• Report: #117778

Complaint Review: Geeks On Call, Franchise

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  • Submitted: Sun, November 14, 2004
  • Updated: Tue, May 26, 2009

  • Reported By:Hershey Delaware
Geeks On Call, Franchise
geeksoncall.com Internet U.S.A.

Geeks On Call, Franchise Bogus franchise Nationwide Ripoffs Internet

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: I Got GREEKED By The GEEK

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Chickens Come Home to Roost; Great Geek Tragedy

*Consumer Suggestion: What you need to know before you can run this business

*Consumer Suggestion: What you need to know before you can run this business

*UPDATE Employee: i was also ripped by Geeks on Call

*UPDATE Employee: Geeks on Call is an honest quality business

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Who ARE you people?

*UPDATE Employee: geeks on call scam

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Where are these liars coming from?

*Consumer Comment: Geeks on call, watch out for these rip-Offs

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Justin Continues to Lie

*Author of original report: Geeks rebutal is bogus, I demand a refund

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Report is Completely False

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I was looking to make an investment, not simply toss money out the window. The $20K needed to get one of these bogus franchises going is ridiculous. I spoke with Ryle and Shep, current owners, and the fed me nothing but "Good Business ROI", as the owners other franchises, (and apparently get paid to lie to me).

I would now guess that these guys "owners" are really the actual owners of Geeks on Call, as the tout how much extra time the have for other things. Of course they do, they have mine and your money to play with. I smell a rat scam. How do we get our money back?/ don't send you hard earned money to these guys, just to have them vacation on it.

Justin
Hershey, Delaware
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/14/2004 11:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Geeks-On-Call-Franchise/internet/Geeks-On-Call-Franchise-Bogus-franchise-Nationwide-Ripoffs-Internet-117778. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 9Consumer 4Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I Got GREEKED By The GEEK

AUTHOR: Charles - (U.S.A.)

These fly -by - night creeps got me and my mother's social security disability money too! Justin was going door to door in our trailer park trying to sign people up to be franchisees and at the same time he was spreading the word trying to convert us from being a Bapist to being a Mormon. Well, he convinced us to buy the franchise here in Phenix City for my mother and the one in Pony for me. We gave him all our social security and what was left of our food stamps. He had us sign a direct deposit slip sending our monthy checks right into his bank account so we could get rich with Geeks on Call. The only people ot get rich are them and the mormons.

I feel so dumb.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Chickens Come Home to Roost; Great Geek Tragedy

AUTHOR: Former Goca Franchise Owner - (U.S.A.)

Recently 8 owners filed suit against GOCA and left with their customers and no other ties to GOCA. web report below:

http://www.franchisepublicity.com/tag/lawsuit/

2 of the largest and most successful Geeks on Call owners filed for Chapter 11 protection and a lawsuit in federal court on May 15. see the following link to one of them:

http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-vaedce/case_no-1:2009cv00555/case_id-242486/

The word is they named 3 corporate individuals; Richard Cole; CEO; Rich Artese; COO and Keith Wesp; CFO, personally along with the corporation they own stock and work for Geeks on Call America and Geeks on Call Holdings.

For more information or to join suit with other current or former owners the lawyer handling the cases is below. Any franchise owner both past or present that feels they have been also wronged after reading a copy of the complaint should contact:

Patrick R. Blasz
Law Offices of Patrick R. Blasz, LLC
11490 Commerce Park Drive
Suite 240
Reston, Virginia 20191

(703) 964-3180 office
(703) 964-3183 fax

pblasz@blaszlaw.com
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

What you need to know before you can run this business

AUTHOR: Leonid - (Virgin Islands (U.S.))

First of all, I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I cannot be held responsible for any use of my statements herein expressed. Everything that is stated in this report is solely a personal opinion and not professional advice provided in good faith that is expressed for educational purposes only. Please seek competent professional legal and financial advice of licensed professionals if you require such services.

Now that that disclaimers are out of the way, here are a few suggestions on how to succeed in this business.

Realistically, this business requires a very high level of technical expertise. If the franchisee is not at least personally capable of being MCSE certified with minimal effort, and majority of them already are, then they must not count on the franchisor to get them to that level of technical competence. Some will say that A+ level of knowledge is all that is required, however that is entirely not the case for any problem that will require a much deeper level of understanding in order to resolve it successfully. Case in point, a customer will report a spyware ridden computer (it runs too slow). The tech must be able to use common anti-spyware tools and augment their use with manual system registry cleanup. Spyware removal calls are not only the most common, but they are also highly technical in nature. Other common calls will involve networking. This is getting more complicated by the day with the introduction of wireless security features and increased proliferation of home-wide networks and their associated devices.

There is a very simple guideline of what this business requires. If you do not plan to hire anyone to work for you and you are unable to meet the requirements by yourself to become at least a Microsoft Certified Partner, and for a better chance of success likely a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, please realize that this is the minimal level of expertise that is realistically necessary to succeed in this industry. The guidelines for Certified Partner are simple - at least 50 partner points must be earned to be certified as such. In my case, I work by myself, so my only option is to achieve a competency or a couple of them. In most cases, however, at least 2 MCPs must be employed and have enough certifications to reach the required number of points and/or a competency must be achieved. Most likely, you will have to achieve a competency anyway and it's fairly easy to do so. At a minimum you will require at least the Networking Infrastructure Solutions competency.

URL for reference: https://partner.microsoft.com/40011314

The company may tell you that they'll train you technically, but if you want the truth of the depth of expertise really required, well there you have it. It is impossible to train someone in a matter of a month even on just every basic type of a call.

Please do hire certified competent professionals if you want return business from happy customers if you are not one yourself already. You may need to become a technical recruiter, but there is an easier way to weed out the unqualified personnell - ask them to install an image of an infected system from a network location onto a used system with a blank hard disk and to return that system to a normal state. Feel free to throw in a non-working network card and plug in a modem cable into a working one... Allow the applicant unfettered access to reference materials and Internet. Bonus points to you if you have access to something like Safari Books Online for your business and you let him use it. If he can get that done, that's good enough, he would probably be able to do majority of calls.

The purpose of a franchise relationship is to receive business administration and marketing assistance. I would not expect to receive sufficient training to become a MCSE from the franchisor, and yet that is what seems some are hoping for. You can contract with an outsourced company to provide your techs second tier support, but good techs that were hired by my method will typically not require that.

I hope this post clarifies what kind of daily routine this business can be and answers the question why some franchisees may perceive that they are not getting the desired support.

Will I be buying a franchise like this? No. I have both the technical expertise and business expertise to make it work. Who should buy it? Technical professionals who have limited business expertise and investors who intend to act in a non-technical role.

I wish you success.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

What you need to know before you can run this business

AUTHOR: Leonid - (Virgin Islands (U.S.))

First of all, I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I cannot be held responsible for any use of my statements herein expressed. Everything that is stated in this report is solely a personal opinion and not professional advice provided in good faith that is expressed for educational purposes only. Please seek competent professional legal and financial advice of licensed professionals if you require such services.

Now that that disclaimers are out of the way, here are a few suggestions on how to succeed in this business.

Realistically, this business requires a very high level of technical expertise. If the franchisee is not at least personally capable of being MCSE certified with minimal effort, and majority of them already are, then they must not count on the franchisor to get them to that level of technical competence. Some will say that A+ level of knowledge is all that is required, however that is entirely not the case for any problem that will require a much deeper level of understanding in order to resolve it successfully. Case in point, a customer will report a spyware ridden computer (it runs too slow). The tech must be able to use common anti-spyware tools and augment their use with manual system registry cleanup. Spyware removal calls are not only the most common, but they are also highly technical in nature. Other common calls will involve networking. This is getting more complicated by the day with the introduction of wireless security features and increased proliferation of home-wide networks and their associated devices.

There is a very simple guideline of what this business requires. If you do not plan to hire anyone to work for you and you are unable to meet the requirements by yourself to become at least a Microsoft Certified Partner, and for a better chance of success likely a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, please realize that this is the minimal level of expertise that is realistically necessary to succeed in this industry. The guidelines for Certified Partner are simple - at least 50 partner points must be earned to be certified as such. In my case, I work by myself, so my only option is to achieve a competency or a couple of them. In most cases, however, at least 2 MCPs must be employed and have enough certifications to reach the required number of points and/or a competency must be achieved. Most likely, you will have to achieve a competency anyway and it's fairly easy to do so. At a minimum you will require at least the Networking Infrastructure Solutions competency.

URL for reference: https://partner.microsoft.com/40011314

The company may tell you that they'll train you technically, but if you want the truth of the depth of expertise really required, well there you have it. It is impossible to train someone in a matter of a month even on just every basic type of a call.

Please do hire certified competent professionals if you want return business from happy customers if you are not one yourself already. You may need to become a technical recruiter, but there is an easier way to weed out the unqualified personnell - ask them to install an image of an infected system from a network location onto a used system with a blank hard disk and to return that system to a normal state. Feel free to throw in a non-working network card and plug in a modem cable into a working one... Allow the applicant unfettered access to reference materials and Internet. Bonus points to you if you have access to something like Safari Books Online for your business and you let him use it. If he can get that done, that's good enough, he would probably be able to do majority of calls.

The purpose of a franchise relationship is to receive business administration and marketing assistance. I would not expect to receive sufficient training to become a MCSE from the franchisor, and yet that is what seems some are hoping for. You can contract with an outsourced company to provide your techs second tier support, but good techs that were hired by my method will typically not require that.

I hope this post clarifies what kind of daily routine this business can be and answers the question why some franchisees may perceive that they are not getting the desired support.

Will I be buying a franchise like this? No. I have both the technical expertise and business expertise to make it work. Who should buy it? Technical professionals who have limited business expertise and investors who intend to act in a non-technical role.

I wish you success.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

i was also ripped by Geeks on Call

AUTHOR: Ray - (U.S.A.)

Training??? You call that training? That was some dressed up crap that they call training. I shoudl have asked for my money then and there but I thought I could make this work, I mean I'm no slouch in the computer department. But I really didn't have all the know-how I needed to work the business. So whenever questions came up I tried to get help, the help is even more of a joke than the training. They repeat the same crap back to you. Then when it still doesn't work they say you aren't following the training. I mean seriously they talk about how they only make money when you do, well guess what if that is the case then they must be broke. Cause if all the other member's get the support I got then they must have a lot of failed business out there
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Geeks on Call is an honest quality business

AUTHOR: Brett - (U.S.A.)

I'm one of the early franchise owners. Google search Brett Long ECPI, i'm third from the right with my arm on the car.

I was personally recruited by Richard Cole and Walter Ewell when they were just starting to franchise out. Took a while for me to get a business loan, and wrap up my degree so I got to know them a bit.

I can vouch for their integrity and business knowledge.

I know Tim Holidia, he's a good guy too. And bumped into Shep once or twice, he's a franchise owner like me, he's not part of Headquarters.

FYI anyone wanting to go with a GOC franchise. Be prepared to give up sleep, owning a business is work. The studying never stops. And the pressure is not just personal, headquarters is big on customer comment cards, so you not only need to do the job right but the customer has to be well informed so they understand the capabilities of the computer. Sales and people skills are important, be up on your cold calling skills, tv and radio business is good but you'll need service agreements to provide stable income.

I'm not getting rich, but my income goes up with every new certification I get, and it's nice to be your own boss.

I'll send a quick response to anyone who wants me to vouch for my boys at headquarters, they're honest people and good businessmen and they've gone above what they promised me as far as support.

My public email address is BrettLong@hotmail.com

Best wishes to future franchisees.

Brett L Long Geeks on Call Franchise Owner since 2001, Virginia Beach Va.
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#7 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Who ARE you people?

AUTHOR: Shep - (U.S.A.)

I remain baffled about who all of these people are that are spreading lies about Geeks On Call. Are you competitors, disgruntled ex-employees, or what? Every one of the messages on this thread are filled with lies, distortions and just plain made-up stuff! "Manny" of Alabama makes a variety of weird claims about Geeks On Call. For one thing, we do not operate in Alabama at this time, nor have we ever done so (to my knowledge). He claims the four days of training was really just a couple of hours. That's also total B.S. as I have sent technicians through that training recently (not to mention attending it myself a couple of years ago) and it took the full day on all but the last day. There are further claims about the franchise fee being $30k not $20k. That's a distortion; it's $20k (for now) plus an additional $15k in initial advertising (which gets spent on promoting your business!). There are other costs too - cars, shirts, supplies, etc. ALL of these costs are fully disclosed in the UFOC and franchise agreement that we all signed BEFORE paying our money. He talks about contacting someone at corporate named "William" - William who? I don't think we have one. As for Greg Shuk, Crofton Rhodes, myself and other owners - we are all local franchise owners whose names appear in many franchise documents and press releases. Meaningless name-dropping will not make it a fact that this person spoke with us when he did NOT. Finally, his assertion that Richard Cole offerred him "hush money" represents libel, which I hope Richard will prosecute to the full extent of the law.
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#8 UPDATE Employee

geeks on call scam

AUTHOR: Manny - (U.S.A.)

Yes, All true....I spoke to William. Bought in, put the $100,000+ in their bank. I got very poor support, I have some computer knowledge, but not a lot. I thought I would be trained. I was wrong. That was the first flag.

Also, the franchise fee was $30,000not the $20,000 promised. I received no leasing help, nocooperate advertising.

And the 4 days of training was a complete joke. I flew in to Norfolk, VA, had to pay for the flight and hotel myself, and took the BS training. Wow, what a waste that was. Turned out only to be 2 hr's in the class, and a few hours reading . Huge waste.

I also emailed Crofton Rhodes at crofton.rhodes@geeksoncall.com .Crofton is in Dallas TX, is the one who tried to give me computer support when I was totally lost. He was helpful for a time, then when he realized I had very little computer knowledge, he stopped replying to my emails.

They I was given contact info for Greg Shuk, greg.shuk@geeksoncall.com, he is in Kitty Hawk, NC. I emailed him, but we never spoke, told me he was too busy.

I eventually spoke to Richard Cole. Yeah, the Founder and Chairman. Told him my problems. Since they are doing so well, in scamming people, he offered me some hush money, and made me sign to not talk to my lawyers. I signed. Then I was called, tolf that they will have to hold off the payment, seems they were being sued by someone and needed the money. So I was screwed. Now they had me by the you know what, and I could not call my lawyer. Now I am stuck. I need my investment back. I am in a bind here with these scam artists.
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#9 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Where are these liars coming from?

AUTHOR: Shep - (U.S.A.)

I am starting to wonder where this bizarre stream of lies is coming from. Let me first remind all readers that I am just a Geeks On Call franchise owner in Maryland and am not in any way employed or coached by Geeks On Call headquarters. The reason I keep responding is that this liar "Justin" had the audacity to mention and disparage my name above. Here are the complete and total lies in "Ann's" message: (1) she alleges that her money was taken and may be sitting in the Bahamas; this is patently untrue as Geeks On Call is a reputable business and, furthermore, to my knowledge, WE HAVE NO FRANCHISES IN OHIO YET! (2) she calls this an Internet scam, yet the company collects no money until after a lengthy IN PERSON interview process, and certainly not over the Internet (3) she describes a person named "Justin" at extension 307 at our corporate offices; the person at x307 is not named Justin and, in fact, I do not know of a Justin who works at our corporate offices IN ANY CAPACITY (4) she mentions a customer service rep named "Susan", and again I know of no person at HQ with that name! (5) she states that Geeks On Call promises technical training, which THEY DO NOT; technicians are required to have an A+ certification and pass a "Geek Test" as a condition of being dispatched to customers; you can buy a franchise without knowing about computers but then you MUST hire knowledgeable staff.

In short, there is virtually NOTHING in her message that has even a shred of truth to it except the name of our President and our corporate headquarters phone number - both of which are accessible on our web site to anyone.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Geeks on call, watch out for these rip-Offs

AUTHOR: Ann - (U.S.A.)

Yup, they took our money, probaly sitting in the Bahamas somewhere. We have been triying to get this going for 14 months. We have called for Walter Ewell and Tim Holidia, the honchos. This is a big internet scam as far as I can see. I am planing to file a complaint with the BBB and the FTC

Call Justin, World Headquarters at (888) 667-4577 extension 307 We did, we told Justin we are not computer savy, he said no problem we will train you, as long as I had the 20K.,plus all the advertising costs. Which now are continuing to add up, over $5000.

We have attended all the training they offer, had to pay double for that because we both went. Susan, a customer service rep, suggested we hire out someone that has more computer experience, since we are apparently stupid.
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#11 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Justin Continues to Lie

AUTHOR: Shep - (U.S.A.)

I have no idea who this Justin is, or I WOULD contact him directly as he suggests. I would let him know that libel is a serious crime that my attorney will glady prosectute vigorously. He continues to make false assertions that we have spoken - we have not. He also makes reference to returning money to him, as if I am somehow connected to his alleged investment - I am not. I insist that your site forward his contact information if he is going to continue to exploit it with complete lies. My identity is NOT a secret; it is fully disclosed in my franchise's UFOC, not to mention under "success stories" on the franchise Web site at www.geeksoncall.com (which is how I suspect this "Justin" got my name in the first place). Geeks On Call is a reputable company that has provided a very successful business model for me and for hundreds of others. That is why I plan to invest more of MY money in additional franchises.
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#12 Author of original report

Geeks rebutal is bogus, I demand a refund

AUTHOR: Justin - (U.S.A.)

Shep - Gaithersburg, Maryland, I know why you would lie, here, but one would think that you at lease offer the common courtesy to call me and make a deal. Now that I have our attention, I want my entire franchise fee returned AND, because of loss of income and interest on the money I borrowed to pay for your bogus franchise, well let's negotiate that. Now, you state that you are a franchise owner, not an employee, what ever, I understand you need to keep your identity hidden. You think I am a competitor, well think again, I am an unhappy franchisee, This GEEKS ON CALL SCAM is OVER, call me, settle, I will not go away quietly.
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#13 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Report is Completely False

AUTHOR: Shep - (U.S.A.)

I never spoke with or made any representations to the individual who made this report. I am not an employee of Geeks On Call, but an independent franchise owner and receive no compensation for speaking with prospective franchise owners. The business has been very successful for me and for over 250 other franchises nationwide. It is NOT any kind of scam and all details of our franchise are fully disclosed in the Uniform Franchise Offerring Circular (UFOC) as required by law. I suspect the filer of this report is a competitor attempting to disparage our name because he finds it difficult to compete with us on the basis of his technical competence or business acumen.
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