No, I didn’t take the timeshare bait although this place actually didn’t look like a bad deal if you are into that type of thing. I wouldn’t have done the promo but basically get a nice 3 day vacation for free out of the deal if I went to their 2 hour presentation.
Time shares are great…that’s why there’s a whole industry to get people out of their timeshares. I knew a few people who had timeshares…they loved them the first 3 years. After that they got rid of them (or tried to).
I would argue that a timeshare is perhaps the single biggest waste of money on Earth. As one of the companies which specializes in helping people cancel their timeshare says in their ads, it costs way more to own and use a timeshare than it does to simply book a vacation online as a non-owner. No wonder people actually PAY to get rid of a timeshare!
I didn’t bite on the timeshare of course. A lot of people really like them. My parents have one and use it all the time. It is a nicer one as they go. They did promotion packages like I did for several companies before picking out one. A lot were dumps. They started out nice but as things broke, wore out, or got dated, things weren’t kept up. The company gets the initial investment and then runs it into the ground.
The one I toured was very nice. I agree that you can always find hotel and resort deals online. There are also times where I may not be able to use the property. Of course you can exchange within the network and even with competing companies with everything being online these days.
I did think it was funny. My stay was in Branson and there were timeshare billboards all over the place. the main road into town had boards talking about buying timeshare packages. The boards advertised timeshare disposal when heading out of town.
They aren’t for me, especially at this point in my life, but many people like and enjoy them. My parents are often called by these timeshare disposal companies and they are not tempted. Talk about an even bigger scam… Someone charges you money to get rid of your timeshare and then resells it.
There are car care packages where routine maintenance is taken care of. My parents are at an age where they don’t want to worry about it. They pay the bill and just take it in when it needs an oil change or whatever. I recently saw a video about how hard it is to change the oil on newer Toyota trucks. I asked a guy I know about his 4-Runner and he was like “I pay for the care program and just take it in when it is needed so don’t even know if it is hard to change the oil.” This type of package is a luxury and not always a sound financial decision.
There is a difference in these types of packages as well as timeshares. So, you have insurance and it pays for lower-quality aftermarket parts… Many of these timeshares seem to start out nice but get run down as time goes along. The one my parents have have something in the contract about how it will be updated every so many years. They have been to many in the network and seem to think they are all very nice. No, I don’t think it is is the best financial decision. If you have the money and enjoy the convenience of just showing up at a resort and having everything ready to go, then it is for you. The money would best be invested in something else if money was the only issue. Sure, it costs less to change your own oil but some people don’t want the headache and just want it done by someone else. Stuff like this is easy on all my cars and I would wait in line longer than it takes me to change my own oil so I still do that myself. The last time I heard a wheel bearing growl, I took it to the shop and told them to take care of it. The last time I needed ball joints, I just had the shop do it.
I think these timeshare vacations are somewhat the same. It takes the “work” out of taking a vacation if you are willing to pay for it. I agree that some are lousy while others are nice. I used to do all my own suspension work, etc. but am to the point in my life where the shop can do it much faster and I can keep working making money. I did some basic calculations last time I had this work done and it was pretty obvious I was saving money by having the shop do it because I was out working, not wrenching on my own car. I would have taken much longer than the shop did.
Some of the worst customers I’ve seen are some of the pilots from the local AFB. One would think that a college educated AF pilot would have common sense but that does not apply to all of them. I’ve mentioned it before but how in the world does an instructor pilot run his Porsche out of gas 3 times in less than 2 weeks and run out on the same stretch of road while never filling the car up after being given a few gallons to get him on his way…
Some of that lack of common sense has killed a few of them.
A week or so ago another T-38 went down here killing both instructor and student pilots although I’m sure in this case it was a weather related accident and not due to being stupid.
There was a lady my wife used to babysit for. She told my wife that she tried to sue the last four babysitters. Naturally my wife stopped babysitting. At the shop I worked at, she theatened to sue the owner for her suspension problems after we changed her oil for free at an annual benefit day for single mothers. A couple of weeks later, she showed up to my house while I was working in my garage. She said she hired someone to change her spark plugs and it took 4 days to finish. She thought maybe this person switched her engine instead of her plugs and she thought she might want to take them to court. It was raining, but I humored her and took a peek. I told her that the motor mount bolts didn’t have any marks on them. Had her start it up. I asked her how it sounded. She said it sounded alright. I told her it sounded beautiful, so if they did switch the engine they probably did her a favor. She was satisfied and drove away.
Crazy! Had a co worker, her car did not start and she blamed the IT guy that fixed her work computer that day.
IT guys get blamed for a lot of non-related problems for some reason. Blaming car trouble on the computer guy is a whole new one but that is a classic. I haven’t had that happen yet.
I had my run-in with one of the sue happy types a year or so ago. I let it go to court and won of course. The guy got snarky with the judge and I was hoping he would be held in contempt. I looked through the records of this guy and his family and they did this for a living. I know where they live and they are ALWAYS at home. This means they don’t work a real job as both their cars are always at home. They are too busy scamming the system and businesses.
There are customers that I run from and tell any of my friends in other service businesses to avoid at all costs. I recently had one come to me and someone warned me of trouble after I had the computer in hand of course. I made sure to have an authorization before I did anything with an agreement on the cost in writing and I had no issues.
I once read a list of stories from various support services. One was for General Motors. Someone called and had bought a new car about two weeks ago. Then one day it just stopped running. It turned out that after a bunch of troubleshooting, the car had simply run out of gas. The owner had no clue about it needing to have gas added when it got low so ran it out after about two weeks of normal driving. There were several good computer ones as well. The one that really got me was similar to the car out of gas story. A guy had a computer that wouldn’t turn on. Someone on the phone told him to check and see if it was plugged in and a power strip turned on. The guy responded and said it was dark. The tech said to turn on a light under the desk and the owner of the PC said that the power was out so he couldn’t do that. Duh! The computer won’t turn on. I wonder why???
I hear some interesting things about some the soldiers at nearby Ft. Leonard Wood. I guess they don’t always have the best credit practices. Many deploy and just leave their cars at the bank/credit union or leave them parked on base for later repossession.
As for the lady getting free oil changes and then hassling people, I have had to deal with that type. You think you are doing something nice and then get abused by the people you are trying to help. My current policy of “everybody pays” has greatly reduced these incidents. I do donate refurbished computers that I can fix in my spare time but onsite labor is charged at my full rate no matter who it is. Otherwise my prime work hours would be sucked up with this.
Several years ago, we had a power outage, and the woman who lives next door couldn’t understand why her cordless phones weren’t working. I tried explaining that they rely on electric power, but she just looked at me blankly.
There is a reason K-Mart is circling the drain…
You’re not wrong. I’m in IT as my day job, and maintain a small side business building new PC’s (usually gaming PC’s for parents whose kids are pestering them for a gaming PC, but they nothing about the specifics of what parts to get,etc.), and repairing old ones (hardware and software). I never advertise, and only get business through referrals. I also don’t charge a huge amount ($20/hr for actual touch time and whatever time I spend diagnosing and/or researching the issue.) I’ve only had one customer that I absolutely will not deal with again. I learned the hard way.
She was a referral from another customer (the person who sent her to me did warn me that she was a single mom, and was of limited means, and thought I could help her out because I charge way less than the big box squads. I told her I would take a look at her computer. When I asked about the problem she said that it wasn’t new, was slow, and now wouldn’t boot at all. But she had important photos and documents on the computer that she couldn’t do without. I spoke to her on the phone turned out that she lived about an hour away. For people that live nearby ( 15-20 minutes away or so) I don’t charge for the house call. For this distance I told her that I would have to charge $10 for the trip (which I thought was generous), she declined this and asked if she could just give the computer to her friend (the referring customer) and have her drop it off as she worked near me. I said that was fine. And the computer was dropped off. As expected it was an old low-end POS (this all took place in 2014 or 2015), It was an acer from around 2007/2008-ish that sported a dual core Athlon X2, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB HDD, and integrated (motherboard) graphics, It was also running Windows Vista (32 bit).
The machine would not boot. I did managed to boot into a shell and ran some diagnostics on the hardware. The RAM was fine, but the hard drive showed a litany of S.M.A.R.T. warnings. Not a great sign. I removed the hard disk from the computer, put it in a dock, and surprisingly was able to read the contents of the drive with no problems. Good news. I backed up everything that I could (pics,documents, bookmarks, music, etc.) fortunately since the hard drive was so small, there wasn’t a huge amount data, and I was able to back up everything quickly. I also scanned the hdd for malware/viruses and of course there were plenty.
I called back the customer to let her know that the hard drive was on the way out, her windows install was likely corrupted, but I was able to save her data. I explained that I don’t think this computer was worth putting much money into and that if it were me, I’d look into getting a new computer. She said she didn’t want to spend much that much money, and wanted to know what else could be done. I said that I could replace the hard drive with a larger new one for around $50 for the part, and I wouldn’t charge anything to put it in as it only takes two or three minutes. But she would have to supply the restore discs to put windows back on the computer. She of course didn’t have those, and wanted me to source them. I told her that Acer would likely charge $40-$60 for a set of discs, she felt that was too much money as well. I stupidly told her that I might be able to call in a favor from some former co-workers at Best Buy and come up with a solution. So I call up a guy I know and ask if they have the OEM restore discs for Acer computers at the store ( HP,Dell,Gateway,etc supply stores with a set of OEM restore discs every year for the models they sell, you don’t have to put in any product key during the install, they activate over the internet. ). They did, but only for newer Win 7/Win8.1 machines. I figure it’s worth a shot, and borrow the discs for the lowest end Acer they sell.
The new 1TB HDD comes in, and I threw in another 4GB stick of DDR2 that I had laying around. I install Win 7 (64 bit) and shockingly it goes without a hitch, I didn’t even have to track down a single driver. I had to call up Microsoft and request a new product key, but they didn’t give me any trouble, I told them the Vista install had been corrupted, and I had the OEM restore disc but it was Win 7. Everything was working the extra RAM helped quite a bit. I put the backup data on a large (at the time) 128GB flash drive and then transferred it back on the Acer, taking care to keep everything where it was before and even importing her bookmarks and address book. It’s working as well as it realistically can. I also download malware bytes for good measure.
So I call her up and tell her it’s fixed, and that her data should be where she left it. She wants to know it’s just $50 for the hard drive. I tell her that it’s $50 for the hard drive ( I made no money on it, which was okay, I don’t markup parts), and another $60 in labor, which included me diagnosing the problem, backing up her data, calling in a favor, driving 30 minutes out to the store to get the restore disc, and 30 minutes back, installing the new HDD in the computer, installing Windows (upgrade to Win 7 ) on the computer, calling up some guy in India to get a new product key, and putting her data back in place. And I even tripled her RAM on the house, for the price of $110. Well, well under what most people would charge, and about 1/3rd of what a big box retailer would charge. I thought she would be thrilled with the price, instead she balked, and said the best she could do was $75 and that she thought I was going to be cheap (per what her friend told her). I explained that I was cheap and that other people/outfits would likely charge much more. She didn’t want to hear it. I reiterated that the price was $110, and explained step by step what I did and implored her to pull up BBY’s web site and see how much they would’ve charged her for the same work. She said she would call me back. The next day she called and said that she could do $100, but wasn’t happy about it. At this point I just wanted to be done with her. So I agreed. She sent her friend (the person that referred me in the first place) to pick up the computer. The friend was up to speed with what all was going on, and was mortified, about what went down and how the customer had treated me. I gave her back the computer and she gives me $100 in tens and fives.
But it gets better. About 6 months later the awful customer calls me back and tells me that she’s getting a new computer, but wants me to send me her data from her old computer. I tell her that I no longer have her personal data on file. I ask if her computer is still working, she said that it’s working fine with no problems. I then suggest that purchase an external backup drive, copy her data onto it, and then just transfer it to her new computer. She asks how much one of those costs. I tell her that one that would work for her would cost less than $60. She then mentions that since she already paid me once for a data backup that I should come over to her house and do it for her (for free). I gently explained that I would charge for travel time, and charge for either an external HDD or larger flash drive and charge for backing up the data as well as putting it on the new computer (if she chooses to do so when she gets the new computer). And all-in she’s looking at around $140-ish (which is still pretty reasonable). She countered with: “You’re just trying to take advantage of me again”. I took this as insult to my integrity and generosity and told her that I was not interested in being insulted by someone whom I cut a big break to previously, and told her that she was going to have to get someone else to do the work for her and wished her luck in her endeavor and hung up. A couple days later she calls again, this time wanting to know which external hard drive to get. I make the mistake of responding and tell her that the 1 TB WD element will be fine. She says thanks, and hangs up. The next week she calls again (this time while I’m at work), and says she’s got the external drive, and it’s hooked up but nothing is happening. I tell her that she has to copy the files she want’s saved over the external drive “Well, how do I do that?” Me: “ Just copy and paste” Her: “Where I do go to do that?” At this point I tell her that I’m not going to spend hours on the phone talking her through this. She gets miffed and tells me that she’s going let everyone know how unprofessional I am, and won’t be recommending me to her friends. I thank her for her feedback, and tell her not to call me back and that our business has concluded, and I hang up. Later that night, she posts on Facebook (tagged me in the post so that I would see it), claiming that I was taking advantage of a single mother and that everyone needs to know about it. A few on her friends said it was terrible that there were people who do that, but wanted to know exactly what had happened. I took this an opportunity to tell my side of the story, and gave a rundown of what I did and how much I charged. The consensus was overwhelmingly in my favor with her friends stating that she got a more than fair deal, and I even got an extra job out of the facebook exchange. So it worked out okay. But yeah, there are definitely problem customers out there who are not worth the trouble. Fortunately for me this is the only customer I’ve ever had any real trouble with.
TL/DR : Had a bad customer one time.
Well there’s the first problem. I used to sell Acers when I worked at Best Buy for school money back in the 90’s. What unmitigated pieces of junk those things were. Unfortunately the only other options at the time were Compaq, HP, and Packard Bell, so the alternatives weren’t exactly stellar either.
I bought many acers for work, they were fine for the low end users. I had more problems with windows than computer hardware, windows software for cars I am leery of.
I swear you tapped into my mind and took this story from me! I know it isn’t my story but boy does it sound familiar. Those with the sob stories and “poor me” attitudes are usually trouble for me. I have given away computers, only to have complaints that it isn’t the color they would have wanted. Then I gave away a computer and it had the old PS2 style ports. I had these old keyboards and mice that fit the ports so used them as part of the giveaway. Anyway, they got it home and reversed the ports. This won’t work unlike USB ports. Instead of calling me to ask questions, she bashed me and my company out on Facebook. I responded “Thank you so much for bashing my business instead of calling me so I could talk you through the problem with the computer I gave you in about 30 seconds.”
Then you find one little extra thing wrong. The person explodes in anger over $35 extra and acts like you are trying to rob them of their life savings, trying to make ME the bad guy.
Owners of outdated/low end equipment are often trouble and I have a higher charge when something older than 5 years or along the lines of a Pentium or Celeron comes in vs. a newer/higher end unit. Much of my business is word of mouth but I also get lots of new people as well because I do advertise to the general public. As a service business, here are some tips for anyone that will weed out the bad ones.
- I don’t haggle on the price. If they insist, I let them know that I charge by the hour so they either need to pay up for the privilege of haggling or pay the price. Hagglers are typically ones you have to watch out for and many are basically grifters if you get right down to it.
- I don’t do any “fixed price” jobs on something where I am unsure of the time a job will take. Some people insist on a fixed price over the phone without me even seeing their problem. Any service business should RUN from this type of customer as fast as possible.
I have been offering more of a flat rate package where I provide the computer and all associated hardware. I know the system and exactly how long it will take because I have setup many just like it. Working with existing equipment creates so many wildcards when it comes to the time required.
There is an automotive shop in my town that does it this way. You either use the stuff he sells or he won’t do business with you. He is known for selling tires and will not sell cheap no-name brands. You are going to get Goodyear or whatever and pay for it but will at least get a good tire. He doesn’t get the nonsense from people and I can totally see why he does this. You can also bring in your own tires for him to mount but he will not mount them if they are something he wouldn’t normally be OK with selling. This includes tires that are nearing 5 years old, worn tires, and cheap brands. I hear people bash him but totally understand why he does it. Those who use the guy swear by him though.
The customer already knows what the problem is and what it should cost to fix. This is another one to watch out for. I had some guy calling me and told me his system wouldn’t turn on so the power button was bad. He had already taken it to other shops who told him it needed a new motherboard but he told me it just needed a power button. I told him I still required money upfront and that was the last I heard from him. I have heard that mechanics deal with this all the time. “My car won’t start so you need to replace X part.” Most now have been burned so make the customer sign a form acknowledging that not paying for a full diagnostic will not guarantee a proper repair and that perfectly good parts may end up replaced. Well the customer that provides a starter from the parts store and wants it replaced is unhappy when there is no difference with the new starter. Of course they don’t have a leg to stand on now that they have signed that form but that doesn’t stop them from complaining and being unreasonable.
The customer saying “I will tell all my friends not to use you” is not always a bad thing. These unreasonable people don’t typically have friends that I would want to deal with either. My feeling on this is “The trash is taking itself out so I don’t have to deal with it.” Of course my business either has 5 star ratings or 1 star ratings but many more 5 star ones as a whole. People I want to deal with can see right though the bad reviews. For example “He charged me $30 extra for a broken DVD drive that didn’t need to be replaced.” Yes, it needed to be replaced. The computer was a disaster of cigarette smoke and I was told “It just needed a cleaning” but chain smoking for years in front of a computer is not a routine cleaning. I was paid no more for the job I did and know it will be right back where it was in no time.
The people who complain about needing any little thing extra are the worst. The person who needs an $30-50 part is the one that is going to go ballistic, threaten you, etc. Those paying for a big job never seem to complain.
The people who want you to match an online retailer’s price want the first class service but want to pay the cut-rate price. For example, I had a guy wanting a simple cable once on a Sunday afternoon. I was out eating with my girlfriend and I told him he could meet me in the parking lot and I would sell it to him for $10. “Well I can get that cable on Amazon for $3. Will you price match?” I told him no. He was like “I really need this cable today but don’t want to pay more than Amazon.” I proceeded to inform him that I would be taking time out from my dinner with my girlfriend to take care of him and that I wasn’t going to price match. I then let him know I might price match someday when Amazon can deliver an order in under 10 minutes when ordered on a Sunday afternoon. He actually passed on the deal and that didn’t bother me one bit.
Not having a storefront and dealing with people who pay me to provide onsite service has been wonderful. The storefront was a nightmare of cigarette smoked Acers being brought in running Windows XP, Vista, and full or malware. Of course the owners didn’t expect to have to actually pay anything!
Then I realized that people were happy to pay me to come out and setup their new systems, printers, etc. that were purchased at a big box store or online but don’t have onsite support. These were the good customers so I closed the store and do exclusively onsite. I have a flat service call for inside city limits and charge my hourly rate for travel beyond that point. You would be amazed at how far people pay for me to go as similar services just aren’t available. I do still meet people to pickup systems but they have the expectation that I am going to it with me and know they have to pay an upfront fee. That runs off a lot of nonsense. This business model might not work for all kinds of business but it has been great for me.
A lot of people think they can just throw a fit in retail stores these days. Take a look at this video at a computer repair place! The one mistake the owner made was not requiring the diagnostic fee UPFRONT before laying a finger on the computer. The guy probably wouldn’t have paid, left, and the situation would never have occurred. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szLlvppdFJo
- Eliminate services that aren’t profitable because others, often online or big box, do them. Some items also seem to attract more unreasonable customers who don’t want to pay. Gaming consoles tend to be an issue so I no longer advertise those services. The mechanic I mentioned above also does this.
Remember that you are providing a service that big box and online stores are either unwilling or unable to do. I have to pay for my own insurance, advertising of the business, taxes, and other costs. This is not a side business for me and cannot look at it that way. I provide a premium service and fill a niche that others do not. People are willing to pay for things done this way and businesses need to realize this. Some act like I am a bad person for not wanting to service the lower demographic but filtering this out has only made my life better. Businesses that don’t market to a better demographic often don’t last long around here because of all the people who take advantage of them.
I had a couple of exceptions. Some poor guy who I have had to deal with before had no money. Well, I realize he had 20x “Microsoft support” scams going all at once and had spent $4000-5000 that I could tell on these scams. He paid some and said he would pay the rest later. He has done these scams before and suspect it is only a matter of time. I locked him out of being able to download or install anything to his computer so that might help. I also had to drive him to the bank which I didn’t know about before. The sad part is that his phone was constantly ringing because of scammers of all flavors. He was just giving them his social security number, date of birth, address, etc. like it was nothing. He had Medicare scammers calling, computer scammers, and scams going for anything else possible. Obviously he is on their lists and it may be the same scammers calling with a different angle. I told him to just hang up but he wouldn’t listen. One called as soon as I removed their remote access software offering him a “refund”. Of course he would have to let them back into his computer to proceed with the refund. I grabbed the phone from him on this one and told them not to call back and that it was a scam. I told them to keep the money and they were like “We cannot keep the money.” I said “Well, that is your problem then.” I guess I did or tried to do my good deed and may or may not get paid the rest, depending on if he can stop getting scammed. The guy was just going out and buying them gift cards for all the big stores and services. Yes, these scams do work and work quite well, unfortunately.
The other exception is an older lady who was having me switch her over to Windows 10 from an old 7 system. People often don’t like the new interface of WIndows 10 and I can make it look just like Windows 7. The “new” system had been sitting in the box for years, had a dead battery, and other problems. It really wasn’t a bad system and I got it running but she called me the next day and still wasn’t happy. She was nice about it and understood that computers aren’t something you pass down to the grandkids. She bought a new computer based on what I suggested. Since it was one I sell and had on hand, I set it up in my home on my time and delivered it to her home and completed the last little bit of setup like installing her printer and such in exchange for her old one in the box. She was happy and I got a computer capable of decoding 4K video in hardware even if it wasn’t cutting edge.
As for Acers, I almost think I would rather have one of them for a cheap machine than the cheap models of better-known brands such as Dell and HP. I think that Acer specializes in cheap so they do it a tad better than others. They also make some really nice higher end units although you don’t see them often. Don’t get me started on Toshiba. There is no good model even if you spend lots of money on them. Packard Bell was around when I first got into computers. Talk about a complete piece of junk. Then came eMachines to take their place. The PB name is still around. I saw it on some cheap netbook last Black Friday in a Menards ad.
I wonder how I managed to stumble onto Computer Talk when I was looking for Car Talk.
Computerized drive train control is growing to be the most common problem for owners of late model cars second to incompetent and/or crooked repair shops @VOLVO_V70. And come to think of it with the advent of battery operated cars filling the roads computer geeks and automobile ‘technicians’ could be interchangeable. Future cars may no longer proclaim engine output in liters but rather motor voltage and amperage.
You’re right. No business should ever agree to haggle on price. It should be a “take it or leave it” proposition. The mere act of entertaining a request to “do the job cheaper” will be seen as an admission that your asking price was too high to begin with–something you never want to imply.
I wouldn’t agree to quote a set price, either, but it should be possible to explain to someone over the phone what are the most likely causes of their problem, and a ballpark estimate of what you’d charge to remedy those problem(s). It is not unreasonable for a customer to want to know upfront what the likely costs are, and many customers will want a “ballpark figure” before agreeing to sink money into something that may or may not be worth doing. Taking the time to discuss this with a customer over the phone isn’t “working for free”–it’s good business sense.
I am not a professional mechanic. You seem to have a bad attitude about your customers. For some reasons I feel that you are the type of person who tells the plumber what is wrong and how to fix it. Perhaps it’s time to retire.
Yeah, I do give ballpark figures but sometimes there can be a HUGE range in those numbers. I also tell people if their unit is over 5 years old or a low-end model, it might be better to just replace it.
As for computers, they are in EVERYTHING these days. Like it or not, if every computer stopped working right now, our cars wouldn’t drive, our power would go out, and all kinds of other problems would occur. Society would basically collapse.
While computers have enabled more efficient, cleaner running, and longer-lasting cars, the cost to repair these complex systems can be quite high. Sometimes I prefer a simpler interface on cars compared to touch screens and voice activated controls that don’t work well. Keep the old manual controls, even if they are controlled by a computer underneath and leave the touch screens, etc. out. Computerized engine management has been a good thing overall, even if it is more complex to repair.
The same goes for appliances as has been mentioned before. Some of the higher end ones come with a touch screen on the refrigerator door. Why? The board that controls this controls the temp. If the screen or the board goes out, there is an expensive repair. It used to be a $15 thermostat and you were back in business. That is how I see the infotainment systems on cars. Lots of complaints show up here and elsewhere about these things. Replacement of the radio is a major job and no longer something most would DIY. I personally don’t like this aspect.
My biggest concern about self-driving cars and such is hacking. The average computer user has no concept of just how many bad actors are out there trying to hack, scam, and do whatever else these days. The majority of my jobs involve some type of security issue such as a virus or scam. Individuals are one thing but I see this with companies dealing with personal, private, and financial data that are completely unsecured or not adequately secured. Sometimes they take my advice while other times they are like “We have never had a problem so why change it?” This is an issue with big companies such as EquiFax. They should have known better and I guess that is reflected in the outcome of the class action lawsuit. Also look up WannaCry and Notpetya.
With cars, I would hope that systems are locked down and secured. There was an incident with Jeeps a few years back where one could hack all types of controls on the Jeep. Of course this took a strange combination of factors to do and was unlikely to be a major issue but basically gave control of the car to someone else. Jeep patched this pretty quickly but it could be a concern in the future as the hackers are always looking for a new hole.
Hopefully self-driving cars will be properly secured. I would also hope there is a fail-safe of sorts to shut down the systems if an intrusion is suspected or revert to manual drive mode. Lack of security is my biggest concern for computers in cars and other systems for that matter. The power grid is a big one of course and then there is always banking.
A lot of times these flaws are discovered and exploited quite quickly before a patch can be created and applied, leaving systems vulnerable. My biggest fear is that there will be a bug that is exploited on a large scale and self-driving cars are used as weapons or to attack the owner in a more directed attack.
Hi @cwatkin, your business certainly brings you a lot of material, but thank you for bringing the discussion back to cars.