FTC Sending Refund Checks To Office Depot Customers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in the process of sending out refund checks to consumers who were allegedly misled by Office Depot, Inc. and its software provider Support.com, Inc., into buying computer repair products and services.

Out of $34 million, being the total amount of checks , Office Depot paid $25 million and Support.com paid $10 million as part of 2019 settlement reached with the FTC. The refund averaging about $63.35 per consumer are being mailed to 541,247 consumers.

The FTC said the recipients of the refund checks should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check. The FTC also warned that it never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.

The FTC had reached a $35 million settlement with Office Depot and Support.com in March last year. The FTC alleged that both companies violated the FTC Act's prohibition against deceptive practices.

The two companies allegedly tricked customers into buying millions of dollars' worth of computer repair and technical services by deceptively claiming their software had found malware symptoms on the customers' computers.

During a free PC Health Check program conducted by Home depot, it hoodwinked consumers to believe that a scan found malware symptoms or infections. There have been concerns and complaints about the PC Health Check program since at least 2012, which the companies were aware of.

The companies configured a virus scanning program to report that it found symptoms of malware or infections, even when that was not true, to persuade consumers to purchase computer repair and technical services.

According to the FTC complaint, Office Depot continued until late 2016 to advertise and use the PC Health Check program and pushed its store managers and employees to generate sales from the program.

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