WRAL Investigates

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

Posted May 9, 2014 4:34 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2014 6:48 p.m. EDT

— 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.