Office Depot Employees Blowing The Whistle On Scams
Shady dealings in electronics are nothing new- we all know the shops to avoid, right? What if one of those shady retailers was a big-box store? What if it was Office Depot?
According to several whistleblowers, Office Depot has engaged in shady sales practices to a degree described as "systemic", beyond the actions of a few rogue salespeople. The most widely-described practice is that of bundling in high-margin warranty packages into a clearance-priced item, and not telling the customer that it's included.
... and don't get me started on the actual value of non-manufacturer warranties.
In addition to the myriad e-mail tips and blog comments from different sources claiming to be Office Depot employees, we’ve now interviewed five people (four current and one former employee) from five different states and have been able to verify the employment for four out of those five (the fifth gave us his name and region but said he was too concerned about losing his job to provide a paystub or let us contact him at work). This leads us to believe that the practice of deceiving customers has been common, widespread, and not just limited to one rogue store or region.
(Update: After speaking with a senior official from the Federal Trade Commission, we can also confirm that Office Depot is violating federal law.)
The latest allegations, sourced to several current and former Office Depot employees, claim the company has widely told its workers to do things such as adding optional service plans onto clearance items without telling customers. One source says associates would accomplish this by altering pricetags in Photoshop to make the base price look a hundred dollars higher, thereby giving the store the credit for selling the add-on without the customer even knowing.
Sooner or later, companies that do this sort of thing are going to get caught -- and when that happens (beyond the fines), the damage to a company's reputation can be massive and debilitating. It just seems like the cost of being outed is so high, it's ridiculous that any company would encourage such behavior.
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Ohio River Valley, Louisville, United States