The Federal Trade Commission says Office Depot and Support.com used bogus malware scans to dupe customers into buying expensive fixes that were not needed.
This story is three years in the making and the resulting F-T-C settlement — stemming from Jesse’s reporting — is one of the largest of its kind.
Office Depot Statement
Thank you for reaching out to us and for providing us an opportunity to comment. Office Depot’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resolves an investigation relating to a computer diagnostic service that was offered to Office Depot and OfficeMax customers prior to December 2016. The proposed consent order, which has been filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, provides for a judgment in favor of the FTC in the amount of $25 million to provide equitable relief for affected customers. While Office Depot does not admit to any wrongdoing regarding the FTC’s allegations, the company believes that the settlement is in its best interest in order to avoid protracted litigation.
SUPPORT.COM, INC. (NASDAQ: SPRT) announced that the District Court for the Southern District of Florida has approved a settlement the Company proposed with the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) and publicly disclosed in November 2018. This settlement brings to close the FTC’s investigation of the PC Healthcheck software. PC Healthcheck was a software program that Support.com developed many years ago for a corporate customer for use with their own customers. This software has not been used by this customer since 2016.
“We disputed the allegations made against us and did not admit to any wrongdoing in settling this matter. PC Healthcheck asked questions about real symptoms these customers were experiencing that helped diagnose real problems with their computers. We then provided valuable diagnostic and repair services to hundreds of thousands of customers of this corporate customer. We care about our customers – both our corporate customers and individual consumers – and for twenty years have provided high quality tech support solutions to both. That said, we believe that putting this issue behind us is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders including our employees and shareholders,” said Rick Bloom, President, and Chief Executive Officer at Support.com.
In accordance with the terms of the settlement, on April 1st, 2019, the Company remitted the sum of $10 million to the U.S. Treasury.