The FloH Club -- Tech support for older adults (Yay)

You know and I know that all older adults do not love and relate to their computers. And their computers are not loveable. I will spare you a rant this time and not count the ways. For those who are uncomfortable with their computers, there are a host of imperfect alternatives to 'help.' Their adult children can patronize them, they could attend a training class at their local college or senior center, or they could try an online support service like CrossLoop, not focused on older adults), they can call the company that sold them the product. They could buy the GO Computer for $879 and receive telephone support for $19.95/month. If you already have a computer and need help, now there is another option -- the FloH Club -- started by 75-year-old Florence Henderson, best known as the TV mom on the Brady Bunch. Check out Ms Henderson describing it in this Video from the Today Show.

Using her own experience with technology demystification, on September 23, she launched a tech support fee-based service - not a charitable foundation - to help people with their computers. Plans are $249.99 for the year or $24.99/month for 6 months to do the following (as stated on the site):

  • "Use e-mail, instant messaging, videoconferencing with Skype, or Facebook
  • Set up a device such as a printer, scanner, digital camera, or MP3 player to work with your computer
  • Tune up your system so it performs at its best
  • Set up a home network
  • Purchase airline tickets, gifts, books, or prescriptions safely over the Internet
  • Check financial news and stock performance online"

Best Buy's Geek Squad is a costly visit -- and worse, someone is in your house, which may not be so appealing. They also do what CrossLoop does and access it remotely -- not very conversational for folks who may be intimidated by the computer and the real nightmare, the software.

So let's give a cheer for an entrepreneur at 75 starting a business to help people get comfortable with their computers! We want her to succeed!

Thoughts and experiences welcome!

 

 

FlohClub scam

FlohClub is just another in a series of scam companies. They entice you to use their service and want to lock you into monthly recurring fees.

FloH Club -- gone, as in disappeared without a trace

The FloH Club is no more -- shut down 1-2 months ago, apparently Florence Henderson's decision, despite, according to Support.com, the fact that it was profitable.

 

Will seniors pay for this service?

Thanks Laurie for this very useful blog and for letting us know about these services.

Technical support targeted to seniors seems like a very useful service that I think would benefit many seniors that I know personally. I especially like that FloH Club and other companies offer telephone-based support so that their customers can talk directly to a patient, friendly support person, instead of trying to find more information in a cryptic manual or online. Perhaps such a service for supporting other technology (e.g., mobile phones) would also be useful to seniors.

Although I think it's great that companies like the FloH Club and Go Computer offer seniors technical support, I wonder how many seniors will be able to pay $10-20/month for support. I understand that these companies need to charge for the service, but many seniors that I've spoken to have fixed incomes and may not be able to afford the extra expense. Are there any similar services that are offered freely by charitable foundations? If so, are they widely used?

Don't use this service

Everyone please beware. I purchased this service, a one-year membership, for my grandmother for Christmas. She made several attempts to call in and use the service, only to give up after being on hold for 3 hours and still no answer. I have now taken over attempting to get a refund for this un-usable service, and, surprise surprise, it has been over 6 weeks and still have not received anything. The FloH Club is run by support.com, and I have been sent all over their corporate phone tree. I have kept a log – I’ve spent over 20 hours so far trying to find out who can cut a check for a refund, to no avail even still. The clock ticks on…
Please, save yourself this trouble and DO NOT subscribe.

Dear Anonymous, Yes Floh

Dear Anonymous,

Yes Floh Club is supported by Support.com and it recently went through a growth spurt that affected the Floh Club. They have trained new and friendly technicians and there are no longer hold times. You should call Floh Club again and I'm sure they will be willing to give you a free 3 month trail to come back.

This is an incredibly friendly service with all the right intentions of helping people who want to get more out of their computer. I'm sorry you had a bad experience - but Support.com has worked very hard to fix the situation.

I know because I spent time talking to the Floh Club's very helpful service center.

FYI. I HIGHLY recommend this service - It has made my life so much easier!

Allie.

Free services to teach about computers

Many councils on aging have volunteers who provide computer training and support -- typically free -- on premises during hours in which they are open and the volunteers are available. Here are three -- one from Edison, NJ, one in New Orleans, sponsored by SeniorNet, and libraries, like this one in Palm Beach, FL.

Often these training programs include use of the program's computers (versus owning a computer). I think the fee-paid services like The FloH Club can target the market of people who have bought a computer or were given one as a gift (maybe the giftgiver could give them a 6-month contract for the service) but found themselves struggling and near giving up. For those, maybe this is a good option when the perceived value of using a computer outweighs the service cost.

Up close and personal works best!

Having someone in your home WHO YOU TRUST is the most efficient way to learn about the ABCs of connecting with computers to friends, family/caregivers and healthcare providers.

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