Apple far outscores all other PC makers in Consumer Reports Computer Tech Support Survey

Only 55 percent of consumers who contacted free manufacturer’s tech support had their problem solved, according to the latest Computer Tech Support Survey from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Along with the tech support survey results and Ratings, the June issue of Consumer Reports also includes the latest Ratings of desktop and laptop computers, and a step-by-step guide to easy PC fixes.

Consumer Reports surveyed more than 20,000 subscribers with computer trouble and asked how they solved problems with and without manufacturer’s help. Consumer Reports survey respondents noted that most manufacturers provided dismal free tech support with two exceptions: Apple’s support for desktops and laptops and IBM (Lenovo) for laptops. Apple solved 76 percent of survey respondents’ problems, and IBM (Lenovo) solved 64 percent.

The survey also found:
• Compaq free tech support solved just 38 percent of desktop and not laptop problems for survey respondents making it among the worst free tech support programs.
• Roughly 15 percent of users with problems didn’t even bother to contact the manufacturer’s support because of bad past experiences.
• Fifty percent of respondents who tried solving their own problem after free tech support failed them were successful.
• Sixty percent of those who asked family and friends for help after free support failed had their computer problems fixed.
• More than 90 percent of those who skipped tech support entirely and called an independent service at their own expense had their problem solved.

Full press release here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Miracles do happen: even Consumer Reports couldn’t manage to screw this one up. Windows-only users, it doesn’t have to be this way. Really, it doesn’t. Life’s too short. Get a Mac:

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Related articles:
Consumer Reports does their readership a disservice, says viruses target Apple Macs – December 13, 2005
Consumer Reports dubiously finds 20-percent of Mac users ‘detected’ virus in last two years -UPDATED – August 10, 2005


  1. For desktops, Apple scored far better than any other company in reliability. 11% failure rate, compared to 15% for the very BEST PC company, and as bad as 21% for other companies.

    For laptops, Apple scored second-best with 17% failure rate (the best was 16%). But less than 3% difference is meaningless within the margin of error according to Consumer Reports. And the worst company had a 19% failure rate. So not so much variation in laptop reliability.

  2. Agreeing with correct info and disagreeing with incorrect info is the only behavior that makes any sense.

    Agreeing ALL the time, or disagreeing all the time, now that would be rabid.

    Now you have that life you wanted.

    And I don’t hate C R but they’re full of mistakes in their product specs.

    I see they fail to mention that the iMac HAS a display included in the price, while the systems they compare to do not.

  3. For an open-minded purchaser, reliability and service satisfaction should be towards the top of the wish list. That is the one area that trumps price objections and appeals to even the least technically oriented buyer. This is an area Apple needs to stress at least as much as any other if they want the penetration % to climb. Just say it, ours works the best according to the leading consumer publication. Simple, and appeals to everybody.

  4. I’m not always in agreement with Consumer Reports, but the fact remains CR is considered the gold standard in unbiased reviewing. CR has never lost a lawsuit alleging bias. Untold numbers of people rely on CR heavily for buying advice.

  5. The official statement from the Church of Scientology is that Tom Cruise’s posts are no longer funny because someone jacked ’em from Rasterbator.

    The CoS no longer endorses Tom Cruise’s posts on MDN.

    We would also like to extend an invite to all he MDN readers to come to Clearwater, Florida. We pretty much own every square inch of that place. Come to our headquarters here and mention MDN and receive $200.00 off your first audit.

    There are only two types of people who live in Clearwater: Scientologists and The Hated.

  6. Solving only 76% of Customer’s problems isn’t anything to brag about. It may be far better than the competition, but still has much room to improve.

    What would have been interesting is finding out what percentage of people had to call Tech support at all. Hopefully the Mac would do even better against Windoze.

    Consumer Reports claims that they are “unbiased” because they don’t accept advertising, but they have an agenda that biases their ratings. If they treated computers like they do health care, we would all have a “right” to “free” tech support to remove virus, trojans, and spyware regardless of what stupid behavior (like running Windows) we did to get infected. Of coarse, “free” means putting a gun to your neighbors head to collect tax dollars to pay for it.

    As nutty as Consumer Reports is, they aren’t half as crazy as the Scientologists.

  7. >For desktops, Apple scored far better than any other company in reliability. 11% failure rate, compared to 15% for the very BEST PC company, and as bad as 21% for other companies.

    If the margin of error is 3%, then Apple scored the SAME as that 15% company, because that company’s real number could have been as low as 12%, and Apple’s as high as 14%

    And with laptops, everyone’s within the margin of error, so according to them, every laptop’s reliability is, within their ability to detect, the same.

    Suprising how nobodys’s saying Wow, there goes our theory on superior Mac laptop reliability…

  8. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.

    The statistic tells you nothing about the NEED to call tech support. It only tells what happens AFTER you call tech support.

    By way of example, suppose you have a thousand each of PC and Mac users.

    Suppose 10 of those thousand PC users call tech support, and 64% get their problems solved, then that would leave 3-4 unhappy people.

    Suppose 100 of those thousand Apple users call, 76% get their problem solved, that would leave 24 unhappy mac users.

    So the missing thing with respect to determining what this number means is the overall number of people who NEED to call tech support.

    I’m not saying the ratio is as stated above, or that Apple is better or worse. Just that is a hypothetical which demonstrates the flaw in the inference MDN and many other posters draw from the statistics.

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