Craig Roberts troubleshoots computer problems. When he makes a house call, his clients are at their wit's end.
"I get a sense of panic when they call me. They are very concerned, whether it be for their data, or the health of their system, or if they're going to have to buy a new computer," said Roberts.
Computer problems are scary. And if you can't call on someone like Craig, turning to the manufacturer for help is often no help at all, says Steve Witten, Director of Consumer Reports Survey Research.
"PC owners told us that they were very dissatisfied with the support they got and that was regardless of whether they went on the phone for support, or went online," said Witten.
A Consumer Reports survey found Acer and Toshiba solved only about 40 percent of user problems. Dell and Lenovo solved around 60 percent. Staples did better solving 70 percent of problems and Best Buy's Geek Squad solved 77 percent. At the top of the pack - Apple's tech support.
"Apple owners told us that really regardless of phone service or going online for service, over 80 percent of the time their problem was resolved," Witten said.
And at the Genius Bar - Apple's walk-in tech support center - the survey found 86 percent of computer problems were resolved.
The Consumer Reports survey found another good bet for tech support - independent computer stores. When it comes to troubleshooting, the survey found people who go to independents are as happy as those who go to Apple's Genius Bar.
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