A new business and consumer awareness at UNCA


Will Rhodarmer

A Bulldog Phone and Computer Repair flyer.

Will Rhodarmer, [email protected], Arts and Features Writer

A common problem consumers face is overcharging in specialized fields. Businesses often use predatory tactics on unaware consumers, especially when the business specializes in an area consumers use often but don’t have advanced knowledge of such as necessary repairs for computers or phones.

This semester, a business has opened on UNC Asheville’s campus, Bulldog Repairs, specializing in computer and phone repairs and diagnostics. While it’s not affiliated with the school itself, it provides a convenient service to students in need of a repair.

UNCA student Wesley Allen runs the business with the goal of providing quality service at fair prices. He provides standard hardware repair services, such as phone screen and battery replacements, as well as software repairs, such as virus removal and computer speed optimization. The business offers free diagnostics as well as repairing a device for lower than any local price a customer is quoted.

“I recently spent a year and a half doing advanced board repairs and micro soldering at a shop in Raleigh, and would now be shocked to receive a device with a problem I can’t fix,” said Allen. 

Despite being college aged, Allen has years of advanced repair experience dating back to his early teens.

“I got my first job in computer repair when I was 13 to give me something to do over the summers and I have been working in the field since,” Allen said.

Allen warns of predatory tactics used by repair shops and how common these tactics are in the realm of device repairs.

“Repair shops can be extremely predatory by up-charging on part costs, lying about and covering up mistakes and charging customers more money to replace parts that could be repaired,” said Allen. “At Bulldog repairs, I am completely transparent about part costs and labor costs in a way I have not seen in the three repair shops I have worked for.”

Kate Gary, a freshman computer science major, has similar knowledge of the tactics commonly used in the industry.

“Businesses definitely charge way too much for most computer repairs, especially if they’re a larger company. Larger companies tend to charge more for the same parts, whereas smaller computer repair companies will try and pull one over on customers by lying about what’s wrong or saying something is going to cost way more than the part and labor would actually cost, because the consumer doesn’t know better most of the time. It is a very common issue in the industry,” said Gary.

Allen has firsthand knowledge of issues consumers face when taking specific needs to repair shops, with one common example being the Nintendo Switch power IC.

“The power IC is a chip on the main board known to commonly fail from power surges. If you bring in a nintendo switch with a power IC issue, repair shops likely won’t catch it, and will misdiagnose the device as unrepairable, and if they do catch it, they will likely try to replace the whole board with a used one from eBay for close to $200. I can get a brand new power IC chip online for $3-$15. With a $70 charge for advanced repair labor or $30-$50 for more basic repairs, the customer saves over $100, or the cost of a new device,” Allen said.

In addition to overcharging, Allen warns of under experienced employees, which can lead to further damage to the device. 

“New employees at repair shops often have very little experience and breaking customers’ devices is common,” said Allen. “The waivers you have to sign to leave your device with a repair shop almost always offer no reparations for breaking your device.”

Allen’s past experience working for other businesses showed him the harsh realities that affect much of the industry.

“When I worked at a cell phone repair shop in Raleigh, at least 15% of our repairs came from the chain repair shop across the street where angry customers had just come from after being told their device couldn’t be fixed. After opening the devices, it often became clear the device was damaged during an attempted repair at the other shop,” Allen said.

To contact Wesley Allen and Bulldog Repairs, call or text (828) 407-0868.