When I set my various news programs to send me alerts relating to Office Depot, I had no idea just how deep the rabbit hole would go. Originally I want to keep tabs on the ongoing investigations into their alleged misconduct over government sales (which I also just learned extends to the GSA, the Defense Department and other high-level federal contracts), but I keep finding more and more horror stories from employees about the way the company does business. By way of LaptopMag’s blog:
“I have had various managers (including my store manager) insinuate, if not flat-out tell me, not to sell items to customers if they aren’t going to get any attachments … The managers would much rather us sell 3 laptops, a PPP, TDS, and case than a hundred laptops with nothing.”
The PPP mentioned there is the Product Protection Plan, an add-on warranty offered by Office Depot, and TDS is “Tech Depot Service”, an Office Depot-supplied tech support program. Since the likelihood of these services being actually “cashed in” is low, they’re a popular way for big-box retailers to pad their profit margins.
Selling a product that may not have a lot of value isn’t a crime, though; people have the right to buy or not buy whatever they want. However, misleading or misinforming people about what you’re offering them is not only bad business, the FTC has stated it violates federal law. Once again, it comes back to doing business with a company you trust. When you can plug your local company’s name into Google and come up with dozens of results featuring “fraud”, “lying”, “theft” and “criminal investigation”, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
Meanwhile, check out LaptopMag’s series of articles. The first one they did about Office Depot Employees lying about notebook stock sparked an internal Office Depot memo and caused many employees to come forward to be quoted in the current article, which alleges changing price tags with photoshopped duplicates, “folding in” the price of warranties and other add-ons into clearance items, and more. It’s amazing that all this is going on in the face of their other criminal investigation. Kind of makes you glad you can shop online, eh?