Survey shows trend towards paid support

Major brands increasingly up-selling service options
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Laptop Magazine has published this year's annual Tech Support Showdown report card for support quality in the US.

Each year Laptop Magazine calls the major brands of laptop manufacturers with a typical tech support queries and grades the responses in a Tech Support Showdown feature. The report described a "disturbing trend" as several of the companies apparently refused to answer questions unless they were of a broken-hardware nature. 

In order to gain support beyond the most basic issues of hardware failure, the technical support terms had chosen to pitch "fairly pricey" support packages, according to the Laptop Magazine report. 

Fortunately it wasn't all bad news as the report said: "During our tests we encountered, on average, 13-minute call times with less than 4 minutes of time spent on hold. That's down by more than a minute compared to last year's results."

The report results seem fairly consistent over previous years with Apple continuing an unbroken "A" record while Gateway and Acer both scored a "D+". 

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