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FTC Sends Checks to Those Allegedly Duped by Office Depot

Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission Sends Checks to Those Allegedly Duped by Office Depot

If you purchased computer repair products and services from retail chain Office Depot, you might be getting a check in the mail.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending refund checks totaling more than $34 million to consumers who allegedly were tricked by Office Depot, Inc. and a software provider into buying computer repair products and services.

The government agency issued an announcement last week, and this paragraph explains what it alleges in a nutshell:

“Office Depot paid $25 million while its software supplier, Support.com, Inc., paid $10 million as part of 2019 settlements with the FTC. The FTC alleged that Office Depot and Support.com configured a virus scanning program to report that it found symptoms of malware or infections – even when that was not true – whenever consumers answered yes to at least one of four “diagnostic” questions. The false scan results were then used to persuade consumers to purchase computer repair and technical services that could cost hundreds of dollars.”

The FTC explained it will send checks to over 541,000 people who paid for repairs and technical services when they took their computers to Office Depot or Office Max stores between 2009 and November 2016 for a free “PC Health Check.”

The average amount of the checks is $63.35.

Knowing that such cases can provide fraudsters with opportunities to trick businesses and consumers, the FTC warned: “The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.”

You can find the full announcement on the FTC.gov website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.