Office Depot is generally a well-regarded company and not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about a tech support scam. But now the company is forking over $25 million dollars to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission that the company took part in a tech support scam with a company called Support.com. That company is paying $10 million to settle claims against them.
According to the FTC, when consumers brought their computers into Office Depot to have them looked at, the stores ran something called a PC health check. They offered a free PC health checkup to customers. The consumers were asked some basic questions like, “have you ever had an issue with pop-ups?”, “has your PC gotten slower”, “has your PC crashed,” or “have you been warned about a virus and asked to pay for removal.”
If consumers said yes to any of the issues, they were automatically diagnosed with malware without really testing to see if any was present.
It was then suggested that the customers buy support services offered by Support.com to fix the issues. Those services could cost hundreds of dollars. According to the FTC, there had been complaints about this for years.
Actually, I’m not too surprised to hear this one. Over the years, I’ve spoken to more than one person who’s had some pretty sketchy advice from Office Depot.
That’s why it does pay to try to become informed about tech on your own. It can sometimes tip you off that the so-called experts might not be telling you the whole story.
In addition to paying the fine, Office Depot has promised not to engage in these types of practices again.
I’m curious. How many of you took your PC into Office Depot for a checkup? What were the results?