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Kite key takes over Rutgers computer repair service

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Kite + key, the technology store located in the Livingston Plaza, is taking over the duties of Rutgers Computer Repair and offering computer repair services.

Simple repairs and upgrades, which used to be administered by the Office of Information Technology, can be conducted on-site at the store, while more complicated ones may be sent out. 

Repairs have an expected turnaround rate of 48 hours, said Randall Isaac, manager of Retail Sales with the company.

“(We’re) full service, so we repair laptops in and out of warranty, we repair phone screens — at this point only iPhones — we work across vendors, so Microsoft, Apple, HP, Dell, across those platforms,” he said. “(We repair) hardware and software, in and out of warranty depending on what the problem is.”

Issues with RUWireless and similar Rutgers system bugs may be referred to the OIT Help Desk, but all other problems will be fixed by kite + key.

The store can repair iPhones, but is unable to fix Android-based phones at this time, Isaac said. The store has two Apple-certified technicians with a combined 15 years worth of experience repairing these devices.

Android phones may be serviced in the future, once it becomes economically feasible.

“We want to get the additional screens in quickly and economically,” he said. “We can purchase the screens, but it wouldn’t be feasible to fix the phone because it would cost as much as a new phone.”

As the group expands the business, they may be able to add Android phones. If possible, more staff members to handle increasing numbers of customers will be added.

To take advantage of the fee-based repairs, students, faculty or staff members just need to bring their devices into the store, Isaac said. The cost of the repair or upgrade will depend on what services are rendered.

“(For example), iPhone replacement screens, depending on the extent of that transfer will be $99,” he said.

A complete list of prices will be posted on kite + key’s website in the near future.

In previous years, Rutgers Computer Repair operated out of another facility on Livingston Campus, near the solar farm. The OIT group also charged for their repairs.

For the last two weeks, kite + key has been handling the repairs instead, Isaac said.

“With (students coming) back to school, we have students coming in,” he said. “We have someone that’s on-site and someone who works off-site so we always have someone here.”

The company has been collaborating with the Help Desk through move-in to ensure students had no issues, he said.

“We’re all Rutgers, we’re one big team. Anything we can’t handle we pass on to (Help Desk) and vice versa,” he said. “They were on campus over move-in weekend and they referred any (problems) they couldn’t take care of to us.”

While the store performs some work for official University systems, their primary business is centered around faculty, staff and students, and fixing their personal devices.

Kite + key also offers trade-ins and events for the Rutgers community to take advantage of, said Isabella Furmato, a marketing specialist with the store.

“We do ‘Appy Hours,’ which are events people can come to at the store, seminars, where they learn about new apps or tech products,” she said.

They also offer accidental damage and warranty extension plans, including AppleCare and AppleCare+. Students can finance their purchases through the Rutgers Federal Credit Union.

“We are a full line of technology products and accessories,” she said. “So you can do a financing plan through Rutgers’ Federal Credit Union. We offer financial aid too — students would have to fill out a form to see if they’re eligible.”

Once they return the form to the financial aid office, qualified students can take advantage to purchase devices.

Students can purchase anything from the store, Isaac said. While the store cannot hold every device that students may want, they will order items students want, like laptops.

“It’s an exciting time with the computer repair and things like that,” Furmato said. “We have a lot of great things to offer for an educational price, a competitive price. We’re a one-stop tech shop.”

Nikhilesh De is the news editor of The Daily Targum. He is a School of Engineering senior. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.

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