Office Depot technicians allegedly tried to persuade customers to pay for expensive repairs to brand new computers, an investigation by KIRO-TV in Seattle has found.
Are Office Depot workers selling unnecessary computer repairs?
After purchasing six new computers, investigative reporter Jesse Jones and his team brought them to various Office Depot locations to have technicians run free PC health checks. In four out of the six cases, employees said they found “symptoms of malware.” The technicians recommended fixes that would cost up to $200.
Whistleblower: Techs pressured to sell, sell, sell
Shane Barnett, a former Office Depot tech who contacted KIRO-TV about the issue, said the workers seen on undercover video are just following orders from management. He said the company pushes its techs to meet sales goals and quotas, even posting them in the break room.
“If they actually did what they said they did and actually cared about their customers, they would have never started this program because this is completely taking advantage of people that are unaware that they’re being taken advantage of,” Barnett said.
KIRO-TV took the same computers inspected by Office Depot to IOActive, a Seattle-based computer security company, but no problems were found.
“We found no symptoms of malware on these computers when we operated them,” said computer expert Will Longman.
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The whistleblower said his hours at Office Depot have been cut since he first raised concerns about the PC health checks two years ago. That’s why he contacted KIRO-TV.
“I’ve spoken to anybody I could think of and nothing was being done about it. And so, I had to call. I wanted to get the message out to as many people as possible,” Barnett said.
Following KIRO-TV’s first report, additional Office Depot managers and employees have come forward to back up Barnett’s claims.
Office Depot to investigate its own practices
Office Depot wouldn’t do an interview, but the company released this statement to KIRO-TV, ‘Office Depot in no way condones any of the conduct that is alleged in this report. We intend to fully review the assertions and take appropriate action.’