An embarrassing investigation by two television news stations is making computer owners in Apple Valley and the High Desert happy to have local repair shops.
Malware Installed by Unethical PC Repairs
It all started in the middle of November when an investigative journalism team based in Seattle purchased six new computers and took them to a local Office Depot for a checkup. The reporters were investigating claims by computer owners that Office Depot technicians were making up issues to charge customers for repairs they did not perform.
Prior to taking the new, out-of-the-box desktop computers to Office Depot, the reporters asked a PC security firm to check them out. There was nothing wrong with the machines; however, the undercover cameras of the KIRO-TV news team recorded Office Depot technicians who claimed that the devices were infected with malware, a repair that would cost $180.
What makes the Office Depot news really egregious is that a technician who had enough of the unethical practices went on camera to explain not only how the swindle works but also that it is pushed by upper managers who demand high “sales” quotas from their workers.
The Dangers of Bloatware
Some computer manufacturers are known to install applications that could be considered “bloatware,” which could slow down the system or take up storage space. Depending on the preference of the computer owner, bloatware can be removed or replaced by better software options, but it should not be treated as malware for the purpose of unethically extracting money from consumers.
It is important to note that major retailers such as Home Depot and Office Max are in need of a steady stream of income due to the astronomical expenses they carry in order to stave off competition. This explains the demand for technicians to reach quotas, but it does not justify making up computer issues to perform fake repairs.