WRAL Investigates

Judge: Raleigh Geeks can't collect money for computer repairs

Posted May 9

— A Superior Court judge on Friday ordered a group of Wake County computer repair shops to stop entering contracts with customers and collecting money from them.

Judge John R. Jolly, Jr. issued a temporary restraining order against Raleigh Geeks as part of a lawsuit filed this week by the state Attorney General's Office, which accused the shops of deceptive practices. None of the three owners of the shops showed up in the North Carolina Business Court for the Friday afternoon hearing.

Attorney General Roy Cooper also is seeking a permanent ban against questionable practices by the owners and managers, refunds for consumers, civil penalties and the return of customers’ computers.

There are four Raleigh Geeks stores in Wake County: Raleigh, Apex, Garner and Fuquay-Varina. The business is also known as Fuquay Computer Center, ProTech, Garner Geeks Computers and operated previously as Foster Computers and Caveman Computers.

The shops have been the subject of numerous consumer complaints and were the focus of a 5 on Your Side investigation last October.

Customers said they paid in advance for computers or repair services and then got computers back in pieces, without original parts or, in many cases, got nothing back at all.

“Taking money upfront, keeping someone’s computer for months, and then giving it back still broken is no way to do business,” Cooper said in a statement. “Customers who paid for repairs that never happened deserve their money and their computers back.”

To help prevent problems when getting a computer or electronic device repaired, the Attorney General's Office provided the following tips:

  • Avoid paying in full upfront. Wait until you are satisfied with the repairs to make the final payment.
  • Turn on your computer immediately when you pick it up. Make sure it is operating the way you expect before you leave the store.
  • Consider paying by credit card. If the repairs aren’t what you expected, you can dispute the transaction with your credit card company.

The restraining order is in effect for 10 days, and Jolly said Raleigh Geeks stores can remain open, but their operations are limited to refunding money and returning computers and cellphones to customers.

10 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew May 12, 2:41 p.m.

    Fortunately I will never have to take ANY computer to someone for a repair. For one I would not want anyone having access to the information stored on the hard drive. In any event, if you HAVE to take a machine in to be repaired, DO not prepay. I can not believe anyone prepays for a repair.

  • winemaker81 May 12, 11:41 a.m.

    It occurred to me that when a shop takes your equipment and refuses to return it, that is theft.

    File a report with the police. If a cop shows up the equipment will, too.

    Regarding the "tips" on anti-virus software, consider that the software is not medical, it is security. Will you turn your security system off until after you have been robbed?

    Turning off anti-virus to gain performance has a potentially high cost.

  • Pseudonym May 9, 7:51 p.m.

    A few tips from a geek to limit your need for these services:
    1. Backup your data, backup your data, Backup. Your. Data.
    2. Think of antivirus software as you would think of your own health. I only go to the doctor when I'm sick. I don't have a doctor continuously calling me asking if I'm OK. Antivirus continuously scans your files, which is what leads to performance problems.
    3. Antivirus that you have to buy is always the worst.
    4. Stay away from porn. Again, treat your computer as you would treat your body. Trixie down the street will infect your body. Trixie on the Internet will infect your computer.
    5. Many times, a new computer is cheaper than repairing your old one. Buy a new one and restore your backed up data to the new one. Refer to #1.
    6. Be careful with social media and torrents. 7. Don't open email attachments that you don't recognize. 8. I repeat, backup your data.

  • shallottemustang May 9, 7:34 p.m.

    Amazes me what you can get away with and STILL have people show up to do business.

    Am I the only one that uses Google User Ratings or Yelp?

  • Tax Man May 9, 6:59 p.m.

    So how come you did not publish the names of the owners? They will likely just open up new fraud stores under different names. Some full names and pictures of the bad guys would go a long way towards them not sticking around here.

  • radsak1149 May 9, 6:31 p.m.

    All of this crackdown could not have happened to a MORE deserving company!!! Because of these so called people, we are out a very expensive Asus laptop. They fried our hard drive and put in a much smaller capacity and lower quality hard drive. That hard drive has now died. Worst part is, for 2 MONTHS th st told us our hard drive had been sent out for repair. They swore at me, and my husband. The manager called us to tell us the "great news" that our hard drive had been recovered and was on its way back. Only SUPRISE!!! They had it sent to the wrong store, a day early, and that store was ROBBED overnight. They could not find our hard drive. Then, when hubby showed up with a cop, they suddenly found our hard drive that had never been sent out. They are so sleazy, I can't help but think they set these "robberies" up. The blatant lies they tell are ASTOUNDING!! Kudos to WRAL and the AT for putting a stop to Raleigh Geeks.

  • sunshine1040 May 9, 6:02 p.m.

    And people will still insist on giving them their money sorry but I do not pay the washer repairman until my washer works why why I pay the computer repairman up front?

  • wellsjs May 9, 5:41 p.m.

    Send all the owners and managers to jail for 10 or more years. They know what they were about, and blatant taking advantage of people should carry stiff sentences.

  • Drifter May 9, 4:59 p.m.

    I used to work for a small town ISP. And Caveman Computers was a block away. We had to fix so many computers that they supposedly "repaired". This was back in 1999, it took them this long to get busted?

  • blastamasta May 9, 4:49 p.m.

    Haha. Busted!!