CBS News Reporters Experience Office Depot Lying First-Hand

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goldstein-odWe're still following the story of deceptive retail practices at Office Depot. Today, we saw that David Goldstein of CBS 2 news, the local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles,  has aired his own report and posted it on the station's site. Goldstein sent a pair of reporters shopping with a hidden camera at an Office Depot in La Crescenta, CA. The first reporter went into the store and asked to buy two different notebooks, but was told they were out of stock after he refused to purchase an extended warranty. A few minutes later, a second reporter entered, asked to purchase the same notebook along with the warranty and filmed as they brought the notebook out of the stock room. Several days later, they repeated the experiment, with the same results. After attempting to speak with the store manager and being escorted out of the store, Goldstein called Office Depot corporate who told him:

"A manager at that store was providing guidance for offering warranties that was inconsistent with the company's practices. We have taken appropriate actions, including the termination of the store manager. We have no reason to believe that this conduct is occurring at any other locations."

Goldstein's crew visited several other Office Depots in Southern California but were not lied to at any of those locations. Unfortunately, at LAPTOP, we have seen plenty of reason to believe that this conduct is occurring at Office Depots all over the United States. While we were unable to replicate the problem at two Office Depots we tried, we have interviewed current or former employees from five different regions of the U.S. who told us these practices were common in their regions and that both store managers and regional managers were involved. Via: CBS 2
Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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13 comments
  • priscilla Says:

    If a company is unethical in one area, it's probably unethical in many matters.
    I don't care "if everyone is doing it."
    I won't take my business to unethical liars.

  • George Says:

    I was a store manager for Office Depot for 17 years and I can tell you that unethical practices do happen, but they happen at Staples and Office Max as well(that I know of personally). Anytime you create an environment of selling, selling, selling, and when your numbers aren't up you are eventually "replaced", it's almost asking for problems like this. I have known of incidents where managers have instructed their employees to do things similar to the notebook thing. But I also know when corp found out those managers were fired. It continually frustrates the managers who are running their stores honestly to see the ones who aren't rewarded with bonuses, rewards, etc. The people at Corp who are actually making these selling policies and wanting us to make the numbers they set forth need to come down out of their offices and do it themselves first so they can see how riduculous they are being. As a manager I can tell you although we tried more than most stores in our region, if we implemented every policy they set forth we would not have anytime to wait on customers.

  • Free Artikle Says:

    gives employ a terrific webpage decent Gives thanks for the efforts to assist people

  • @ the mb Says:

    I used to work their and it's true ,they want you to push the protection plan all the time.The district mangers and store managers get huge bonuses for these protection plans,while the sales people get .50 cent per plan.OD is making free money by selling these plans.

  • Bourne Says:

    I work in Office Depot here in California and as far I can tell you in my store there's no "Lie to the customer" policy, I have been earning the respect and confience of my customers from a daily basis because I'm always honest on offering the best solution my customer is seeking for, if the customer wants a laptop I always do a double-double check in the stock before offering the PPP or Protection and Performance Plan. With this ethical code I have been forming through my life, I have been gaining a lot of happy customers that always ask for me to help them out, even if is my day off, they preffer to wait until I come to work, even the Store manager is using my example as a system for all the employees in the store. I'm not telling the location of my store because the sensitivity of the matter but I invite you to do the report in SoCal OD stores until you reach this spot, I assure you you're gonna get a pleasent surprise, even the mystery shop always come twice or even three times a month and we get good reviews most of the times. So, bottom line, I don't care what's happening in other stores and I don't care about beign the "NUMERO UNO" selling PPP's store, what I care is my customers and their satisfaction.

  • harald messer Says:

    i always watch cbs news in the morning, i just want to leave a comment for michell gilian, she is one of the best reporters, of course all of you do a great job, but for some reason she very attractive and keep her on the job.
    respctfully yours, mr h. messer

  • bob Says:

    i agree with above...
    being a current employee of office depot, i know that the attachments are good, hell, that's what we make commission off of! but if i know a customer is really not interested in the product replacement plan, the only thing i do is maybe tell a manager descreetly, so maybe he can persuade. but as for lying about availibility, never. never have. never will. nearby stores have done that multiple times, where if a customer isn't getting anything with, lets say a printer, they'll say, "well we dont have it, but just up the road, they do". and then it hurts us.

    now about the whole, "marking down prices" to get the plan, if we have an item, discontinued, but still in our computer for, lets say $100. manager says, lets get rid of it, and at the same time get us credit. so, mark it down to $50, and throw in a 2-year plan, $7.99. naturally, if a cusomer doesnt want the plan so bad, pay the $100 then! I mean, your really getting a deal! 2-Years of protection on whatever it is, and 40% off!!!! really, is that so bad?

    and now, as for the product replacement complaint that it doesn't start untill after the manufacturer's ends, that may be so, technically speaking, but i know for sure, if a customer comes in with something broken, and holding that little red booklet, it will be solved. wether it's a refund, getting a new item, sending it in, whatever, the customer comes first.

    it's really a shame that so many other stores can rip people off so bad. but i guess it's a last resort when your store's reputition is down. i suppose i'm lucky to work with such an honest store manager, and be in a heavily populated area, that a printer here-and-there with "nothing", isn't that big of a deal. at least not to lie about having it in stock. i still wouldn't lie, so we would lose buisness to best buy.

  • former office depot and office max employee Says:

    As someone who worked at both Office Max and Office Depot - i can think of two stores where this practice would not be allowed - the two where i happened to work. Make no doubt about it we were trained to ask for the warranty, even to be insistent on why the customer needed it (& why not - they are pure profit for the store but yet do help the customer out) but never would it be allowed to outright lie as has been depicted in this story.

    No, I resent the idea that this practice is happening in other Office Depot stores. The manager and district manager i worked for had too much integrity to let something like that happen.

  • bubba Says:

    I'm sure that in the unethical stores there is a problem no matter what company you work for. There is always the push to sell these attachments with other items and in stores with good practice techniques this can be beneficial to both the company and the customer. I don't believe that this is a problem in many stores and I believe that this is something that all companies should take a close look into. When it comes down to it we all need to except responsibility for our own actions and do the right thing!

  • Anonymous Says:

    "I've changed my mind about that warranty." -- customer's perrogative.

  • Whomper Says:

    Well, the solution is simple: Agree to purchase an extended warranty, and once the item is in your hands, change your mind. They aren't going to rip it out of your hands...

  • Anonymous Says:

    Everything said above by Evader can be applied to job, Staples, as well

  • Evader Says:

    Office Depot may have gotten caught but I can tell you first hand as an OfficeMax employee, the same thing happens there routinely. I have been instructed by the store manger at my store, at which I am a supervisor, to lie to customers about on hand levels of notebooks and desktops if there are no "attachments" (extended warranties, software, mice, keyboards, etc.). There is a form filled out at the end of a sale and associates can be written up, verbally warned, or worse if they don't commit to "behavioral changes". The big box office supply retail stores are all corrupt, scheme how to take as much of your money as they can, and package it under the disguise of great customer service. Wake up America, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the other things that go on in this type of selling environment would make you sick.

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