Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Office Depot Lie to Customers About Laptop Stock

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 53 comments

Looking to buy a laptop sometime soon?  Well, unless you're interested in bundling your purchase with a protection plan, you may want to avoid shopping at Office Depot.

According to a recent article published by Laptop Magazine, Office Depot associates routinely lie about their available stock when dealing with customers that are uninterested in extras like Protect Protection Plans (or PPPs for short) and Tech Depot Services (TDS). Due to the competitive nature of computer sales, Office Depot like many other brick and mortar stores rely on service and accessory based sales to make any sort of significant profit.  As such, both management and salesmen seek to move the extras with every purchase.

The article includes several reader confirmations of the art of moving PPPs and TDSs. A Chris H. is quoted in the article stating "Not only do [we] sales people depend on the extra cash we earn from add-ons, if we do not sell them and make a quota, we get the shaft from our bosses and their bosses and their bosses," implying that the salesmen themselves rely on the movement of the service plans in order to make extra income. 

Another reader identified as Rich comments "Basically they drill it in your head that if you don’t sell PPPs, you’re gonna get fired. It’s gotten so bad to the point where the managers are starting to find loopholes in the system. They would rather sell one laptop with a PPP than ten laptops with nothing. They don’t care."

According to the article, even upper management faces diciplinary action if quotas are not met, perhaps revealing that the primary source of the problem begins at the top and simply rolls downhill. One thing is for sure though, with business practices invovling deception, Office Depot is sure to lose respect and business as the public becomes aware of such behavior. 

Discuss
Display all 53 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    _aurel_ , March 13, 2009 10:23 PM
    Those perks that employees get for selling warranties and add-ons arn't really that great, either. When I was a CompUSA employee, you would get less then 5% of the cut for a warranty. Imagine selling a Warranty that cost the customer $500, and seeing less then $20 on your paycheck because it was taxed 20%.

    Big companies likese these don't give a shit about their employees, not one bit, and they think that a crappy spiff with the added incentive to be fired is enough to motivate employees and drive sales higher? It does the opposite, and makes customers resent them even more. I hope Office Depot is next in line on the chopping block.
  • 11 Hide
    SAL-e , March 13, 2009 10:33 PM
    I had to deal with this problem several times. One day at BestBuy, the salesman was pushing extra warranty by "advertising" that the notebook, that I was interested, is giving all kinds of problems and how expensive is to repair it would be. Finally, I ask him: "Why I want to buy a notebook that is so bad!?" As you can guess, I did not purchase it.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    edwilson , March 13, 2009 10:01 PM
    This practice has been going on for MANY YEARS in retail. One major player who just went under used to have the same attitude and policies. Look where it lead them. I have worked in several retail stores where you made more on the "paper" than the "product"
  • 7 Hide
    IronRyan21 , March 13, 2009 10:19 PM
    Circuit City did the same thing. Where are there now?
  • 13 Hide
    _aurel_ , March 13, 2009 10:23 PM
    Those perks that employees get for selling warranties and add-ons arn't really that great, either. When I was a CompUSA employee, you would get less then 5% of the cut for a warranty. Imagine selling a Warranty that cost the customer $500, and seeing less then $20 on your paycheck because it was taxed 20%.

    Big companies likese these don't give a shit about their employees, not one bit, and they think that a crappy spiff with the added incentive to be fired is enough to motivate employees and drive sales higher? It does the opposite, and makes customers resent them even more. I hope Office Depot is next in line on the chopping block.
  • 5 Hide
    jsloan , March 13, 2009 10:28 PM
    wow, best buy do and compu usa did the same thing, you would walk in to the store ask for it, we don't have it, it comes later in the week, ect. walk around get another sales person, sure we have it, it's in the back, we are saving it for our preferred customers, ourselves, ect... if you beg / pay enough they walk out back and get you a copy. they usually have stuff that runs out or is limitedly available for their friends...
  • 11 Hide
    SAL-e , March 13, 2009 10:33 PM
    I had to deal with this problem several times. One day at BestBuy, the salesman was pushing extra warranty by "advertising" that the notebook, that I was interested, is giving all kinds of problems and how expensive is to repair it would be. Finally, I ask him: "Why I want to buy a notebook that is so bad!?" As you can guess, I did not purchase it.
  • 5 Hide
    scook9 , March 13, 2009 10:40 PM
    Microcenter did this exact same thing. Sales associates get 10% of plans sold, only 1.5% of the main item though. And if you never sell plans, the management gets all over your ass complaining about THEIR "ratings." Dont believe me, try buying an Intel Core i7 920 for the 229.99 sale price they got right now, good luck if you dont "Attach" to the sale. I work there and still had to web order one for in store pick up to get out the store with it. When I worked there, my manager told me to tell customers that they had to buy something else (motherboard and/or memory) with the cpu). Only if the customer got especially uppity would they allow me to sell the processor to them, and even then the manager told me that it will hurt my "rating."

    Was some serious bullshit.
  • 0 Hide
    tolltier , March 13, 2009 10:55 PM
    Yeah this happens and when you find a good deal at a place they are always out of stock because employees hide the merch and then buy it themselves before it even hits the floor. Seen this at Wally World a ton around Xmas time with those super cheap laptops. granted I wouldn't purchase something so cheap but still.
  • 5 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , March 13, 2009 11:03 PM
    Wow great review, ill make sure i never shop there again, hope everyone tells their frends
  • 0 Hide
    rooket , March 13, 2009 11:17 PM
    Circuit City never forced me to buy a service plan on any product I ever purchased at their store. They were even so nice to give me the old sale price on the last CRT TV I bought after the sale was over and they let me keep the rebate as well. Circuit City was a good store. Hope you haters enjoy dealing with Worst Buy.
  • 5 Hide
    mdillenbeck , March 14, 2009 12:03 AM
    If you really suspect they'll lie about having the product, use the same hardball negotiation tactic - lie about interest in the add-ons. Then say you need to get a couple of other things and meet at the register. Don't forget to grab an item from another department. Once at the register, say "oh yeah, I changed my mind - I want just the laptop without the add-ons, and I guess I'll wait to buy this too."

    Your only other options are to walk away from the negotiation or have a higher-up come over and restart your negotiation.

    Me? I never was refused an item because of a service plan, but I have often been thwarted by employees "reserving" items for one another so I didn't have a chance to buy it.
  • 0 Hide
    blackplastic , March 14, 2009 12:19 AM
    The managers of those stores should be fired. There may be a great deal of pressure to sell services to make up for margins lost by the decline in spending by businesses on the more profitable supplies and furniture items but this is now how we do business. I've worked for Depot for many years and I've never seen this happen in any store I've worked in. In every company you'll find bad apples though, but I can tell you it would be no higher in the management chain that at the store level. If you feel this has happened, call customer service immediately or just buy a stick of gum and do the online Bizrate survey at the bottom of the receipt, they go straight to the DM and CC'd to the store. This practice is not part of our sales culture.
  • -8 Hide
    curnel_D , March 14, 2009 12:48 AM
    Again, this article comes in at almost 4 days. If I read all this crap way before hand somewhere else, what reason do I have to even come to TH?
  • 0 Hide
    briandr , March 14, 2009 12:49 AM
    Great more sites propagating this BS. Yes office depot has strict sales quotas for their employees, same as any other retailer. Some stores (office depot, office max, staples, bestbuy, etc) may resort to unethical behavior to make these quotas, but the companies as a whole do not endorse this behavior. In the original article at laptop magazine .com they even said they visited their local OD and were able to get a laptop without a PPP/TDS with no problem.

    You cant just take a few instances of dishonesty and make an accurate judgment on the company as a whole.

    BTW the original article didn't mention that OD just cut one management position from every office depot about two weeks ago. So im sure everyone can guess who they got the interview with, disgruntled ex-employees trying to get a little bit of revenge by bashing the companies reputation
  • -4 Hide
    briandr , March 14, 2009 12:49 AM
    Great more sites propagating this BS. Yes office depot has strict sales quotas for their employees, same as any other retailer. Some stores (office depot, office max, staples, bestbuy, etc) may resort to unethical behavior to make these quotas, but the companies as a whole do not endorse this behavior. In the original article at laptop magazine .com they even said they visited their local OD and were able to get a laptop without a PPP/TDS with no problem.

    You cant just take a few instances of dishonesty and make an accurate judgment on the company as a whole.

    BTW the original article didn't mention that OD just cut one management position from every office depot about two weeks ago. So im sure everyone can guess who they got the interview with, disgruntled ex-employees who blow stuff out of proportion
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 14, 2009 1:23 AM
    Bought a 500 GB USB HDD at MicroCenter for $99. Seagate FreeAgent Extreme. Great buy, they had a tonne of them and I didn't feel pressured to buy extras.
  • 3 Hide
    n3ard3ath , March 14, 2009 2:01 AM
    curnel_dAgain, this article comes in at almost 4 days. If I read all this crap way before hand somewhere else, what reason do I have to even come to TH?


    Annoy others with your own crap?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 14, 2009 2:44 AM
    Same thing happens at best buy. Management gives computer associates a hard time about selling service plans, aka Black Tie Protection, and Geek Squad services. The on-sale laptops are usually sold under cost. The sales person isn't to blame. They are just doing their job. No one there makes any commission, they are just trying to keep from getting hassled by their boss . There's nothing wrong with a company trying to make a profit, that is the point of a business right? I agree its wrong for the sales person to push it too much but nothing wrong with them offering it. For some customers it comes in handy, and for people who don't have a clue about using or fixing a computer its not a bad deal.
  • 1 Hide
    my_name_is_earl , March 14, 2009 3:02 AM
    outacontrolpimpWow great review, ill make sure i never shop there again, hope everyone tells their frends

    article:"Due to the competitive nature of computer sales
    , Office Depot 'like many other brick and mortar stores'"
    That mean it's not only Office Depot but almost every major retailer is doing it. Does this mean you're not gonna shop in an electronic store at all? You can say no, but provoking everyone to not purchase anything leads to low economic and jobs.
  • 0 Hide
    jay236 , March 14, 2009 3:10 AM
    Yeah this practice is everywhere in retail stores...it's probably the least in Best Buy (Canada) since there's no commission (but sales quotas to meet)...honestly I could give a shit for selling service plans, because all I get is a pat on the back if I do, no "extra incentives"...the only time people get fired is because they discourage customers to buy it or something (or if they're seasonal workers, at least in my store)

    I've only often heard stories from friends who were fired at Future Shop for not selling enough service plans.
  • 0 Hide
    my_name_is_earl , March 14, 2009 3:14 AM
    IronRyan21Circuit City did the same thing. Where are there now?

    Selling people cr@p isn't the only thing that bring down Circuit City. I remember buying an MP3 player inside a glass door and ask someone to open it for me and 30min no-one came and so I ask another person and 15min later they finally open the glass to get me my MP3. When I return that battery sucking MP3, I waited 1hr and there's only 1 person in front of me. Service like that deserved to close its door. Not to mention Black Friday. The line almost doesn't budge after 3hr of waiting in-line for a laptop. Bought a laptop at Office Depot during Black Friday and they didn't try to sell me cr@p and it took like 10min to buy it.
Display more comments