Verizon is joining the parade of telecom service providers who now offer expanded tech support services targeting the consumer market. Branded as “Expert Care,” the service will “offer 24 x 7 in-depth technical support for computer software and hardware problems, as well as repair or replacement coverage for computers, TVs and telephone equipment.” The service offers:
- Device Protection – Provides repair or replacement of multiple computers, TVs and telephones. The plans range from $4.99 to $19.99 a month, depending on the equipment covered, and may also include repair or replacement of original equipment remote controls, keyboards, mice, monitors and backup batteries for Verizon’s FiOS service.
- Premium Technical Support – Offers a 10-month subscription plan, priced at $14.99 a month, which includes telephone and online support for issues such as virus and spyware detection and removal, virtual private network problems, help with firewalls, problems with computer operating systems, gaming connectivity problems, and software and hardware help. Telephone and online technical support is available 24/7.
- Premium Onsite Support – Provided in partnership with Circuit City’s firedog, this plan includes onsite support ranging from operating system installations to full PC and home network setups, billed on a per-use basis. There are several offerings, tailored to specific needs and priced from $99.99 to $249.99.
You have to wonder whether the launch of these types of services during these hard economic times is the best of timing. This type of discretionary spending is usually the first to get cut back when the economic belt gets tightened. I don’t see too many people these days paying Verizon $250 to come in to their home and set up anything. Adding insult to injury, the odds are somewhat stacked against Circuit City surviving a prolonged economic downturn.