MSP, Small business

Lawsuits Cloud iYogi Remote Tech Support Reputation

Microsoft’s Brad Smith
Microsoft's Brad Smith

iYogi, the remote help desk service provider, is facing backlash from Microsoft Corp. and at least two lawsuits in the United States. One lawsuit alleges that iYogi scams consumers and businesses into buying more IT services than they need. Another lawsuit claims iYogi failed to fulfill a business partnership in Maine. iYogi maintains that the company offers reputable report IT support services that millions of consumers and businesses depend upon.

Original Jan. 11, 2016 Report: Still, some big names are raising questions about the company's IT support services. The state of Washington sued iYogi in December, saying the help desk provider routinely scams customers into buying software and services they don't need. As part of the lawsuit announcement, Microsoft's Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said iYogi is one of the companies that Microsoft receives the most complaints about, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Argo Marketing of Lewiston, Maine, is suing iYogi in New York. The lawsuit attempts to collect money owed to Argo by the tech support firm, according The Argo-iYogi relationship had been expected to create 300 jobs in Maine -- launching iYogi's first Global Technology Services Center in North America, but the deal allegedly fell apart.

iYogi: We're Innocent

iYogi, which supports more than 3 million users worldwide, says the state of Washington lawsuit is without merit.

"What made this so shocking was the fact that nobody from the Attorney General’s office ever reached out to us to discuss any concerns they might have about our business or how it operates," said Vishal Dhar, co-founder and president marketing for iYogi. "Had they done so, they would have learned that the claims they are making are not only baseless, but are also misguided. While our legal teams prepare an appropriate course of action and response to the complaint, our position on this matter is clear – the lawsuit is without any merit."

ChannelE2E is checking to see if the company has a comment about the Argo Marketing lawsuit.

iYogi: The Global Consumer Help Desk?

iYogi was one of the first companies to pursue global consumer help desk opportunities, extending remote IT support toward the managed services business mode across the USA. The company says it offers a subscription based, on-demand technical support service for end user and small businesseses -- covering 550+ technology products along the way.

More than 3 million users, rely on iYogi for the setup, installation, networking, syncing, diagnostics, repair, security, optimization, and usability assistance for the technologies they use every day, iYogi asserts. The service is available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, GCC States, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Singapore, and India.

iYogi and the Better Business Bureau

In the state of New York -- where iYogi operates an office and where Argo filed suite -- iYogi has faced 404 consumer complaints in the past three years, including 170 complaints in the past year, according to the Better Business Bureau.

However, iYogi maintains an A rating with the bureau, which suggests that the remote IT support company has effectively addressed inquiries from the bureau and its members.

Microsoft Combats Tech Support Scammers

As part of a broader industry effort, Microsoft has spent more than a year trying to educate consumers and small business owners about alleged IT tech support scams. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft calls your home or office, the company says:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

MSP Challenges and Opportunities

On the one hand, the controversy about alleged tech support scams could give legitimate managed services providers (MSPs) a black eye -- making it more difficult to sell and support remote IT services.

But on the other hand, reputable MSPs seem to be growing strongly and pushing into vertical markets. Among the data points to note: Top MSPs within the Continuum partner ecosystem are growing more than 40 percent per year, according to CEO Michael George.

Overall, customers seem to be craving and embracing more remote IT support services. But as lawsuits fly in some markets, MSPs may need to reinforce their market credibility.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.