By Patrick Eccles-Williams, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As increasing numbers of foreigners living or even just traveling in Brazil are carrying laptop computers, tablets and other electronics, there is an ever-growing demand among expatriates for computer repair outlets. Unfortunately language barriers, high prices, and slow service can make for a frustrating experience.
There are various options for people living in the Cidade Maravilhosa who require such services, be it for a PC or an Apple product. With regards to the latter, the most notable option is the recently opened Apple Store, which is located in the Village Mall shopping center in Barra da Tijuca, approximately twenty kilometers from the Zona Sul (South Zone) area of Rio de Janeiro.
The store opened in February 2014 and is the only official Apple store in the whole of Latin America. Like all official Apple outlets it not only offers products for customers to purchase but also provides technical advice and repairs to Apple products.
In order to get your device mended you need to book a Genius Bar appointment, which can be booked online on the official website. However there is often no availability for appointments in the immediate future.
According to Forbes, Brazil is the most expensive country in the world to buy Apple products and these inflated prices apply to getting repairs on Apple products as well. However, Oscar Lamont, from São Paulo said of the official retail store, “I just think it’s fantastic we finally have an Apple store here in Brazil.” He then went on to say, “And I’m sure the prices will go down.”
For those unable to get a Genius Bar appointment, or simply looking for somewhere with a more convenient location, there are numerous unofficial Apple stores in Rio. There are three MacStore’s in Zona Sul, located in Leblon, Copacabana, and Ipanema.
These unofficial outlets offer repairs and services on all Apple products. However prices may be even higher here than in the official store, and waiting times can be longer.
Cinthia Panariello, a Brazilian who has also lived in the UK, says that it can be risky getting repairs with the unofficial stores. “The problem is that these unofficial stores have to ask Apple for any piece that they might need to repair your computer.”
“Therefore you can end up waiting a long time for your device to be fixed as there is this added layer of bureaucracy.” When asked to compare the service with that received in the UK she said, “The service is far less reliable and you can’t always trust that it will be fixed in the time that they promise.”
There are also a number of places that will repair PC’s in the city. Soluciomática, located on Avenida Rio Branco near Carioca metro (subway) station, offers a wide range of technical support and repair services on notebooks and other electronic devices, such as PC’s and Macs.
Other options include Info Tec Rio, which is based in the Downtown Shopping center in Barra da Tijuca, and Cyber Plus Laboratorio, on Rua Rodolfo Dantas, in the Copacabana area. Both of these stores offer technical assistance and maintenance of computers, whilst also selling computer accessories.
Dan Boyden, from the UK, explains that foreigners living in Brazil are left in a complicated situation if their computer breaks: “The problem with getting your computer fixed here is that you can end up spending as much as you would have spent on a new computer back home. However it also makes no sense to buy a new computer here because the prices are so high.”