Back to School Consumer Tips
A Basic Course in Successful Computer Repairs
If their computer goes on the blink in the middle of that first term paper, students should make sure that the company they choose to perform the repairs is registered with the Department's Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair. Ask the repair dealer if they are licensed, or check license status through the "License Check" feature of the Department's Web site at www.bear.ca.gov.
State law also requires that computer repair service dealers:
- Post their registration certificate in plain view at their business;
- Provide a written estimate of the total repair cost to the consumer;
- Inform the consumer in writing when a diagnosis fee will be charged, and specify the amount of the diagnosis fee;
- Provide an itemized repair invoice, specifying all labor performed and parts installed after repairs are complete;
- Return all replaced parts in most instances; and
- Perform all repairs competently
Personal digital assistants (PDAs) have evolved to the point that they're virtually personal computers. Californians who need PDA repairs are protected by the same consumer-protection laws that benefit personal computer owners.
Similar requirements apply to repair dealers that fix other electronics and appliances such as TVs, stereos, MP3 players, refrigerators, ranges, washers and dryers.
Consumer protection standards also apply to service contracts (also known as extended warranties) for computers, PDAs, electronics, appliances and many other products. Sellers and administrators of service contracts for these products have responsibilities under the law, including being registered with the Bureau. Purchasers of contracts have certain rights, including the right to cancel the contract.
For more information on what to expect from an appliance or electronic repair dealer, or tips on shopping for a service contract, visit the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair Web site at www.bear.ca.gov. You can also call the Department's consumer hotline at (800) 952-5210 for assistance.