After suspending in-store diagnostic services for five months following our undercover investigation, Office Depot is back with a new program offering virus and malware scanning for customer’s computers.
According to coupons being handed out in a Seattle-area Office Depot, the new service is called Computer Diagnostic.
In a statement, Office Depot describes the program:
“A qualified Support.com live agent remotely accesses the customer’s PC and utilizes diagnostic tools designed to identify common issues such as viruses or malware. A report is generated by the qualified agent and reviewed with the associate and customer.”
Computer Diagnostic appears to be a much different program from the PC Tune Up Jesse investigated last November.
At that time, Office Depot techs like Shane Barnett were running the checks.
Barnett believed the old PC Tune Up would provide results saying customer’s computers had symptoms of malware when they didn’t.
“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 they are being taken advantage of,” Barnett said.
In November’s investigation, we took six brand new computers to Office Depots in Washington and Oregon to receive PC Tune Ups.
Four out of six times, we were told our computers had symptoms of malware. Computer expert Will Longman provided us with the shocking results about those devices. “We found no symptoms of malware when we operated them. Nor did we find any actual malware,” Longman said.
Longman, from the computer security firm IOActive, says the Office Depot PC Tune Ups appeared to be designed to sell expensive products to unsuspecting customers.
“So there is that potential for a consumer to be misled and want to or need to fix things that aren’t actually broken,” Longman said.
Following our investigation, Senator Maria Cantwell and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene called for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Office Depot’s business practices.
“This isn’t just about trust. It’s about following the law and potentially about people breaking the law and misusing that trust,” DelBene said.