New York. — Verizon has begun offering an extended service program that provides repairs, equipment replacement and technical support for PCs and TVs in addition to phone equipment.
The program, called Expert Care, consists of three levels of service, including an onsite option that is provided by Circuit City’s Firedog operation.
Verizon is the second major carrier to extend its support services to CE products. In August AT&T introduced a program called ConnecTech that provides custom home theater installation, PC repairs and wireless home network setup. The company’s consumer marketing operations senior VP, Carmen Nava, acknowledged that AT&T launched the program to tap into a home services marketplace valued at $1 billion.
Verizon’s Expert Care program offers the following tiers:
· “Device protection,” which provides repair or replacement of multiple computers, TVs and telephones regardless of age, size or place of purchase. The plans range from $5 to $20 a month, depending on the equipment covered, and may also include repair or replacement of original equipment remote controls, keyboards, mice, monitors and backup batteries for Verizon's FiOS service;
· “Premium technical support,” which features a 10-month subscription plan, priced at $15 a month, which includes telephone and online support for PC-related issues such as virus and spyware detection and removal, virtual private network problems, firewall assistance, and problems with computer operating systems, gaming connectivity and software and hardware issues. Telephone and online technical support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and;
· “Premium onsite support,” outsourced to Circuit City's firedog unit, which includes onsite support ranging from operating system installations to full PC and home network setups, billed on a per-use basis. There are several offerings, tailored to specific needs and priced from $100 to $250.
“Because customers trust us for their home entertainment and communications needs, they also want us to help them resolve problems with the growing number of sophisticated consumer electronics devices throughout their homes,” said Peter Castleton, executive director of Verizon corporate marketing. “We developed Expert Care to give customers the kind of support they need to keep their digital home networks humming.”
Details of coverage and prices are available at www.verizon.net/expertcare.