SEATTLE — Sen. Maria Cantwell is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate allegations that Office Depot is making people buy unneeded computer repair packages and software.
The Washington Democrat sent a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on Friday, saying the office supply store offers free computer scans to customers to check for viruses and malware. Citing a report by KIRO-TV, Cantwell said Office Depot often tried to convince people to buy expensive repair services by telling them their computers had viruses or malware, even if the computers were new and unused.
In a statement Cantwell said people rely on their computers for school, work and other matters and “Office Depot’s exploitative behavior is particularly disturbing.”
Office Depot said in a statement that it “in no way condones” the behavior described in the media reports. It says it’s reviewing the allegations “and will take appropriate action.” The company said it was suspending its personal computer tune-up services while the review was ongoing.