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Office Depot has everything you need to supply your office, and that was the problem.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that Office Depot and a software supplier will pay $35 million to settle claims they tricked customers into buying unneeded tech support. They offered personal computer scans that gave fake results, the FTC said.
For customers, the bad news is the companies ran the scam for years. For Office Depot, getting away with it was not so easy after all.
The good news is customers will get refunds. Under a settlement agreement, the FTC said it will use the money to pay back the victims.
"Consumers have a hard enough time protecting their computers from malware, viruses, and other threats," said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. "This case should send a strong message to companies that they will face stiff consequences if they use deception to trick consumers into buying costly services they may not need."
The Office Depot companies marketed the program to improve performance and scan for viruses. In fact, authorities said, the scan was rigged to induce customers to buy $300 in tech support services.
Support.com, which created the software application "PC Health Check," will pay $10 million for its part in the scam.
In November 2016, a Seattle news station aired an expose about the scam. It reported that Office Depot and its sister store OfficeMax claimed to find viruses on brand-new computers.
After complaints at four of six stores in the area, company officials said they were suspending use of the "PC Health Check" software.
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