How I got ripped-off and my iMac was messed-up by a computer repair man

This is a longer-than-normal blog. Only embark on it if you want to share my trauma… Though I do think the piece builds to a fairly strong climax – not written by me but by one remarkably plain-speaking Alan Evans… At the start, though, this is me…


It is embarrassing to admit, but, one day couple of weeks ago…

I found I could not access WiFi on my Apple iMac although, on the same desk in the same room, my iPad and iPhone COULD access the WiFi. So it was not a WiFi signal problem; it was an iMac problem. The iMac was working perfectly well otherwise; there was just a problem getting online via WiFi. I could not solve the problem – I tried all the normal things – so I succumbed to getting a repair man in via what seemed to be a safe website – bidvine.com

Via them, I was approached by a guy called Jon Draper of Ace Computer Services who, again, sounded plausible. He quoted £55 as an estimate.

A simple problem. He sounded plausible. My big mistake.

On arrival, he said he had meant to quote his normal £80 but would do it for the £55. 

Without telling me in advance and without asking my permission, while I was out of the room, he added four programs to my computer which he claimed would stabilise my computer and which cost £95 – so total price £150. 

They were CleanMyMac, IDFrag and Onyx. Plus MalwareBytes – which he only told me about after I queried it. He also told me the inbuilt Apple Disk Utility was “useless”.

As far as I am aware, none of the four non-Apple programs he installed are designed to specifically and solely target a WiFi problem. They are designed to mess around with the internal workings of the Operating System.

The WiFi, of course, now worked, he told me. I paid him by credit card. He was very plausible. And then he tried to show me the computer working.

It took forever to even start. He tried to solve the problem – “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said. It took perhaps 6-9 minutes to get it going. Getting online took similar minutes. “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said. I began to think this was his mantra. The picture was unstable. It rolled. “I don’t know why it’s doing that,” he said for a third time after Googling on his phone to see how to sort the problem. None of these problems had happened before.

He talked about wiping the hard drive and reinstalling everything from my back-up. I said, “No.” I was not letting him anywhere near my previously working hard drive.

After maybe half an hour, he left because he had to go to another appointment saying, as he went through the door, that to solve the problem, he could sell me a £150 hard drive for £100. I said No… Obviously.

He claims he has a “No Fix – No Fee” policy so I suppose, pedantically, that is true. The WiFi problem had been fixed. But he had buggered up the computer by – without my permission – installing four programs for which he charge £95.

After he left, I removed (as I told him I would) two of the four rogue programs – CleanMyMac and IDFrag – and got the computer working perfectly well again – except that I cannot now access my Network Preferences panel and the hard disc icon on my desktop has been replaced with a Network icon. The third program – MalwareBytes – I removed, but an icon for it remained in the MenuBar.

I sent a message asking Jon Draper how to remove this and asking where the fourth program he installed – Onyx – was. He said he would find out and get back to me. I had to find a MalwareBytes uninstaller on the internet which I downloaded and got rid of the rogue MalwareBytes icon.

I still have been unable to find the Onyx program he charged me for (it is Freeware). I also sent a message asking for a refund for the cost of him supplying and (without my foreknowledge or permission) installing software which collectively buggered-up my previously working computer. I got no reply.

He left the computer in an unusable state, installed software I did not ask for without my foreknowledge or permission and charged £95 extra to make a working computer slow and, in practical effect, unusable. Appalling. I got the computer working again myself.

I complained to Bidvine who, basically, said, “Not our problem, mate.” They put people who require service in touch with people who provide service and it is nothing to do with them if the service is shit.

“At Bidvine, our goal is to successfully connect you to professionals and we aim for everyone to have a positive experience in using the platform. We value your feedback as this serves to inform us.”

Interestingly, Bidvine’s website showed Jon Draper had been hired only 4 times via Bidvine, but had received 6 reviews for jobs done on different dates.

I looked more into Jon Draper (which, of course, I should have done earlier).

I noticed that, on his website, it claims he is part of an organisation with multiple technicians covering six counties. Yet, when I looked at the different counties’ details they all seemed to have his own telephone numbers. And the only name in alleged testimonials from satisfied ‘members of the public’ in different areas was his name.

The company “HQ” – that’s what it said – is an unremarkable suburban house in Woodstock Avenue, Golders Green, NW11 9SG, if you want to Google Streetview it.

The ‘company’ is said to be managed by a mysterious Tony Hawkins who “has been involved in the computer repair business for many years” and is “well trained to oversee the company, having previously worked for computer data services… We can GUARANTEE your business first page of Google!… So, for example, type in ‘pc repairs’ followed by any town in London, Surrey or Hertfordshire, and you’ll see our website on the first page.”

Obviously I tried this and it is a load of bollocks.

I enjoyed cowboys when I was a young boy watching movies. I do not appreciate them as much as an adult.

I also found that Jon Draper trades on Facebook as Any Distance Computer Services, on Twitter as PC & Mac Repairs and as 24 Hour PC and Apple Mac Repairs on BidVine’s competitor website freeindex.co.uk (although this 24-hour business confusingly claims that business hours are 0700-2300).

Never let it be said I fail to give credit where due.

He has done the same scam before, though not, it seems, with such disastrous consequences. The latest two 2018 reviews on freeindex.co.uk were both 1-star and the latest also mentioned in detail dodgy installation by him of unnecessary programs. (BELOW)

Suspiciously, all previous reviews (5-star) were posted before July 2017. 

Here are two reviews of “Jon Draper” on FreeIndex:


From: ALAN EVANS, Horley. Posted 26 Jul 2018

Jon rudely hung up on me during our call, but I will here summarise my complaint(s) with the nature of his service provision. The originating issue and reason for calling Jon was, and is, with regard to a slow iMac which often shows the spinning wheel for long periods. Since Jon came to address the problem, the spinning wheel persists so nothing has changed.

Very soon after Jon arrived he suggested that High Sierra was the problem. He suggested this before conducting any diagnostics but I assumed he knew what he was doing – being the ‘expert’ and all. Then the task was, apparently, to revert back to the previous software. While the computer reverted back to its previous software which takes time, Jon suggested looking at 2 other computers in my home; another iMac and a Dell laptop, to see if anything could be done there too. At the time I thought he was being helpful and service-oriented by making good use of the time I was already paying for @ £40 per 30 minutes. He had said over the phone “I charge £80 per hour but most problems can be fixed within this time”. As it turned he took 90 minutes and charged me £120. I wouldn’t have an issue with this charge. But, in fact, I do because: 

He spent the extra half hour loading ‘helpful’ apps onto all the computers. I assumed this was part of the service because he never asked if I wished to purchase any apps. He then casually announced before leaving and by pointing at each computer, that the software for that one is £45, that one £35 etc to the tune of £215 bringing the total cost to £335. I was shocked and told him that one of the computers was my wife’s work based computer and I did not want to be charged for fixing the computer of a corporation. He removed the apps from this computer and £125 from the fee but I was becoming increasingly irritated and my trust in him dropped dramatically as a consequence of his approach. 

Still reeling, I paid £210 online under duress and without having had a chance to review the outcome. Which of course I now have. Jon advertises a ‘No Fix – No Fee Policy’ but at the same time rushed me, the customer, to pay online before he had left and before I had a chance to check if anything had in fact been fixed. It hadn’t. 

The apps he mis-sold me, I have since discovered, were free and gratis anyway. He appears to have provided a month subscription and these ‘subscriptions’ then run out. They were MalwareBytes, IDFrag (I can buy memory defrag for 99p on the App Store if I wish to) Onyx, ClamXav (also free but only £19.99 to buy the full version) and CleanMyMac 1.5. CleanMyMac is now on version 3 and I am unable to upgrade to this from the software he loaded which is very old. 

I believe Jon is using customers who are experiencing computer issues as opportunities for selling old software that he happens to have on a memory stick. These unsuspecting customers do not know any better and so put their trust in him. Worse, he knowingly abuses this trust for personal gain. Jon is a highly immoral predator. 

When I eventually got hold of Jon on the phone (he failed to return my calls several times) I attempted to calmly put my thoughts to him, making the assumption that perhaps he has unknowingly made an error and just doesn’t realise how he is coming across either. Rather than listen he continuously interrupted and stated several times ‘that’s your opinion’. He rejected any attempt at providing feedback designed to help him see how his service appears to us customers. 

I used an analogy to suggest that a car garage doesn’t charge a customer for works on a car until they have explained the options to allow the customer to decide what they are and are not willing to pay for. They don’t just customise your car then tell the customer ‘You owe us £X’. Jon countered this with “Well then I want the number of your garage because mine does and all garages do…” In effect telling me I am wrong and he is right and demonstrating an inability to listen, learn and change. 

After our call I checked the reviews of his company on some review sites and such and noted that other complainers attempting to share their views are similarly attacked by Jon with attempts to discredit them and their criticisms. An open reply to one person says; ‘This customer was visiting dodgy websites’. Another customer implores us to contact them first so they can warn us of what to expect and to avoid Jon. Jon’s approach disgusts me. 

His operation represents bad customer service at best. But it is cruel, rude, bullying, damaging to both home and business and lacking in any kind of ethical business practice at worst. Jon is self-serving and money-oriented at whatever the cost. And the cost is the appropriate level of care toward the customers. Jon should serve time in prison as his activities are criminal.

I want a full refund. But I expect nothing from these sharks other than more name calling, denials and lies (see Jon’s response below!)

To state the obvious: avoid Jon and his company like the plague.


From: AARON, Amersham. Posted 22 Jan 2018 

Very disappointed with the service from Jon. The initial contact was ok, but it took me following up on 3 separate occasions for him to come out to pick up my hard drive for data recovery. Post pick up I had to follow up with him on a number of occasions before he did the work I had asked him to do. I would respond to his questions within minutes but then he wouldn’t communicate back for days.

When he completed the work he sent me my data but kept my hard drive, which we had never discussed and which I had never given him permission to do. After following up with him about it he told he had destroyed it to get the data, which he had also not communicated to me before doing it. 

I requested he send it back to me, destroyed or not, as the SSD hard drive of a MacBook is worth more than his service. He said he would, but has since avoided my calls and text messages. I can only imagine he is trying to reuse the part to sell to someone else. I would take the old adage that you get what you pay for, but he wasn’t that much cheaper than a corporate level data retrieval service in the end. Use at your own peril. 


From: DEREK EMBLEM, Royston. Posted 12 Jul 2017

Jon came to my house to repair two faults on my pc, one he did cure, the other one is a dropdown advert which is still doing the same, he sold me a anti-malware package which expired one day after he left and charged me a lot of money, yet his advert states “no fix no fee”. I am a very elderly person and don’t fully understand how these machines work that’s why I contacted this person.


Meanwhile, back at bidvine.com, they appear to be harbouring rogue traders rather than rooting them out. Obviously this is unacceptable.

Bidvine’s current directors appear to include Ghaith Yafi of Bdd 1082, Beirut Digital District, Bechara El Khoury, Beirut, Lebanon. But they are unwilling to confirm this,

For those with a steely determination, a masochistic love of rough rides and a love of people who openly claim to  be certified, never let it be said I don’t promote improvisational comedy performers. Jon Draper advertises thus…

… THERE IS A RESPONSE TO THIS BLOG HERE

3 Comments

Filed under Computers, Crime

3 responses to “How I got ripped-off and my iMac was messed-up by a computer repair man

  1. John Ward

    I can sympathise to a degree as I had a naff PC ‘engineer’ some years ago who ran and still runs a ‘shop’ – to say its a shop is an affront to real shopkeepers as the times – many before common sense reared its head – I went in there, there were always those trying to gain the title of Village Idiot as their own as they were lolling over the counter, drinking tea, coffee or rolling ciggies (forget the No Smoking in shops law there..) and it looked like or you felt you had interrupted somebody’s private party as much like the cowboy films, the stranger walks into the local saloon and everybody stops in mid swallow and the piano player stops also as this was the atmosphere generated and to be honest I felt uncomfortable but as the lack of said PC repair people was thin on the ground options were few.

    I accepted the fact he must(?) be okay as he had ‘been there years’ as one neighbour told me and so if he had been ‘the distant’ there and still in ‘business’ he must be okay then – wrong..

    My last adventure with him was so shoddy that my PC, after a week, was worse than when it went in for ‘repair’.

    I then trawled the local paper and found Jason who seems to live and breathe computers – you ring the landline number and either he or his mother answers the call or if nobody about, leave a message and they ring you back as soon as possible.

    Its been six years now I think, he arrives, he fixes, he does not charge a call-out fee as such as its all in the price he charges – he charges by the hour and the most (so far..) I have ever paid him is less than fifty quid and he does not faff about adding any programmes or as he put it, ‘I only do as required, nothing more but I will advise’

    He did point out that some ‘programmes’ also spy on your computer and are dormant until somebody, somewhere awakes it and wants to ‘know you better’ and all without you even knowing…

    He is in his thirties I assume so hopefully I have him to call upon until I pop me clogs.

  2. Lynn Bell

    You are not having a good year for tech.  You can claim the payment back from your credit card company if the payment is over £100:

    Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, your credit card company is jointly liable if something goes wrong with a product or a service you’ve paid for by credit card. 

    You can potentially claim for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company from which you’ve bought your goods.

    This means your credit card company shares equal responsibility with the retailer or trader for the goods or service supplied, allowing you to put your claim to the credit card company.

    You don’t have to reach stalemate with the retailer or trader before you can contact your credit card provider – you can make a claim to both the retailer and credit card provider simultaneously.

    Section 75 is particularly useful if the retailer or trader has gone bust, or you’re getting no response to your letters or phone calls. 

    • John Ward

      Hi Lynn – thanks for making this point known to John F. and handy to have Section 75 in my arsenal for future ‘events’ should they arise:) Best wishes, John 2

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