Staples saw our recent post, “Staples Tries To Charge Senior Citizen $390 For Basic Computer Repair,” and Bob MacDonald, Staples VP of Technology Services, sent in the following rebuttal:
On behalf of Staples, and our entire team of EasyTechs, I wanted to respond to the recent post regarding an allegation that we attempted to charge a senior citizen for unnecessary computer repairs. We have spoken to those involved in this episode, including the store manager and the technician. (We were unable to contact the author of the post due to missing contact information, and our calls to the customer have not been returned.) The facts are these:
The customer brought his computer to our store on January 28 stating that his computer was running slow and generating excessive “pop ups.”
We conducted a system analysis (which is the first step of our PC Tune Up process). The system analysis indicated the presence of a Trojan Horse (storm.gen). Since the PC had only 256mb of RAM, we also recommended a RAM upgrade to boost performance.
At that point, we recommended a virus removal, RAM upgrade, and detailed diagnostic to determine if there were any other hardware problems. Total cost with installation: $243.00. The customer declined, insisting that we complete the free PC tune up, even though he was told that a tune-up would not fix the problems with his machine.
A month later, on February 29, the customer brought his computer back to the store and spoke to our tech, stating that his computer was still slow and that now his email and internet were not working. We pulled up our records from his previous visit, explained to him that the degrading performance was probably due to the viruses that were still on the machine, and repeated our earlier recommendation.
It was at this point that the author of the post intervened and began a separate conversation with the customer. They soon left the store and we didn’t hear from the customer again.
While there are many errors and distortions in the original post and the subsequent discussion threads, the most important facts are these:
The customer was never charged and paid no money to Staples. We correctly diagnosed his problems but the customer did not want to pay to have the problems fixed. The cost to fix the problems would have been $243 – quite a bit less than the $390 that was claimed. (We offer a very good value in computer repair, with most of our prices at or below our competition.) Staples system analyzer tool uncovered at least two potential problems with the computer, and we stand by our recommendations for additional RAM and virus removal. (Removing a virus can be a lengthy and difficult process, and off-the-shelf virus programs are generally useless when the machine is already infected.)
Contrary to assertions in the blog, a bank of RAM can easily become unseated in the course of transporting a computer. We believe that is what happened here. In any case, there is absolutely no evidence supporting the most spectacular charge in the post – that the computer was opened and the RAM intentionally removed in order to provide a cover for bogus charges.
Our team of more than 1,400 technicians do their best each and every day to satisfy our customers. While we are not perfect, we have a pretty good track record in taking care of our customers, and when mistakes are made, we usually go the extra mile to correct them. That is part of the Staples culture and the easy brand promise, and the inaccuracies, distortions, and unfounded speculation contained in the post will do nothing to change that.
VP of Technology Services
PS – Please let me know the best way to get this posted in a prominent location on your site.
When I look at this story, I think of two aphorisms. The simplest answer is usually the best answer, and never ascribe to malice what can be explained by simple ignorance. So we can either assume that the Staples tech had a nefarious plan to bilk the elderly, one which would only materially benefit himself in a small way, or we can say that either or both the tech and the old man and Michael made a series of mistakes and misunderstandings. Still, the RAM unseating is very strange. They are basically locked into place and it takes a human hand to press the button and unseat them. In any event, whichever explanation you choose, we recommend making friends with a local tech and using his services instead of taking your broken computer to a retail tech support service.