See Staple's comments below. The company does not charge for virus scanning.
Mike Langlie, who makes wonderful music with kids' instruments, says: "I had an interesting experience at Staples today. In case you feel like sharing with boingboing readers, here is an email I sent to Staples."
Today I visited a local Staples to print some color files. As an employee wrote up my order, he mentioned there would be a $2.49 fee per file for virus scanning. Incredulously, I asked if I am really expected to pay for my files to be scanned for viruses, to which he replied yes. I canceled my order and left. This experience brings up some very disturbing thoughts. Should I assume that until now Staples has never scanned customer files for viruses before processing? I've worked in many offices and service bureaus and consider virus scanning a necessary and common sense practice when handling any unknown files. I doubt that this is a new concept to Staples, and am even more dismayed by the next logical reason for this fee. Most likely, Staples is trying to bilk naive customers for a "service" that should be routine to any sensible and responsible computer user. Will customers be expected to pay for their cash register receipts next? Staples has lost me as a customer, and my respect.
Reader comment: Erin says: "I worked in a Staples copy center for over five years (up till this fall), and am familiar with the 'service fee' they charge. Technically, its not a 'virus scanning fee' — it's just a 'rip fee' for taking a file off a disk. Because it is generally 1-3 minutes faster to copy an actual piece of paper, a few years ago Staples implemented the 'rip fee' to account for the time it takes to open a file off of a cd or floppy and send it to print. Not only is there the $2.49 initial charge, but employees were instructed to charge $.99 for 'each additional file' they wanted printed off the disk. This was certainly irritating to those who wanted their novels printed out, and had saved their work in 40 separate .doc files. I rarely charged for the 'ripping' as it is a clear example of corporate theft. It's not like the employee gets a commission for the File > Print effort either."
Reader comment: Chad says: "I would be
interested to know if Staples is in violation of its antivirus software
license agreement by providing the 'service.' Most enterprise licenses
include language along the lines of 'Licensee may use the Software only
for Licensee's internal business purposes, and Licensee shall not
permit the Software to be used by or for the benefit of third parties,
including via a timesharing, service bureau or other arrangement.' By
selling access to their antivirus software for $2.49 a file, Staples
has arguably created a antivirus scanner rental service, or at least a
managed service (since they do the scanning).
"It's possible Staples has a special license where they pay royalties to
the antivirus company on a per-file basis, but those are not common
outside of the outsourcing industry."
Update: Mylissa Tsai, the program manager for public relations at Staples emailed the following to us today: "As a frequent reader of BoingBoing, I wanted to make sure to reach out to you and your readers regarding your post this week, "Staples Charges for 'virus scanning'".
We wanted to make sure that the blogosphere and our customers have the most accurate information about the company. Below I have included some information from our Vice President of Business Services, Rob Schlacter which should help your readers. I'd like to ask if you can post our enclosed comments."
$2.49 Raster Image Processing Service Charge Ensures First Generation Digital Output; Virus Scanning Claim Is Inaccurate
I understand how customers can be upset by inaccurate information. Let me clarify. At Staples, our commitment is to deliver quality work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The $2.49 charge is a "Raster Image Processing" fee; it is not a virus scanning fee. This is used industry wide and retailers often charge it as an additional fee or include it in the overall printout cost.
As we have added expanded media acceptance to our service capability, many customers bring multiple file types using different software applications. The Raster Image Processing process is a part of Staples Copy and Print Centers production standards, ensuring first generation, high quality output to our digital copiers. As technology improves and the industry implements new processes, we will continue to evaluate our service level fees just as we do our everyday retail pricing.
We also understand that customers are getting more tech-savvy. So, stay tuned on how Staples can provide easier solutions like a free file conversion software package coming soon to stores next spring.
Thank you for your continued patronage at Staples. Feel free to reach out to any store manager with questions or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President of Business Services, Staples Inc.