, as does Chat. And it's very special software indeed; the technician can take over your keyboard and mouse. Scary, but useful.

Difficulty Getting Through

My own experience with the Chat feature wasn't great. I had difficulty getting through, and the technician suggested reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows as the solution to a relatively simple problem. When I complained, he walked me through an easier fix.

E-mail seems like the simplest way to get help. You type your question, hit the Send button, and wait for a response. But how long do you wait? CompUSA promises a maximum wait of 24 hours. Sixty-five hours after I posted a question, I've received no response.

Perhaps these problems stem from the fact that the service is new. When I tried Dial-a-Tech's well-established, toll-free telephone service, I got through in less than a minute, and got courteous, accurate help. The techie didn't have the answer right away, but I held for only a couple of minutes while he figured it out.

Once upon a time, such telephone technical support was free. But today, $US150 per year is a good price for having someone you can call when your computer isn't working. But if you want to get help over the Internet, save your money and go elsewhere.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?