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Office Depot: We're Investigating, Will Punish Lying Associates

It seems our post this week about possible deceptive sales practices at some Office Depots has stirred up a hornet's nest. The story was picked up by a variety of large news sites, including Consumerist, Slashdot, DailyTech, Technologizer, Notebooks.com, and GottaBeMobile. As of this writing, on our site alone, we have generated over 50 comments, many from readers claiming to be current or former employees of Office Depot and other retail chains, with some stating that they've never seen a salesperson lie about notebook stock and others corroborating the story we heard from Rich and other readers. In response, Office Depot has issued the following statement:

First, as part of our commitment to providing office supply solutions to our customers, we offer numerous products and services, including service warranties and other complementary products and services for many technology products.  These offerings are similar to other sellers of consumer electronics.  Office Depot's objective is to offer such products and services to our customers, without regard to whether a customer purchases or does not purchase service warranties or other complimentary products and services.    Although we offer a variety of sales promotions, like most retailers, we sell customers only what they wish to purchase.   We do not have, nor have we ever had, policies or strategies contrary to this objective, and we do not condone sales practices to the contrary.

Accordingly, we do not have any policies or sales objectives to limit the sales of laptop computers to only those customers who agree to purchase service warranties.  Office Depot has been recognized with numerous awards for our commitment to customer service, so please know that we take this issue very seriously and will take the necessary steps to ensure that we continue to enhance the customer experience and promote quality in our customer-related processes.  We are currently in the process of reviewing this situation, and if any associates have deviated from our sales objectives and policies, then they may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.

At LAPTOP, we're also continuing to follow this story by reaching out to any employees or former employees of retail stores (Office Depot or others) who may have witnessed someone lying or being told to lie about whether something was in stock. If you have news, please drop us a line at tips@laptopmag.com.

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.