November 3, 2022
FTC fines Office Depot 25 million dollars for phony tech support

The Federal Trade Commission Fines Office Depot $25 Million for Bogus Tech Support Services

An Office Depot FTC fine of $25 million comes after the government agency settles with the retailer for spurious tech support services…

Retailer Office Depot has agreed to pay a $25 million settlement over Federal Trade Commission allegations the company mislead or lied to customers to persuade them to pay for tech support.

$25 Million FTC Office Depot Fine Levied for Phony Tech Support

Office Depot offered consumers a free virus scan, which when run, would claim computers were infected with malware, if even the malicious code didn’t actually exist on the machines.

The FTC alleges the retailer deceived customers to the tune of millions of dollars for computer repairs from 2009 through November 2016.

According to the regulatory agency, Office Depot used diagnostic software called PC Health Check, which was created an licensed by Support.com. Although the tool ostensibly ran a virus scan, results were based on customer input before the diagnostic even ran.

The questions included if the machines performed slowly, received any virus warnings, crashes, or the appearance of pop-up ads. If customers answered “Yes” to any of those questions, the software would alert to the presence of “malware symptoms.” 

Customers were then asked to pay up to $300 to fix the phony problem.

In addition to the fine owed by Office Depot, Support.com also agreed to pay a $10 million settlement.

William Boleys

Will is an experienced freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics, including apps, social media, and search.

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