For a week, I’ve been reporting about claims that Office Depot is pressuring employees to sell expensive computer repairs customers may not need. Now I have obtained a corporate training video that shows just how much pressure the company puts on its employees to sell those repairs.
The video appears to show employees how to push the company’s free PC Health Check, anytime, anywhere.
“The pressure is just insane,” said Office Depot Manager Tommy Hopkins.
Hopkins said the video is just a small part of the pressure on techs to reach sales goals.
In a breakroom, there’s a note posted by a manager that says,
As an office Depot associate one of your obligations is to hit the minimum Service, PPP personal goal.
Hit your goal early in the week and you met your obligation. We will have a conversation towards the end of the week if you are not close to your goal. I expect every associate to meet and exceed their weekly commission goal.
“In fact, if you don’t run enough PC Health Checks or PC Tune Ups in a given week, you are on another phone call with the district manager yelling and screaming, why didn’t you do more of these?” explained Hopkins. “So it got to the point where ok we are getting close to our number but we’re not there so we would run the check up on the computers we had on the shelf.
In our investigation we took six, brand-new computers to Office Depot stores in Washington and Oregon.
Two techs said our computers needed just anti-virus software. In the other four cases, we were told our computers had symptoms of malware. Then techs tried to sell us expensive fixes. However, our experts say there was no malware or symptoms of malware on any of our computers.
Hopkins told me this video is about all the training they get to be a tech.
“They don’t train us to diagnose issues with computers,” he said. “We get more training on how to key the work order in than how to tell what’s wrong with the computer.”
Hopkins says selling services to the elderly is most difficult.
“You click the box and now this lady lost 180 bucks of her grocery money for the next month because she trusts us and we just convinced her that there’s a virus on her computer when there’s not. And that’s the worst part,” said Hopkins.
Office Depot declined an on camera interview. In a statement it said it does not condone the conduct alleged in our reports. It has suspended all PC Health Checks until they’ve investigated the assertions made in our report. Still, employees are coming forward willing to talk about the immense pressure to sell these troubled services.
Getty Images/Joe Raedle