Office Depot Employees Blowing The Whistle On Outright Scams

from the reputation-is-a-scarce-good dept

For many years, there have been stories of various shady online electronics (especially camera) retailers (many of whom are based in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn). The main scam is to offer super cheap prices on cameras to get you "in the door" (either online or in person), and then focus on trying to sell you all sorts of massively over-priced add-ons and warranties. If you turn them down, they suddenly "discover" that the original product you ordered is out-of-stock. At times, over the years, various authorities have cracked down on such resellers, though they often pop right back up under a different name.

Still, folks who know the business were well aware of such shady companies and often knew to avoid them... but it's a bit different to find out that some large brand name retailers appear to be doing the same. Laptop Magazine is reporting on a series of whistle-blowing employees at Office Depot, detailing how they pulled off similar scams. The typical "oh, that's out of stock" trick is apparently quite common, but it even gets more advanced, with some employees creating photoshopped price signs, in order to "hide" the price of an expensive warranty add-on in the "list price" for a computer. These practices are quite illegal, and it looks like the report might trigger some FTC interest, especially given the multiple reports, suggesting that this isn't just a few rogue employees.

It does make you wonder what Office Depot was thinking. The obvious answer is: "anything for a sale," but that doesn't tell the whole story. 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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  1.  
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    porster, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 12:06am

    Sounds like

    Sounds like the airlines; advertise a price then add extra for taxes, baggage, fuel surcharges, administration fees, credit card fees, food, entertainment, then sorry this flight is overbooked (or canceled)

    And they've been getting away with it for years.....

     

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    Crazy Eddie, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 12:58am

    His Prices are INSANE!

    Seems Mike may be pulling on a bad past experience in Brooklyn.

    Just so you know, "B&H Photo Video" is in Manhattan, not Brooklyn. (enter NY Bronx Accent): Got a problem with that? You think your a smarty? Well, think aboutit, wouldja. Oh yeah, that's also where the professionals shop.

    B&H Photo Video. Tell 'em Mikey Sent 'cha

     

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    R. Miles, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:28am

    >:( >:( >:(

    This news makes me wonder just how long the practice has been going on with OD.
    It sounds so... damn... familiar!

    I hope fraud is found.

    I also hope class action lawsuits are filed.

    If guilty, I hope OD's business forces them to close their doors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 4:54am

    What the hell is "Lovesong for an Indian National?" Can someone remove that crap, please?

     

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    Matt, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:10am

    I've told people for probably 8+ years to never buy from office depot for expensive products of any sort. Really, there is not a single retailer who is worth purchasing from. With online purchasing, you cut out those bogus retailers who only increase the cost and lower the quality.

    Ever notice how worst buy™ only carries a select brand of Linksys router that is about 8 years old, otherwise you have to pay like $150? Or how about a 4 port USB hub for $40 that you can buy online for $5.

    Of course, even the online sites are only sometimes better. Bensbargains.net has deals sometimes but they sell out and people leave comments showing that some of the deals aren't deals.

     

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    Martin, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    Best Buy is the Worst

    I am a former Best Buy employee and have first hand experience with a District Manager coaching sales associates to do similar things in appliances and computers. I practically refuse to shop at Best Buy to this day unless I have to for whatever reason. They are a dirty company internally and I can attest to that first-hand. I hope the feds don't stop with Office Depot but look into other retailers as well.

     

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    chosenson, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:25am

    Re: Lovesong for an Indian National

     

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    Ima Fish, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:28am

    I went with a friend to buy a laptop which was on sale at Best Buy. Best Buy had it in stock, but simply refused to sell it unless my friend also bought a security suite costing well over a 100 bucks. That was not in the advertisement, of course.

    Both of us being lawyers we should have sued their asses. But we're lazy lawyers and went to lunch instead. Has anyone here at the chili at Famous Dave's? It's fricken awesome!

     

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    NullOp, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:31am

    Prison

    I would like to think that if slam a few cell doors closed on some CEO types it would help to curb some greed. But I think not.

    Remember folks, vote with your dollars!

     

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    JohnForDummies (profile), Mar 19th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    Never mind the scam of selling the useless protection plans... even the charges for installing software is a ripoff. (This goes for OD, BB, the defunct CC, Staples, etc) They also charge people for "setting" up their computers... Such as accepting the EULA, entering in a user name, setting a password, turn on or off the Vista sidebar... The average cost per action? $29. PER ACTION. And you know what? People keep lining up to pay it. Sigh.

    @Matt, I wish I could find an 8 year old Linksys router! The new ones (the round ugly ones) in all the stores around here are not compatible with DD-WRT.

     

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    IT Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    BB or OD

    I love how the article starts off with OD, but by the end everyone is slamming BB. Just find it funny. I hate BB, they have closed all the Mom and Pop's around me and when I have to find a Case Fan or a Power supply, I can't have it the same day, I have to order it online. Best Buy SUCKS!!!!!!

     

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    Bathroom Break, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:30am

    FD or W

    I think the real crime is the bait and switch going on w/the chili at Famous Daves. I mean, I went in there with a friend and ordered the chili based on the rec of someone on this forum. They refused to sell me the 2.99 cup of chili unless I also bought the .50 sour cream topping. I stood up, dumped the chili on the waitress' head, punched her in the stomach, pulled down my pants and spray farted on her head. Then I shoved a handful of sour cream into my mouth, bid her good day, and walked out.

    I'm going to Wendy's for my rat meat chili from now on. At least theirs tastes like tomato and despair, just how I like it....

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    I sort of run into a problem with this article, because it fails to address the real issues at play for each party in the game.

    Office Depot as a company almost certainly does not specifically approve of these sorts of tied sales. It seems clear from the article that a certain number of "rogue employees" are playing games (including the one(s) making fake signs or changing PoS material to hide material facts).

    Where the real issue lies is in the same place that got so many of the big banks and investment houses in trouble: Commissions. Misguided commission programs lead employees to do stupid things to meet the requirements of the commission. If the commission on the laptop is zero, but the commission on the extras is 25%, it will push employees to force the extra sales or not be interested in selling. It gets worse if there is a scarcity (example not enough laptops to meet demand). They can "afford" to be selective in who they sell to, because they need to sell those extras to make commission.

    The same effect may also apply to managers or regional managers. If you commission them only on "not on sale equipmnent", then they will likely attempt to tie-sell standard price items with on sale items.

    I suspect that Office Depot doesn't have a corporate policy to attempt to rip off customers, but their internal policies on compensation might be doing it for them anyway.

     

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    WolfWitch, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re: Best Buy is the Worst

    Best Buy just likes marking up the "retail" prices of products shown on their price signs, and then claiming a huge discount.

    I was shopping A/V receivers there the other day, for example. They had one with the "regular price" of $900, but on-sale for "only" $650. $250 off! The only problem is, the MSRP for it is $700 and no retailer charges that. The $650 is the same price almost everyone else is charging for the same item. They just want you to FEEL like you got a good deal.

    The cheapest HDMI cable they have is still $40 too. What a rip-off. Of course- they tried to sell me on $100+ Monster cables. Bah!

     

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    Bradley Stewart, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    THEY NEVER LEARNED THEIR NURSERY RHYMES

    Decades ago I managed a store specializing custom manufactured neck ties. One day a fellow walked in and opened a tie box. He said look at this tie. My wife, my kids, and all my friends hate it. It was really a beautifull tie. I told him this. I then said your wife, your kids, and all your friends are wrong. He smiled and said thanks. I really like the tie too. He packed up the tie and left. Sure I could have agreed with all his detractors and sold him a different tie. The fact is I told him the truth and he felt good. By the way he became a repeat customer. Many of these people who run these large companys when they were kids never payed attention to their mothers. The Gooose That Layed the Golden Egg.

     

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    OD employee, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    you seem to think it is so simple...

    1st the scams, yes I have had them happen to me, people sending customers to my store to save their numbers, but can you blame the associate? A tech associate is hired and fired based in part by the attachment rate the person can get.

    This can be good for the customer if kept in check. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen someone go to buy a printer and consistantly push me off from helping them with the sale, only to find them coming back to the store 30 min later to buy a cable and ink, then for the next 6 months bitching to me about how much ink their photo printer uses in their office. Office printers are not the same as photo printers....
    So while it can be good for some customers, obviously some people only want the advertised item. Well when an associate is faced with finding another job, or preventing you from buying a laptop, what would you do? Yes the job sucks but it does pay the bills. Instead of blaming the associate, how about blaming the upper management that puts pressure on the district and store managers to get those attachment rates?
    Furthermore, you seem to think that box retailers make all sorts of money on these things. I can verify not. In my district we have the highest average margin on laptops. Care to guess what it is? 5%, 10%,15%? NO, we (on average) make -1% on every laptop we sell. So, if you really dont like the convienice of going to a brick and mortar retailer and want to purchase all your electronics from reviews from annonamous people over the interent instead of from people who literally test these machines constantly. Go right ahead. Mom and Pop are dead, but brick and mortar are getting weak too.
    Now for those 'pesky' warranties. Sometimes they are simply not a good deal, and if I could spare asking for them on those circumstances believe me I would. It makes me feel like a fool to ask a customer to spend 1/2 the ticket price to buy a warranty. BUT unlike Best Buy, and Office Max, many OD warranties are cash back warranties. It breaks you get your money back. How much do you pay in health insurance? What is your return? Now, you buy a printer, costs $100 I can pretty much gurantee you that the rollers, or the ADF if it has one will start jamming in year 2, guess what? for $10 (10% up front) I could sell you a plan to get your original $100 back to buy anything in the store. Just relate that back to your health insurance.
    It is absolutely absurd to think that all OD associates are crooks, and would you like to know the funny part? I'm classified as a 'cashier' not a tech sales. So next time someone is checking you out at the register, and you think I'm some kind of ignorant fool that doesnt know my ass from a printer, just think with 2 questions I know how quickly your printer will fail, and how much your going to pay through the nose on ink. :)
    This has been long, and thank you for reading it. Hopefully this has let you see more into the eyes of retailers because it is quite obvious many of you have never done it. It is art, and it is hell. But it pays the bills.

     

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    hegemon13, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Probably not a corporate-level issue

    What was Office Depot thinking? They probably weren't thinking about it at all. A corporation that big is extremely unlikely to pull something so stupid because they know they'll get caught eventually.

    More likely is that the management staff of individual stores had heard of the practices and thought they sounded like a good way to boost their store's numbers. Since the employees are not on commission, I think that management is about the only level likely to try this. OD corporate is definitely liable, but I doubt they endorsed this. In the end, I would guess they'll make a lawyer rich in a class-action suit, fire some management, and keep a sharper eye on store practices.

     

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    Lucretious, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Go to Pricewatch.com and check out the huge abuse of that particular system. Getting a placement at the top of the list for, say, video cards and that particular store will get a massive amount of hits (most people are looking to actively buy when they use Pricewatch). One scam is to advertise a certain high-end card but when you click on the link to go to the site's page the card will end up being a lower end model or it'll simply direct you to their homepage. There's so many scams that there isn't enough room here to list them all.

    what used to be a great site has turned into a pit of the worst scumbags.

     

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  19.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    Actually, there is nothing wrong with commissions. There is no better way to motivate employees to help the company be profitable. It is also a system that automatically rewards the best performers with higher pay.

    That said, a company that uses commissions must have safeguards and audits in place to ensure that employees are not cheating the system. And when (not if) they find dishonest employees, they need to fire them and press charges where applicable as a deterrent to others. Hourly employees do dishonest things, too, though often of a different nature. It is not the commissions that are the problem, but dishonest people. You can't make them disappear, but a company has an obligation to ensure they aren't hurting the company or their customers and remove them from employment if they do.

     

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    Davis Freeberg, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:21am

    Bank Fee Scam

    Office Depot is so shady. Not only do they push high price warranties, but they also cheat their customers in other ways. I was in there a few weeks back and used my bank card to pay. The guy at the registered tried to get me to put in my pin, but I told him I wanted to pay for it credit so that I didn't pay my bank a fee. After protesting, he finally let me stick the payment processing fees to them and had me touch a blanked out part of the screen on the card machine. They literally had taken out the Credit button so that customers had to argue with a sales rep over it.

     

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    Easily Amused, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re:

    damn, Harold... have you ever met a corporation that you won't apologize for?

    Of course it isn't in the frackin' policy handbook, but that doesn't mean that it isn't encouraged. In fact, the apparent lack of preventative measures and QC on the sale is encouragement enough. EVERY business that operates on a commission basis should have checks in place to limit abuse. Even if you don't give two shits about your customers, you still care about employees milking extra paychecks.

     

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    Easily Amused, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: Bank Fee Scam

    I use my credit/debit card for almost everything, and anytime someone tries to pressure me into debit, I just tell them that this is my only card, and I don't know my PIN. they will either have to take it as credit or lose the sale. No ridiculous arguments or bullshit.

     

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    Weird Harold, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re:

    The best commission systems are set up to reward the employees for doing something that is good for the company AND good for the customer.

    Super high commissions on upsells just creates an adversarial sales atmosphere. It isn't good for the customer, it is probably not very comfortable for the salesman, and in the end, the company itself suffers.

    I have walked out on retails more than once who have tried to pile crap on the sale, knowing that they are trying to make cash in their pockets with little concern for me. I would rather pay a slight bit more down the road at the place that doesn't have big sales commissions (1/4% on everything) but pays their employees well enough that they are happy to work and get the job done.

     

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  24.  
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    Ofc Depot Employee, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Channel 2 - Ofc Depot Warranty Scam

    I'm a current employee for this store and I can tell you right now, it's coming from the managers & district managers. Channel 2 did a piece recently on this and it lit a fire on their asses, trying to act shocked about it happening. My manager and his kiss ass assistant had me turn away customers left and right and said "if they don't want the warranty, then tell them we don't have shit for them here. Send them to another store." It's bullshit. He's an arrogant fuc* and they sit for 5 minutes to talk about the customer who is now upset having to go to another store. They need to clear out these managers, it's bad for business and it's a bad environment. Very unprofessional and I feel for the customer. This is at the Orange County location - they need to send a message and finally get rid of these shady managers and get someone in there that's really going to be all about the customer. That's the real ticket on our business and they need to focus on them and having them as repeat customers....

     

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    Suzanne, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Just because one does that, doesn't mean we all do

    I am getting sick to death of yellow journalism. What uneducated pieces of garbage written off in a hurry to simulate a story. As a current employee, I have never been asked by anyone to lie regarding any product. If I had, I would have laughed in their face, district manager or no district manager. I do not doubt that there are those from corporate that encouraged this sort of behavior, but I can assure those of you who doubt that not all of us would do that sort of thing. The thing that pisses me off is that now the yellow journalists get to whip up the freaky consumer who happened to have walked in 10 minutes after the last of something was sold, and now they will just believe at face value that somehow they're victims. I am so weary of the consumer is just an innocent victim story. Give me a break.
    Let me tell everyone something, those of us who have to work with the public in retail...most of us deserve a MEDAL for the pyschological and social callings that are thrust upon us. Right now, it may be Office Depot's unfortunate spot in the bright lights of gossip rags, but let me ask one question. Who controls their supply chains by breaking arms from beginning to end???? LOL--it sure isn't Depot. Which companies would have the buying public only have one choice to shop at? Sorry, we're not big enough to pull that off. I just ask people to please look at the overall picture of the state of affairs before condemning everyone.

     

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    Suzanne, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re: Bank Fee Scam

    LMAO--its the company that makes those machines that changed their software, you twit. One still has the option of debit or credit, its a matter of asking an intelligent question of how to work the machine. I am sure that there are costs associated with debit/credit at every store, but to think there's a conspiracy on how to force someone to use one or the other is hilarious. Yes, we put that gun to your head to come into the store in the first place. LMAO.
    And by the way, on the warranties....educate yourself about a product, how it works, and who covers what. Quit showing up at the store at midnight six months later because you broke your product and you want your money back.

     

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    Suzanne, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Re: you seem to think it is so simple...

    God Bless You for your posting.....no one seems to think that I'm telling the truth on the low margins on the technology. Personally, I'd love to see ODP return to its roots and let people deal with the tech elsewhere.

     

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    Er..., Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Suzanne

    See I believe you, I really do. You SOUND like you work in retail, and this is why people shop online. You deserve a medal for working in retail...no, you don't. You deserve the pay you signed up for. It's ridiculous to think that the big box retailers would try something shady to get people to pay a certain way...no, it isn't, they offer incentives to pay by certain means ALL THE TIME. And here are some resources on why you should never pay w/a debit card anyway:

    wealthyreader.com/articles/why-you-shouldnt-use-your-debit-card-for-hotel-reservations/

    domainclump.com/pressrelease/why-you-should-never-own-a-debit-card/

    And BTW, the it's not all of us argument is getting old and tired. I don't have the time or energy to wade through and determine which of you people are the good guys and which are the bad, so when a story comes out that SEVERAL PEOPLE IN SOME FORM OF MANAGEMENT are participating in this illegal activity, you all get written off in my book. It's why I don't bank at Chase. It's why I don't eat at Subway. And it's why I get my electronics from a couple of reputable online sources that I've had good experiences with. Fix your effing company and lay off the consumer, or the words lay off will become a much more personal directive when the company tanks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Re: Just because one does that, doesn't mean we all do

    Your frustration is directed at the wrong people here, toots. The ones you should be mad at aren't the "yellow" journalists, but the people who are actually performing this scam, and your employer for encouraging the practice by not stopping it. Your company has given you a bad name, not the journalists.

     

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  30.  
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    Benjamin Wright, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    In the age of information, the hardest thing to keep is a secret. Whether you are trafficking in child porn or corporate insider information, or you are playing tricks with your brick-and-mortar customers, you've got to live in fear that someone, somewhere will find an astonishing new way to search out your secret or snitch on you. Welcome, Office Depot, to the electronic fishbowl. --Ben

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    Bait and switch schemes

    Good story, Michael! I think you are doing a real service by exposing these.
    My problems have always been Fry's Electronics; the "10 items only" type scams; that feature merchandise that has "been sold out" even if you are first in line on the designated day!
    Over time, this (and lousy customer service) have driven me to Radio Shack or Best Buy, etc., even when I felt I would likely be better off at Fry's. It has also caused me to be quick on the trigger with returns - where another store might see me "take a bullet" on something I wish I hadn't bought, Fry's can expect to see me with a return!

     

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    savantadmin, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:23pm

    With office rental increasing, it doesn't make much sense to have a physical office. I believe the future of most businesses will be virtual and leveraging off using a virtual office space.

     

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    zdub, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Saw a great deal on a Toshiba laptop (after rebate which I received pretty promptly) from OD. Bought it with no hassles, and no high pressure to try & sell me an extended warranty (which I didn't buy; my credit card gives me a 1-year warranty extension. Plus I've heard that ODs extended warranties are lousy).

    BTW, I have a friend who worked at some of the more popular NY/NJ electronic dealers and he'd always regale me with all of the bait and switch tactics. But there were too many products being "killed", because someone would come into his store with an ad from another store and the friend would insist that there was no way he'd get the product from the other store at that price. True, but customers were rarely convinced and once they traveled to the other place planning to buy, they'd rarely walk out without something. The friend's store finally figured that they'd make more money doing volume without upselling; they are now highly rated on resellerratings.com and are making money hand over fist.

    BOTTOM LINE: An educated consumer should never have anything to fear.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re:

    damn, Harold... have you ever met a corporation that you won't apologize for?

    In the eyes of Weird Harold and his ilk, corporations can do no wrong. Whether it's the CEO or the sales clerks, it's always the fault of someone other than the corporation.

     

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    Suzanne, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Suzanne

    Its people like you that make it impossible for the rest of us. You seem to classify everyone in one category. Might make it easier for you, but it sure doesn't make it right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Bank Fee Scam

    LMAO--its the company that makes those machines that changed their software, you twit.

    As per Office Depot's requirements, you twit.

     

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  37.  
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    Sarah, Mar 20th, 2009 @ 7:47pm

    Laptop

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Sarah

    http://laptopseries.net

     

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  38.  
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    Suzanne, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Just because one does that, doesn't mean we all do

    First of all, save the "toots" title for someone who really needs it. Secondly, in the world of fake moral outrage, my perspective is a little more centered than yours. Since I can only control myself and not others, I do my job to the best of my ability and live up to my code of ethics every single day. People who are ethically challenged seem to be among us in every group. But do I think its fair that people want to throw the baby out with the bathwater? No, and no one said life was fair. I think I probably understand the big picture better than you think. I do think these stories are yellow journalism at best because they aren't balanced. Every single one that I've read does not give the full or even real name of the employee, nor are counterpoints offered by other employees. Just smear tactics as if you already have to convert the converted. Why don't we go company to company and check this out? Why don't you allow me to walk into your workplace and treat you as poorly as some of you think you can do in mine and see what you think? Yeah thats what I thought. A little balance to the unbalanced isn't very welcome.

     

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    Suzanne, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Suzanne

    I debated whether or not to even respond to your woefully ignorant excuse for an answer, mainly because you bring up paychecks. LOL-how do you know what my pay is? Who are you to even question my pay? I'm a worker bee and I damn well know it and even enjoy it. If you think the not of all us argument is old and tired, thats really your problem and the way you view the world is very sad. Most of us aren't doing anything wrong and are surprised when we find out this stuff along with everyone else. I am also a consumer who pays and buys along with everyone else. But I know someone who doesn't know how to treat people when I read it or see it in person. The internet is made for people like you, so have at it.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Suzanne

    @Suzanne

    First, I indirectly feel your pain-- the horror stories my girlfriend tells me as Management in a retail store make me think that she, instead of a medal, should get to fire one bullet a month at a customer. Of course, I played it smart and chose to deal with robots all day instead of humans.

    More to the topic, I think you're taking it too personally. No one thinks that *all* employees of *every* OD are corrupt, sneaky, preying asshats. However, because of the bad press (which another poster was right, you can't blame them-- blame the scammers) the general public can either do research on their local OD comparing prices and hunting down customer reviews, or they can just go elsewhere. Now, knowing your experience with customers, which do *you* think is more likely?

    So, the end result is, and should be, that OD will suffer from this-- that's the danger of chain stores-- what one chain does will reflect on other, geographically unreleated chains. Personally, I feel that very few people will care in the long run, but if you feel so strongly against being lumped in with the bad press, then quit.

    I'm actually quite impressed with your apparent passion for Office Depot-- especially after claiming to be a worker bee, but lashing out with angry words at people who say what you don't want to hear isn't the solution-- you should know that from the last time a customer tried to bring back something without a receipt.

    Have a wicked decent day.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re: Bank Fee Scam

    You have no idea what you're talking about, do you? That little "dissapeared" button allows you to process a credit transation. The retailers prefer you pay in credit. Why would a cashier care if you paid with debit or credit?

     

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  42.  
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    WRT, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Matching price scam

    Another scam used by many retailers with the manufacturers assistance is the "refund the difference +x%" scam. I learned of it from a Best Buy employee.

    The retailer says if you find the product advertised somewhere else for less, you'll get you can get the difference in price back.

    The scam: For many of the larger items (e.g. laptops), retailers get their own SKU available only at that retailer. It will be a model ever-so-slightly different from the model at a different retailer. So BB will have XYZ1234-74, while another retailer might have XYZ1234-75. One may have a modem, while another will not, or an extra LED, or an extra USB port.

    They are truly different models (I give them credit for that), but they are specifically created to allow this kind of valueless guarantee. It's just one of many scams involving offering something as if it has great value, while knowing the it is (nearly) valueless.

    The real problem: The corporations have brought us to a culture of greed, where lying, cheating, stealing are acceptable to get the glorius dollar. Same thing that's killing the financial system. We need to root this out, in all it's forms.

     

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  43.  
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    Retail Ranger, Mar 26th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Gamesmanship

    I've been around the block with several electronics/ office supply retailers over the past ten years. I started as a lowly product specialist with Circuit City and most recently held the Sales Manager position at Staples. There were other stops in between those stores and I can attest, these scams happen every day in most of the stores. Selling in retail is a game: customers try to haggle prices or get free add-ons and retailers try to sell warranties and over-priced cables. And, yes, there are rude/pushy salespeople; however, there are even more rude/abusive customers. Retail sales can be a shitty job. The pay is generally low, the hours are long, and the company's demands are high. This isn't an excuse, it's just the reality. Associates do what they have to do to meet their sales goals. That can include exaggerating, flirting, conning and out-right lying to customers. Associates just want to keep their jobs or maybe make slightly more money. Few make more than 12 bucks an hour. That doesn't make them bad people, it makes them sales people. Anyone in sales cuts corners and skirts laws. If you don't, you don't make money. All that being said, if you get caught doing something wrong, you deserve whatever punishment you get. I have no sympathy for customers who break stuff, lie about it, and then expect me to take it back at a loss; nor would I expect sympathy from them if I lied to their face and I got fired over it.

     

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  44.  
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    OD Tech Employee, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 8:14am

    We Do it!

    I am an employee of Office Depot. I work in the tech department. I am good friends with the manager and the assistant manager. We refuse customers product if they don't buy any service with it all the time. The funny thing is that other associates do not practice this in my store until the managers are confident that the employee will not squeal. The district manager even jokes with the managers about it. They've told the DM that I'm "one of the good ones" because I know how to work the system. By the way, this not only pertains to laptops, but all electronics. So to the employees that posted that they don't do this, well, someone at your store probably does! I know one thing, I won't get fired for not attaching services to electronics!

     

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  45.  
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    JIMZIE, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: We Do it!

    OK, tell us which store you work at so we can sic the dogs on you. What you are doing is ILeagal

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Rick, Apr 8th, 2009 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Bank Fee Scam

    Actually, it's you that have no idea of what they talking about.The credit button has been removed from many retail pay pads due to the fact that the card must be scanned by the employee so that they may verify identification or signature. Debit requires a pin code and therefore, the only choice on the pad in many retailers now is only for debit. And it has nothing to do with credit processing fees you 'conspiracy theory' imbecile...

     

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  47.  
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    OD Employee, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: We Do it!

    This guy is obviously not an OD employee. He is some guy pretending to be one to start a rumor about what OD actually does. By company policy, this is wrong and I certainly don't do it. For the employees who do do it, they should be fired.

     

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  48.  
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    OD Ex-Employee, Jul 26th, 2009 @ 12:15pm

    Re: We Do It!

    Yeah, obviously that guy is not a real OD employee. There is no "Tech Department" position. You either work completely on the sales floor, or you don't.

    The employees who do scam customers should be fired, and when they are caught, probably do.

    In actuality, the amount of employees who do scam customers is probably infinitely low. We don't make anything on commission outside of extended warranties, and tech services, and even then, it's such a low number that it almost doesn't even matter.

    Hell, I don't even think that most of my old co-workers even knew enough about their job to do any of that kind of stuff.

    Anyways, I think that the customers "scammed" us more than anything through general thievery, using fake credit cards, and returning items after one-time uses.

     

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  49.  
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    Office Depot employee, Aug 25th, 2009 @ 1:05am

    managment is responsible

    I worked for Office Depot in Eugene, Oregon for a little over a year before walking out due to the unprofessional approach taken by management. Although some of the more extreme sales tactics were not used in my store, I can see how employees could be bullied into turning heads and using unethical sales tactics. Management would say they were not interested in pressure sales, only to turn around and threaten to fire you if you were unable to meet your product protection plan or tech services sales quota. I applied to be a stocker, sales was never in the job description. Bogus competitions were devised to stimulate sales, but after numbers were posted in the break room they felt more like ways for long time employees to shun people who were not as sales oriented. Management would encourage taking advantage of ignorant customers by withholding information, or flat out selling people stuff they had no use for. I can remember one instance when a customer was not buying any attachments with a laptop, the employee helping the customer was told to try to steer them away from buying anything at all, only to save the market basket attachment rating. My first day working for Office Depot I was told that we were a team. I did not realize that I had just joined a team of crooks!

     

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  50.  
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    Mzak2233 (profile), Nov 7th, 2009 @ 11:58pm

    Well here's the thing I'm a current OD employee going 3 years strong. And I've seen this go down in my store numerous times and guess what it was all done by managers trying to inflate their numbers. Not the company its self and guess what ALL and yes I'll repeat that ALL of the managers doing so were fired. Its not the company that is shitty. Its the people that they allow to work there. It all comes back to them in the end. Personally Ive never turned down a sale because they wouldn't buy ad on items that's completely retarded. I never will. And as for the warranty being a rip off I have to disagree its a money back guarantee in the form of a merchandise card no hassle say a year down the road you drop your $800 laptop or you spill coffee on it anything along those lines you pretty much fucked up the creek out $800 if you didn't get the warranty. And to think were all crooks is idiotic. It all comes down to being moral and doing the right thing. And as we can see in all of society no matter it be retail or car sales or even politicians there is always going to be a few bad seeds out there.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    odemployee, Nov 14th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Re:

    Mzak2233 - I disagree with you concerning the $800 laptop warranty being a great deal. To cover an $800 laptop for "accidental coverage" it would set the customer back another $409.99 (sku 953136). That's 50+% of the price, if you don't know your math! So basically, you're paying $1200 for an $800 laptop! Here's where the devious employee takes advantage of the customer. Most employees tell the customer that the $179 PPP (sku 953024) covers accidental w/screen protection. Now for $179, it is a much better deal. However, you and I know this plan doesn't cover s@#$! Once the customer leaves, too bad!

    It is unfortunate that employees feel this need to do whatever it takes to get a customer to buy a PPP or tech service option. I do not practice this however, I am aware of it happening at my store and surrounding stores. We had an assistant manager fired for doing this. I've been at OD for over 7 years now.

    If you get a chance watch the following video on YOUTUBE. It starts out slow, but it gets very funny concerning this topic. (Especially around 4:45 on the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXwwy67kFSU

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    formerodmanager, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:39pm

    Reading this has been a rather amusing look back at my time with OD. The fact is, this stuff does happen there (and probably at every retailer). Corporate sets goals, and people attempt to achieve them. The problem comes in when certain lowlifes find ways to cheat the system and set the gold standard for others to be measured by. That leads other stores to pull the same crap, or find new ways to do so. Faking the price tags, bundling sale items with attachments, claiming to be out of stock, and a 100 other things happen every day. Just prior to my departure, the current discussion on how to prevent selling laptops without warranties or other attachments, was to open up all the box's that were in stock. The logic being, that if we couldn't tell somebody we did not have it to avoid selling it with an 0fer attachment, we could at least tell them "oh I'm sorry, but the only units I have are open boxes". I will also say that my DM at the time was a fairly honest man, and was by no means proud of things like this. His frustration was clearly evident anytime you spoke to him. But OD wants only salesmen working in their stores, and the only measure of success is add-ons.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    OD associate, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re:

    I have to correct you on that one...for an $800 laptop the ADH plan is only $239 for 2 years (sku 286-552) and $339 for 3. (sku 286-558) The plans are no hassle service on demand and we refund the item if its damaged beyond repair or replacement with store credit to get a new one. I wouldn't sell this service if I thought it was bogus.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    OD Associate 2, May 1st, 2010 @ 10:18pm

    i run into the same problem u all do but the problem is not the company i was trained to take care of my custumers to sell them what they need ONLY we r not a hardselling company but my manager seems to think otherwise i hate that redheaded fuck he preasures all my custumers to the point where some never buy a plan from me cause they get ripped off by my manager's stuberness and overselling on addons completely useless to my custumber's needs

     

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  55.  
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    Hackensack Jack, May 4th, 2010 @ 12:01am

    The Mail In Rebate Scam

    This is a classic. Buy the device for the price. Get second one for example say 50% off. BUT now the paper maze starts. You must mail in register receipt, cut UPS code off box( now you cannot return an item within warranty w/o UPS code), fill in a form at bottom of register tape. Now wait 10-12 weeks+. No check! When you call or email, they "say still processing rebate claim", yours will be along soon. Weeks later still no rebate check. Call again get "Oh we mail that weeks ago".
    Then a check comes that has expired. Send back for reissue and it disappears. Nice scam. The big boys do this Tiger Direct, Office[Max or Depot], Best Buys etc.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    OD Associate X, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:09pm

    Wow your stores are messed up

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    OD Associate X, May 20th, 2010 @ 7:19pm

    Wow your stores are messed up

    I can't say I'm surprised by the number of OD associates saying that their stores have corrupt management. While management at our store will never admit it, the amount of service dollars needed to keep the white collars of our company happy is quite staggering. I'm kinda glad my store is a little more stable and scam free. We do it all by the books.

    I would like to comment on those people who bought laptops/printers and ended up getting upset because their products weren't returned.

    It is YOUR responsibility as a consumer to keep a record of the purchases you make a retail store. Not the retailer's. Often times the retailers offer services such as receipt retrieval and such in order to cater to those customers that come upon freak accidents where they lose their receipts. That's all good and well and all of us retailers do it because we want your business and we understand that accidents happen. But it's not for idiots that toss their receipts haphazardly.

    Moreover, while I think that our 14 day return policy can be a bit stringent, you are crazy if you think we are going to take any responsibility for a laptop that is a year old. If it conks out on you, it's the manufacturer you need to deal with, not us. As mentioned above, we make little to no margin on those high price items, and unless you buy our warranties, we really have no reason to take stake in your purchase. We all love our customers. But we're not a charity. The price you paid is for the item itself. We can't take hits like that because if we did, we'd be out of business. We understand your position as well, but unfortunately, we're not equipped to help you sometimes. That's just the way it is.

     

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  58.  
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    Nacole, Jul 20th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    od employee

    I'm a manager with OD and am yet to see anything like this happening. Although it may be common practice with some companies, it isn't true with OD.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2013 @ 8:35pm

    Re: >:( >:( >:(

    Its been around for at least over 5 years my friend worked there the manager on duty says to not sell it to them unless they buy something else with it on the list of things that increase there sales

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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