Lack of support Featured

9:52am EDT July 22, 2002

There’s nothing more frustrating than problems with new software or hardware. More often than not, you either spend hours on hold waiting to talk to tech support — sometimes paying for the privilege — or waiting days for someone to e-mail an answer to your question, if they get back to you at all.

There is an alternative. No Wonder! (www.nowonder.com) is a tech support site that can lend a hand when the manufacturer doesn’t seem to be listening.

“No Wonder! is what I call the answer to tech support — it is our solution to the troubled tech support community,” says Scott William, president of the company. “In the face of companies right and left going with a customer paid technical support method, it was necessary to provide a free way of getting support in a friendly, hassle-free online environment.”

The site boasts tech support for just about anything computer related: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, printers, scanners, business software, consumer software and others — even Java and HTML programming languages.

The site is staffed by almost 1,000 volunteers, most of whom work in the computer field and like helping others.

“Our typical user is the consumer and educational institutions,” says William. “A growing number do include small businesses and large corporations. We find most users stumble across us out of a desperate search for real tech support they are not finding from the company they purchased the products from, and most return to us first from that point on.”

No Wonder! handles everything from setting up a printer to issues of networking. It’s even offered advice on getting ink from an inkjet printer out of the carpet. The service advertises a response time of 24 hours or less, but many questions are answered sooner. When twice put to the test by SBN, a No Wonder! volunteer responded within an hour of submission. The same question submitted to the manufacturer has yet to be answered.

“The service is totally free with no strings attached,” says William. “We don’t ask for marketing data and we don’t sell e-mail addresses. We do offer a VIP account, which allows users to support us financially, while gaining two key features: faster response time and the ability to store computer profiles online. However, even with the VIP account, you are not paying for the tech support itself.

“No Wonder! is doing what no one else has been able to do. It is truly one of a kind, and as some have said, it’s a tech support wonder.”


Cries for help

Here are some other sources of online help for your computer woes:

  • Microsoft, www.microsoft.com/support. There’s a searchable collection of articles and downloadable fixes for some problems.

  • ZD Help, www.zdnet.com/zdhelp. This site searches through Ziff-Davis’ database of tips and answers to frequently asked questions drawn from its stable of computer publications.

  • Newsgroups. Access newsgroups through www.deja.com. There are various topical bulletin boards on everything from scanners to operating systems. Be warned, this is a public forum, so any advice you may get should be taken cautiously, but most are users who have experienced the same problems and can offer quick solutions.