“As Seen on TV” Repair Scams

You’ve probably seen the TV ads or computer pop-ups for websites such as CyberDefender, PCMatic.com, MyCleanPC, FinallyFast.com and others. They promise to speed up your computer by fixing registry errors, reducing clutter, tweak settings, etc. Their websites promote a 100% guarantee, 5-star ratings from well-known web sites and user reviews that make their claims seem believable. But doing a little research shows the truth about many of these quick-fix programs and websites: many can be classified as scams.

An article which investigates MaxMySpeed.com echoes the warning signs and experiences of many people who try the service. The five-star user and website reviews are often inflated. The free programs scan your computer and always find problems, then offer to “fix” the problems for a fee. Trying to close out of the program or decline payment options often results in more pop-ups and scare tactics. And the results it finds are inflated and inaccurate. In summary they present false results to scare you into purchasing the product.

One person tried the free download, but was then told it would cost $390:

My computer was seriously slow and locking up… …So, I thought I’d go out on a limb and try Double My Speed. The good news: they fixed my computer and it runs great now. The bad news: it is a classic bait-and-switch. Their website allows a free scan but to fix the issues found requires buying their software. Then, they require a phone call to activate the software. This phone call is actually a sales event, where they try to sell their 24/7 service to support your computer. I went ahead and bought it, depending on the guarantee in case I was not satisfied. Their tech (what they called a “certified level 3 technician”) spend many hours connected to my computer. The result was as advertised. The price was ridiculously high–I could have bought a new desktop–but decided that if it didn’t work I would get my money back and if it did, I could avoid going to the store, shopping for a new desktop, lugging it home, transferring my files, and so on. The price was $130 three times (three easy payments!) and I was able to talk the rep down by discounting the amount I had paid online for their initial service. That also extended the license on the software from 1 year to 2.

Do yourself and your pocketbook a favor and avoid quick-fix programs and websites. There is no single program that will fix all of your computer problems. Computer Techs uses dozens of specific tools to fix your computer based on the problem(s). Stick with a local company that you can trust to work on your personal computer.

Other articles worth reading:

FinallyFast.com refunds thousands is scareware suit

Ascentive sued for tricking customers with scareware

Geek Squad Insider Speaks Out!