I dont want money

  carolineann 15:20 27 Sep 04

for fixing peoples problems.

My close friends usually give me a bottle of wine which is fine, as they know I enjoy doing it.
But lately I have been getting quite a few elderly people asking for help. minor problems which only take a short time to sort out. As long as they keep me supplied with coffee thats great.

So how do I stop them from trying to give me money which I know they can ill afford?
How do other members ,who like me only do it for a hobby cope?

I would accept a token payment of say £2. Many elderly people come from a generation that took pride in paying their way and owing nothing.By not accepting anything,they may feel uncomfortable; taking a token payment 'for a drink' allows them to keep their pride and independence.

  Diodorus Siculus 15:43 27 Sep 04

Like you I ask to be kept supplied with coffee while working and maybe a whiskey when finished...

One particular family asked me to help after they paid someone else £80 to sort out their PC and all he did was format and reinstall windows - no drivers installed for modem, graphics or audio. That is the problem many people face when they just pick a random ad from the free papers or newsagent window.

I have had occasion to rescue aquaintances from the PCWorld queue when they were complaining that they could not get any sound or their internet does not work or whatever the case me be. A quick chat and I offer to help - if I can it will have saved them a few pounds that I know many cannot afford.

One friend of mine had a PC for two years and was unable to get online because of a dead modem and could not afford to get a "professional" to sort it out - I usually come armed with a spare modem in such cases and after plugging in a USB modem got the family online in 10 minutes.

Sometimes we take it for granted that problems can be sorted out easily but the question of knowing where to start is what puts many people off.

As for how to avoid taking money, I just refuse and ask them to give to charity if they want - there are lots of worthy causes around here.

  Sapins 16:00 27 Sep 04

Offer to pay them for the experience gained :-) on second thoughts some of them will accept :-(

  Sapins 16:01 27 Sep 04

On third thoughts, send the money to me!!

  pj123 16:06 27 Sep 04

I also have the same problem as you. I don't want money either or I wouldn't be on this Forum. I would be a "Consultant" charging £50 an hour. It is very difficult when you have supplied a service for which they expect to pay. When they say "How much do I owe you" you say "Nothing" is not acceptable to them.

  spuds 18:01 27 Sep 04

Being a silver surfer myself, I have the easy remedy. I point out that a little friendship far outways the monetary rewards.

  Bandy 18:43 27 Sep 04

I frequently experience the same problem of not being willing to accept payment. and I also use the friendship argument - However I do find some older people reluctant to ask for help because they don't want "Charity".

The most successful gambit recently has been to ask them to make a donation to "Help the Aged" next time thy're in town - It seems to be working, my son's wife works in the local office and has accepted donations.

  Forum Editor 18:44 27 Sep 04

Once you take payment for a service you bewcome liable under the supply of goods and services to consumers legislation, and you could find yourself ending up with a problem if something went wrong.

I know it's a sad old world if you can't help someone over a difficulty without thinking about liabilities, but it's a fact - anyone who provides a service in exchange for money is effectively running a business, and if something goes wrong with a customer's computer after you've been fixing it you might wish you had taken precautionary measures. Lost data is one of the most common complaints "I had that email saying I had won £1 million before you came, now I can't find it anywhere". Or " 'Dancing leaping thing' version 10.0 worked perfectly last week, but since you came it crashes all the time."

Id you're going to work for nothing make sure you tell people at the outset - before you touch the computer - that you're not doing this for money, and that anything you do to the machine is done at the owner's risk. That way there's no risk of a happy encounter ending up in tears.

  Dan the Confused 18:59 27 Sep 04

The only person's PC I ever fixed was my mum's. I charged £5 an hour and got free bed & breakfast! Cool or what?!

  Forum Editor 19:00 27 Sep 04

I must try that on some of my clients.

The free bed and breakfast bit, not the £5 an hour.

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