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12 Jan 2014 20:14 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Disappointed by a retailer’s response to a request for a new laptop I groaned at the poor service I (and others) have experienced when dealing with computer ‘experts' ‘servicing’ the Costa communities. Too long worded to be posted in the forums, these are the first few paragraphs of experiences with this service sector. I placed it in my Business Blog and welcome constructive comment.



Mike Walsh

Please, this is not a whinge; it is a personal observation. I invite constructive and informed comment. Having worked Spain since 1999 and lived here since 2008 I am thoroughly disillusioned with businesses claiming to sell and repair computers. So far I reckon to have used eight of them when I would have far preferred to do as I did in the UK; stick with one.

All I ask is a competent service at a fair price which was what I got in the UK. Ironically, Sebastian who I used in the UK and recommended for years is a Romanian. The reason I have used about eight PC ‘specialists’ since 2008 on the Costas is because as each one left me disillusioned, often out of pocket and so I had little choice but to try his mate. I did so with the same hapless results.

What is it about the Costas that so many businesses are run by amateurs and / or Del Boy types? Is it the lack of a credible Trading Standards option? Is it that we expect less here? Are we complacent? (I presume to get at least one ‘why don’t you f*** off back to England then’).


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12 Jan 2014 21:10 by ElviriaDreamer Star rating. 99 posts Send private message

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Hi Mike

I couldn't reply on your blog as around 20 capatcha codes got the better of me!

What is your problem? I'm not an "expert" but can normally help with most PC issues, although I'm better with security. Can't do remote, as I keep this permanently disabled for security purposes but anything else I can help with, just ask.

I think the reason there are so many Del Boys of all trades in Spain, is because people leave the UK and realise their trade has no openings for them in a foreign country once they arrive, as the positions are filled with locals or there are no positions available to begin with and therefore have to turn their hand to anything available. Hence why UK builders who've forgotten about the property crash, arrive and end up being Spanish pole dancers soon after arrival :)

I don't think the lack of trading standards comes into it really. It really is just about people earning whatever they can, when they can and however they can...hence the boom of, Jack of all trades in Spain. 

I do hope you get your PC well again...drop me a message if you need to.


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13 Jan 2014 01:12 by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

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One could of course question why you have needed the services of a computer specialist on so many occasions..We have three computers, a netbook and two desktops.The older of the two desktops is now ten years old running XP, the younger one is seven years old running Vista. Both are subject to heavy use... this one, the Vista machine, is in use generally 18 to 20 hours each day, every day. I have replaced the power supply modules in both the desktop computers and upgraded the graphics card in this machine. Its not rocket science and does not require the services of a specialist... Neither machine has ever seen the inside of a computer specialists shop´´... Once every couple of months I remove the side access panels and blow out accumulated dust and dog hairs, clean the blades of the cooling fans and the heatsinks on the CPU and graphics cards. Both machines have over the years been the subject of virus or malware attacks despite having foperational firewalls, antimalware and antivirus programs. With online help from specialist virus removal forums I have been able to remove the attacking viruses... In a nearby town there is a Computer Spares and Repair shop run by two enthusiastic Spanish gentlemen who really are on top of their subject. If I have a query I go see them, they dont need my work they have enough to keep them going for months´their advice has always been good and free......

As for poor cuality (and I assume that this is a deliberate play on words to make the thread title work)... I would not trust any Brit tradesman on the Costas. When we moved here we got severely taken in by our Brit 'Builder and Project Manager' who employed similar Brit 'tradesmen,' and even now some seven years later we are still suffering from his crap standards.

If you want a specific job done, talk to the Spanish neighbours and see who they recommend, not only will the job be done better, it will probably be done at a fraction of the price demanded by a Brit...


This message was last edited by foxbat on 13/01/2014.



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13 Jan 2014 07:54 by Bookerhall Star rating in Mojon Hills. 27 posts Send private message



Could you PM me the the number of that builder please..Thanks.



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13 Jan 2014 08:41 by Marbella29649 Star rating in Mijas Costa, Costa d.... 58 posts Send private message

I have been in the I.T Industry for 25 years and have helped the expat community on the Costa del Sol for 12 years with all aspects of Information Technology.

Nearly all of my work are referrals and pride myself on the quality of my work.

I have my own business always give people true advice.

There are many individuals on the Costa's who claim to be experts and it angers me when people use them "to save money".

Like all trades you get what you pay for.

PM me if you need advice.


Soltec I.T Services.

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13 Jan 2014 18:25 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Thanks everyone….. The replies are interesting, positive and helpful.   I like Nikki’s overall take on things here. Foxbat…. I think you answered the question. You see, the reason you don’t have problems is because you do not take it to the PC experts.   You are also to a higher than average point self-sufficient.   I think it is ironic that many of my problems over the years are caused because I took my stuff to experts. I often wondered if they fixed one problem and created another to keep the business going.

Marbella… I do not doubt you at all. The problem is… and you are victim of it too, is that they all talk good. How do you spot the cowboy. The bad ones wear white hats too. We have to be trusting and that ‘weakness’ is constantly taken advantage of.

This ‘rant’ started because all I wanted was a standard replacement Windows 7 laptop for my wife. Fed up (for aforesaid reasons) of other ‘experts’ each with shops I decided on yet another.

He e-told me a load of bullshit about the unavailability of Windows 7. Wanted to sell me a Windows 8 outfit (expensive)  I sensed this. I ran the content of his emails past the earlier mentioned Sebastian in the UK.  Believe me, he does know his stuff and he is not in a position to sell me anything.  : I quote:


And while we are on the subject, Windows 8 and 8.1 have done so well that Microsoft has announced the next version of Windows:

Sounds like all that BS we've been given for almost a year and a half now about Windows 8 being a resounding success and users loving it hasn't really stuck to many ears after all - specially in the corporate world.

Sorry if this sounds a bit more passionate than it should be, but with every new version of Windows one has to listen to and read a lot of non-sense spouted either by complete morons or what looks like Microsoft paid shills - online and offline. I guess there is a certain element of vindication when the rogue voices eventually get drowned out by common sense. Then again, we don't really know what they are planning for Windows 9 - which is still a long way away - so it is not the time to celebrate just yet.


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13 Jan 2014 20:19 by foxbat Star rating in Granada. 1114 posts Send private message

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Re Windows 8 and 8.1... from what I can gather and this is merely hearsay, W8 and 8.1 have turned out to be M'Softs biggest disaster since 2001 and Windows ME. Back in England somewhere we still have a computer running ME and its still going strong though its capabililities are somewhat limited when it comes to applying new software. My personal opinion is that Windows XP was their best ever. Vista had its problems initially but once they were sorted out it turned out to be not so bad. Windows 7 is based on the same operating principles adn was developed from Vista, One very unofficial definition I heard for W7 was 'Vista on steroids' or 'Vista Turbo.' My gut feeling is that W7 will be around for a long time to come and will probably have the longevity of XP and Vista.

The biggest problem in buying a Vista computer and I think it holds true fo W7 to is that unless you buy one of the two top spec'd versions, it is country and language specific. This was originally a pain in the butt for me since my knowledge of computational terms in Spanish was limited. I bought my Vista computer from Carrefour in Granada knowing full well that any problems within the first 90 days would be met with a replacement, it wasnt until I got it home and tried to make it 'speak' in English that I realised my mistake. I have learned to live with it. It still speaks only Spanish, there are ways and means of changing the language but I'm not about to get involved with something that could screw it up completely.

As for the availability of a laptop with W7 preinstalled, I can do no better than to point you in the direction of a Portsmouth UK based company, Novatech  They supply and distribute across the UK and Europe. My son has used them for many years and speaks very highly of them. If you take a look at their website, you will see that they manufacture their own name brand laptops, netbooks and desktop computers to order. The prices quoted on their website for a given item do not include the cost of the operating system, there is a dropdown box offering a variety of OS's including all the different flavours of W7. The big advantage about buying from the UK and particularly Novatech is that the OS is the English Language version. They can and do deliver to Spain for an additional fee of about 30 pounds. Their Sales and Support people also know what they are talking about....



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13 Jan 2014 21:05 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1081 posts Send private message

Unfortunately it's not just on "the Costas" that these so-called experts try and bamboozle you. Try going into a PCWorld in UK and talking to the know nothings there.

And the designers of Windows 8 and 8.1 should be taken out and shot, or never be allowed to go near a computer ever again. I suppose it might work allright if you have a touch screen but, as stated, the cost of these far outweighs the benefits.  Win 7 was OK (I have it on a desktop with touch screen).

I was bought a new Toshiba laptop last year which came with Windows 8.. After a few weeks of trying to coming to grips with it (and experiencing those annoying pop up menus whenever your mouse goes into a corner and never being able to find a file or even close a program down (when did programs become apps?) hubby took the old Toshiba recovery disks with Windows XP on it and reconfigured the thing,  Really happy now and all the pre installed games that came with XP but disappeard with 8 are back again. I think the only advantage with the Win 8 system is the almost immediate start from switch on (no need to close the thing down as it goes off when you close the lid and starts straight away) but you can get virtually the same thing with hibernate in XP.


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14 Jan 2014 16:14 by Woodbug Star rating. 371 posts Send private message

To be fair Mike, it’s actually getting better now as many of the ‘get rich quick brigade’ have fled these sunny shores and disappeared back under the stones they emerged from in UK.

10 years ago we were plagued with ‘Easy-Jet  builders’ who had no idea what a brick looked like and were anything but builders in their former occupations but somehow morphed into builders between airports.

Every man and his dog was a ‘professional estate agent’ without a single qualification to be displayed between Alicante and Malaga, not to mention all those dozens of kindly ‘financial experts’ who will help us to wisely invest our money.

Of course there were many who could operate a computer and knew how to download freebie repair programmes from the likes of Softonic so they automatically adopted the appellation ‘computer repair specialists’.

Remember the days of the pool cleaners on every street corner, the many palm tree leaf cleaners and TV Sat/Solar Panel consultants trawling the bars for work?

Without regulation and a transparent qualification check system in place it’s the same old, same old and the chancers will always be there, albeit reduced in number but caveat emptor remains the main defence – still.

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15 Jan 2014 13:02 by mike_walsh Star rating in Torrevieja. 594 posts Send private message

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Another valid point of those made by several respondents. It is depressing. Perhaps inspiration for a related but more generalised article in the future.

Coincidentally, apart from endemic business ineptness - and as you point out the chancers, there is a business inertia that is difficult to dislodge.

The more go-ahead Eastern Europeans will do as they have done in the UK; put the complacent outfits and cowboys out of business. Russian speakers will do on the Costas what the Asian businesses did in Africa and Britain. They will take over. Nadia has just popped in to tell me that the builders just up the road - are Russia. There you go. Thanks everyone.


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