Community Manager
Staff member
Office Depot is under fire for services that a former employee believes take advantage of unsuspecting customers.

The retailer says it helps about 6,000 customers per week with its free PC health checks, and that it does not condone any of the alleged conduct we uncovered. But CBS affiliate KIRO-TV’s undercover cameras showed how employees used the service to sell customers expensive computer repairs that weren’t there, reports KIRO’s Jesse Jones.

Office Depot’s technicians repeatedly told us our computers were infected.

“It’s got malware symptoms in there,” one said.

They said they could fix them -- for a hefty fee.

“It actually looks like it’s $180 right now,” the technician estimated.

The only problem? All the PC’s were brand new and fresh out of the box. The computer security firm IOActive also gave them a clean bill of health.

“We found no symptoms of malware on these computers when we operated them,” said Will Longman, IOActive VP of Information Technology and Security.

We even purchased one of the new computers at Office Depot. But when we brought it to technicians at a different store, a technician said, “Malware symptoms were found in the machine.”

Office Depot employee Shane Barnett said his bosses ignored his repeated warnings and were more concerned about sales and quotas.

“I hate the program. I hate it,” Barnett said.

“I refused to do it. They’re like, ‘You have to hit these numbers.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not going to make things up so you can hit your numbers. I’m not going to do it,’” he added.

We brought six computers for checkups at Office Depots in Washington and Oregon. At two stores, employees said the computers only needed anti-virus software. One even told us to ignore the test results.

“It’s going to recommend the PC tune-up. But you really don’t need to, because this is a brand new computer,” an employee said.

But at other stores, technicians said they detected serious issues.

“It did find potential malware-related symptoms,” one worker said.

“Usually, it’s something as benign as a toolbar hiding away in say, Internet Explorer. Because it’s, it was installed with an update of some sort. All the way up to full-blown viruses trying to steal your credit card information, so that they can ruin your credit,” one technician said.

According to IOActive, any time a customer complains about pop-ups, slow speeds, virus warnings or frequent crashes, Office Depot’s computer scans will automatically come up with problems to explain it.

“If they actually did what they say 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.

Barnett told us his hours at Office Depot have been cut since he began speaking up more than two years ago. The company declined an on camera interview, but a spokesperson said: “We intend to fully review the assertions and take appropriate action.”


Level 17
Content Creator
I should just go to my local Office Depot, stand next to those losers all day as other innocent people walk in with questions and give them the correct information they need. If the employees at Office Depot would have a problem with that then i would like to see them try to get me out the door. :mad:


Staff member
Malware Hunter
This is not only terrible and immoral but also illegal!
We need more controls! Best would be a public organization that checks the same way other chains, garages, pc repair shops etc....wherever customer need help and don't have enough experience they might get screwed....:(:mad:


Community Manager
Staff member
Well the first thing that jumped out at me was the title of the article "Office Depot diagnosing computer problems" o_O
"Hey while your diagnosing my computer I am going to go get some pens,paper,staples,folders and a computer chair"
I think I would take my computer to an elementary school for diagnosis of a problem before Office Depot :D
Then of course there are the real issues of legality and immorality.Both of which are the real point here.
Personally until today I never new Office Depot diagnosed and fixed computers.
Looks like I am a Staples man forever.


Level 11
Wow, that takes the cake really. What are they thinking? Are they thinking at all? A deceptive scam program that is so bound to easily have its cover blown? From an international company that actually has a everything to lose from doing stuff like this? :eek:


Level 85
They [Office Depot] need to taste their own medicine out there.

Freaking serious, it's an insult for those who are working in the same position within integrity.


Level 11
I have always felt uncomfortable just dropping my PC off at an office supply store- I have some being serviced at the customer service desk (not office depot) - (lack of physical security among other things). There are just too many risks.