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Randy The Tech Professor

July 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Dell Dupes Elderly Lady Into Installing System Mechanic ($131 For Three Years)

Hello everyone,

About a week ago a very nice elderly couple asked me to set up their brand new Dell computer system. The couple were extremely excited about their new purchase (Dell Inspiron 560, Dell 20″ Monitor, Dell Printer, Dell Speakers, Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse – the whole works!).

I went through the entire setup process with great care and the couple was very happy with the results. I gave them an initial tutorial on Windows 7, made sure that they knew how to access their files and emails, carefully pointed out the new antivirus (Microsoft Security Essentials), and answered any questions that they had. The new computer was in pristine condition! I agreed to return for another tutorial the following week.

Sometime during the week the very non-tech savvy lady had a question about something and decided to call Dell support (she said she thought about calling me but didn’t want to be a “bother”). The Dell support representative asked the lady if he could remote into the computer. The eighty year old lady didn’t know any better so she allowed this request.

After some remote investigating and searching around, the Dell tech told the lady that the computer was in great danger!! No antivirus had been installed and the computer was wide open to malicious malware attacks!! “If something wasn’t done soon the computer would become infected”, he said.

As you can imagine the poor old lady was frightened and didn’t know what to do. The valiant Dell tech came to the rescue however and offered three years of System Mechanic for only $131.00. “System Mechanic is all you need for any kind of computer problem”, he said. What a deal!

The lady, not knowing any better gave her credit card number to the Dell representative and the dastardly deed was done: The Dell tech had deceived the nice old lady by remoting in, uninstalling Microsoft Security Essentials, and then scaring her into spending $131.00 for three years of System Mechanic (wanna bet that there was a little commission there?).

So there you have it. I’m outraged and the poor lady feels stupid and embarrassed. She trusted Dell. I told her to stop payment on the credit card and she said that she was going to call Dell and “give them an earful”. Good for her!

Professor Randy says: Since elderly people didn’t grow up with computers, they have a harder time getting accustomed to them. The last thing they need is to be “preyed upon” by unscrupulous tech representatives who are out to make a buck!



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  • G Menon
    7:03 am on September 3rd, 2011 1

    There is quite a lot of this official chicanery going around. Besides what your friends went through there’s also the firewall install (although Windows has had a average user safe version since XP and the app’s gotten better with each new version).

    Dunno if you or your readers are old enough to remember the cassette tape. But the music company mantra was pirated tapes damaged your machine. Hah! I had more snarls with low quality legal tapes than high-quality rips that originated in East Asia.

    The same line is trotted out when making the case for licensed software. Pirated copies will introduce viruses and/or damage your computer. So how is it in China there is more pirated apps than legal? Maybe their computers are better?


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