Office Depot and a California-based tech support software provider, Support.com will pay $25 Million & $10 Million respectively to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for pushing innocent users into buying the products they didn’t need.
According to a recent FTC press release, the agency will use the entire settlement amount to issue refunds to the customers impacted by the treacherous Tech Support Scam cascaded by Office Depot & Support.com.
The devious practices of Office Depot were exposed by Jesse Jones’ undercover investigation, a renowned news personality from Kiro 7 News Channel.
Joe Simons, the Chairman of FTC said that protecting the computers from malware, virus & other cyber threats is an arduous task for the customers. Further, he added that a case like this should send a strong message to the companies that swindling the users into buying expensive services they do not need can lead to severe consequences.
Office Deport & Support.com altogether generated a colossal amount of millions of US dollars by allegedly tricking their users. They swindled users to pay huge amounts for computer repair & technical services by triggering fake malware scans.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in its complaint asserts that Support.com in cooperation with Office Deport sold its extortionate technical support services for around 10 years. They used PC Health Check, a software program to persuade the clients to purchase tech repair services from Office Depot & OfficeMaz Inc, which merged in the year 2013.
Some reports revealed that Office Depot employees were asked to use PC Health Check software to show malware infection on the user’s PC. Following this deceptive malware detection, the employees would offer the repair the “affected” computers through tech repair services that would incur some extra charges. The purchase of software & tech repair services generated millions of dollars in revenue for Support.com.
The FTC affirms that Office Depot & Support.com were aware of the concerns & reports of this so-called malware detection software since 2012. One of the OfficeMax Employees in his complaint to the corporate management said that he cannot trick innocent users into lying to make a few extra dollars for the store.
Despite such complaints & other internal warnings, Office Depot continued to advertise & sell PC health Check & pushed employees to generate revenue from the program.
FTC’s thorough investigation exposed Office Depot’s devious tricks of swindling users & minting millions of dollars for computer help, repairs & technical support by deceitfully claiming that their software has detected malware symptoms on their computers.
It is no surprise why Senator Maria Cantwell’s office sent a letter to FTC’s Chairwoman on Nov 18th 2016, asking the agency to investigate Office Depot’s alleged practices.
Since PC Tech Support Scams are emerging as a global issue, the US government & State Attorney Generals have been working tediously to crack down alleged PC support Frauds.
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