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Troubleshoot Computer Trouble Before It Starts

By Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer
Tuesday, 19 Aug 2008 | 10:25 AM ET

Your computer is on the fritz again. Do you drag it back to the store? Wait on hold for an hour on an 800 number? If you have PlumChoice, you won't have to do either. In fact, the computer support service might have even prevented the problem in the first place.

Ted Werth, founder of PlumChoice, explains:

What is PlumChoice?
It's remote computer support. We fix your computer while you watch, online. We are the leader and almost the only one in this marketplace.

Doesn't this already exist? We have it here at CNBC. What's new from PlumChoice?
Yes, some companies already have this service. What's new here is we are now providing a monitoring service. It's a remotely monitored pro-active solution that monitors your software. Like a combination of ADT, the home security sytem, and OnStar for your car. We call you if there's a problem. We call before things become a big issue.

What else sets PlumChoice apart?
Even though some companies, such as CNBC, already do this, it is not readily available for consumers and small businesses. They can call the manufacturer's helpline and hang on the phone. Or they can bring it back to the store where they bought the computer, but most stores can't help. And the cable companies can't help at all.

PlumChoice provides service in the home, without anyone visiting. We have just hired another 100 people, most of whom work from home, so that's a green thing. All of our certified technicians are U.S. based. In an economy that is down, PlumChoice is growing.

Should I be concerned about privacy if PlumChoice is constantly monitoring my computer?
People are typically nervous about this sort of remote access. We have a lot security. All of our agents are US based, background checked, etc. We do 100% recording of everything said on the phone and done on the computer. If someone were to make a complaint, like 'your technician tried to access my financial software' or 'your guy copied my photos', we would have that on record.

How did you get started? Where did you get your funding?
The company is 7 years old, but our new remote monitoring service launches in August 2008. I privately funded the start-up by myself. About 2 years ago an institutional investor got involved. Now we are entertaining how to expand our business.

In the last 9 months this has really caught on. In the past year our business has quadrupled. Current solutions no longer work. People want help and we can provide it.

Can I buy your services directly from you, or through retailers, or where?
You can buy directly from us, or from Circuit City, McAfee, some ISPs, and some telecommunications companies.

How much does it cost?
You can purchase a service at a fixed price. For example, call and say "my MP3 player won't hook up to my computer and the web" and we fix that.

But mostly we sell subscriptions. The most popular is $24.95 a month. That covers full security, full system backup, the works. Additional computers at a discount.