I've never used it either but have often wondered, like you, if anyone had.
I've usually managed to fix mine by the old principle of trial and error. My most recent success was with a HDD which was making very strange noises, showing loads of bad clusters, refusing to boot and seemed destined for the scrap dump. I actually went out and bought a new one, it was that bad. I cured it by the simple expedient of mounting it the other way up!! It now behaves like a new one again! No noises, no bad clusters and no trouble booting.
Would the helpline have suggested that? I think not. It wouldn't be in their database.
The FE with his wisdom, however, might well have done!
I used the "Expert Advice Hotline" once when my old computer decided to play up. I had a total shut down and could not get my machine to reboot.The cost to me to be told what I already knew was £12+. Never again. I stripped the computer down rebuilt it and it now works. Never did find out what caused the initial problem.
I think the help line was setup when this forum was in its infancy, most views would be why pay for a help line service when you can post on here 24/7 and in most instances have a solution within the hour!. perhaps PCA could close it down and use the money saved to re-open the games room!! LOL. As some one who has been with PCA since the very first issue I have normally found that the help pages covered the most common faults/solutions and also made for some interesting reading. I am sure that PCA did not realise just how big and succesful this forum would become in those days.