"Yes! This is the latest and greatest hardware. Comes pre-installed with Windows 11" - Shady Computer Guy
Update January 30, 2012: Computers Direct of North Myrtle Beach is in the news again.
WMBF reports that Computers Direct appears to have continued their questionable business practices. See the first report below for backstory. The good news? It looks like they've shut down this time. Read more here.
Update June 18, 2011: Loosely related: WPDE reports about G&C Computers & Electronics in Socastee that is actually charging people $5 to come in to their store to view their used computer equipment. Read about it here.
I can't imagine the City of Myrtle Beach (which this business is operating in) will allow this to go on.
First Report: If you've lived in the Myrtle Beach area in the last 10 years, chances are you've heard at least one horror story about a local independent computer store holding someone's computer hostage for a hefty ransom or simply selling them bootleg software.
According to WMBF, a North Myrtle Beach computer store is continuing the tradition. Consumer complaints about Computers Direct in North Myrtle Beach drew their attention a few months ago and WMBF set out to find the owner, Mark White. But it seems as though the owner of another shady computer shop that recently closed is now in charge. Get the details here.
It turns out Mark White was causing grief for Eastern North Carolina computer owners too. The News & Observer has a full write-up here.
I thought most of it was behind us after the very public 2008 bust of Robert Hussey that operated up to five large retail locations in 2005. The Sun News had several stories about these problems, but their archives are unavailable online. Fortunately, a local website has all of them here. WPDE still has a video up about this particular incident too. See it here.
Big surprise: WMBF notes that White and Hussey worked together at another computer store. Between the two of them, they operated almost 10 locations in their prime. Which means it's a safe bet they taught a couple more impressionable employees the ropes of taking people's money.
That's not to say there aren't any local reputable computer service businesses out there. But your best bet is going with someone that you have received a direct referral from someone you personally know and perhaps isn't attached to a pawn shop.
Know of a good local computer shop? Or a bad one? Shout it out in the comments.