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Office Depot and Support.com have coughed up $35m after they were accused of lying to people that their PCs were infected with malware in order to charge them cleanup fees.
On Wednesday, the pair of businesses settled a lawsuit brought against them by the US Federal Trade Commission, which alleged staff at the tech duo falsely claimed software nasties were lingering on customers' computers to make a fast buck.
Lawsuit - Florida - Companies - Office - Depot
The lawsuit, filed in southern Florida, claimed the two companies, including Office Depot subsidiary OfficeMax, from 2009 until November 2016 misrepresented the state of consumers' computers by using a sales tool designed to convince people to pay for diagnostic and repair services.
"In numerous instances throughout this time period, Defendants used the PC Health Check Program to report to Office Depot Companies customers that the scan had found or identified 'Malware Symptoms' when it had not done so," the complaint stated. "Additionally, in numerous instances, the PC Health Check Program falsely reported to consumers that the program had found 'infections' on the consumer’s computer. "
Watchdog - Complaint - PC - Health - Check
According to the watchdog's complaint, the PC Health Check Program was incapable of finding malware. Support.com allegedly programmed the software so that whenever an Office Depot Company employee checked any one of four checkboxes describing a generic concern, like slowness, before the scan started, the scan would automatically report the detection of malware symptoms, and for a time, infections.
But the results, it's alleged, were predetermined. "Despite the statements in the...
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