Office Depot Allegedly Diagnosing Computers With Nonexistent Viruses To Meet Sales Goals

Retailers upselling customers on services they don’t need is nothing new, but a new report claims that some Office Depot employees are falsely claiming computers are infected with viruses in order to meet sales goals.

According to KIRO-TV in Seattle, employees of the office supply retailer allege that pressure to sell protection plans and other services has led store staffers to misdiagnose computers with viruses.

“The PC Health Check doesn’t compute,” the employee says. “If they actually did what they said and cared about customers they wouldn’t have started this program. Customers are unaware they are being taken advantage of.”

To investigate the claims, the station took six computers to various Office Depot stores in Washington and Oregon for PC Health Checks.

There technicians determined that four out of the six computers showed symptoms of malware. To fix the issues, the employees attempted to sell services costing up to $200.

The only problem? The computers were out of the box new. A second test by a unaffiliated computer security firm found no symptoms of malware and no needs for repair.

The employee tells KIRO that workers selling the services are just following corporate mandates.

“It’s not an option to run the program,” he said. “You have to run it on all machines that come in the building.”

To make matters worse, he says, the company posts sales goals and current employee sales in the break room for all to see. This, he claims, creates more aggressive associates to push harder when selling the protection plans for nonexistent programs.

Office Depot tells KIRO that it has opened its own investigation into the claims, noting that it in “no way condones any of the conduct that is alleged” and will “take appropriate action.”

Office Depot insider speaks out about unnecessary computer fixes [KIRO-TV]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.