Tech support call center accused of fraudulently charging $80 for free Windows 10 upgrades

Microsoft wants Windows 7 and 8.1 PC owners to upgrade to Windows 10 for free until mid-2016, but a lawsuit claims that a company is trying to charge people $80 for that same update. The Washington State Attorney General's office filed thatt lawsuit this week against India-based tech support company iYogi.

The lawsuit claims that iYogi has violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act for a number of alledged actions:

  • In online ads, iYogi associates itself with major technology companies such as Microsoft, Apple and HP. When consumers call iYogi, the representative claims to provide tech support services on behalf of whatever company the consumer inquires about.
  • After gaining remote access to the consumer's computer, iYogi identifies benign but complex-looking files and claims the "infected files" harm the computer. iYogi misleads the consumer into believing he or she must download iYogi's diagnostic software to fully identify the computer problems.
  • iYogi then produces a diagnostic report on the consumer's screen and claims there is malware or other serious defects. iYogi misrepresents the report by telling the consumer these infected files are harming the computer, when in fact the identified items are often routine programs that pose no threat.
  • Once iYogi has alarmed the consumer, the representative proceeds to aggressively sell a tech support plan to fix the non-existent problems — 1 year for $140 or 5 years for $379. iYogi claims the plans cover tech support needs for the length of the contract.
  • iYogi also informs the consumer the computer doesn't have antivirus software and tries to sell the consumer iYogi's antivirus software for up to $80, even if an existing antivirus is already installed.
  • iYogi also states the consumer needs to update to the Windows 10 operating system, or the computer will be harmed, which it will not. iYogi uses this scare tactic to coerce the consumer into buying Windows 10 for $80, even though Microsoft offers the upgrade for free.

The press release announcing the lawsuit also contains a statement from Microsoft President Brad Smith:

"We applaud the Washington State Attorney General's Office for its efforts to protect consumers from tech support scams that have reached epidemic levels in recent years. Over the past 18 months alone, Microsoft has received more than 180,000 customer calls regarding tech support fraud. Today's announcement is an important step toward addressing this issue, which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable segments of our society."

The Washington State Attorney General's office claims that "hundreds, if not thousands" of its residents might have been affected by iYogi's actions. The company could face fines of up to $2,000 for each violation of the state's Consumer Protection Act and $100,000 for each violation of the Computer Spyware Act. iYogi has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

Source: Washington State Attorney General; Via: GeekWire

60 Comments
  • OMG I am first one to comment
  • Oh snap
  • Yes, that's what's important after all.
  • You can scratch that off your bucket list now. ;)
  • You should charge people $80 to learn how they too can be first-poster?
  • Well they done
  • They had it coming sooner or later.
  • I think those ******* called me and tried to sell me their stupid software too. It was so suspicious when I ask the who's the leader for the operating system group at Microsoft as a test... They didn't know it. And they said they're a part of the operating system department at Microsoft
  • In India?
  • Jolly jolly good (head swaying furiously from side to side)
  • That is because iYogi is a scam.
  • Gasp! No way.
  • Yes
  • My god! How the **** these people feel confident about scams anyway? If there is such an ad I would start p issing on that ad and shout out loud "are you ******* kidding me!?, I read windows central and it says "iYogi? Meh sounds like a garbage collecting association! :p"
  • More like a yoga studio cult
  • I heard about that, why why why did they even try.
  • Bottom feeders will always appear. Glad these skeezes were caught.
  • These frauds should be kicked out of the country.... Along with those corrupt ministers.
  • Wen in India?
  • When in Naija?
  • Win10 in India? $80.
  • And so we have the answer to the age old question - When in India?
  • When you install Win 10 for 80 bucks and customer care package for 300 bucks, then it's in India. Satya Nutella is behind it all ;-).
  • Well company is indian based but consumer affected are US citizens
  • Why would anyone allow remote access in the first place? I had some Chinese guy call and tell me that there was "an error inside your computer." Of course I knew it was a scam, so I messed with him until I lost interest, and then hung up on him. Most are not convincing at all. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Problem is most people that use a computer are not exactly the smartest ones when it come to dealing with anything that concerns that computer. It is truly suprising and frightening how many even young college educated people with multiple degrees know close to nothing when it comes to stuff on their computer, as long as it runs the one or two things they managed to learn they don't care about the rest and often are not even willing to learn when you try to teach them something that would simplify their life tenfold. Then its no suprise that when some scammer comes along and tells them you need to buy this or your computer is dead they go along with whatever; and when it comes to stuff like remote access I doubt they even know what that means.  
  • Remote access was made for primary for situations like tech support... Most users if you would tell them what to do over a phone call wouldn't know what to do. Remote access is the easyest sollution to a problem, but I hate when company's abuse people like this. Jet another reason why basic computer classes should be in every high school. And by basics I mean basics, not how a cpu work, or which segments a hard drive has... That's for us, IT Pro's somewhat important, not for a general consumer.
  • The question is is the charge for the actual copy of free windows upgrade or the fee is for showing the customer how to do it. Nobody should do for free what Microsoft should be paying someone if Microsoft wanted to guarantee that every user upgrade to windows 10. If I am going to use my time to help you fix something that you are not able to do, this not called fraudulent is called a business. It is really a matter of perspective on what should the customer be paying for a free upgrade and what reward the person helping them should receive for taking the time to do it. If Microsoft does not want that, then they can make the upgrade mandatory and everyone will automatically get the free upgrade. There is no such thing a free lunch.
  • "Microsoft should be paying someone" "There is no such thing a free lunch" Kind of contradictory, don't you think?
  • If you think that windows 10 as a free upgrade means that you dont have to pay, then you need to ask why do you have windows in the first place? A free upgrade does not mean a free license as if you can download windows 10 without an existing windows version which you probably paid for when you bought your computer in the first place. If I am taking the the time to do something that you value, then I may get compensated. Again, it is not about the license price, but the actual price to do the installation regardless of how the price of the free upgrade or new installation. Id Microsoft paid to develop windows, they will ge the money.back. Again, nothing is free.
  • SO you admit you didn't actually read the article, you write contradictory information, but I am the one who doesn't know.
  • The statement about windows 10 free upgrade is not really is fee is correct and I dont need to read the article to know that.
  • Read the article carefully once again please.... They charged them for false issues.... What you say is correct but irrelevant in this case.... They are charging people to upgrade a genuine copy of Windows 7 to Windows 10. And since they are authorised Tele service they can take service charge not the upgradation charge..... Moreover Microsoft never said that unless you upgrade your computer might be at risk.... Read first mamba comment later. There's no trophy for quick commenter.
  • In this case the lying cheating company coerced someone to buy something that is free. If you operate your life by misleading your clients I hope your company folds as well. Sleezeball salesman like you make honest people my like look by when I recommend something that is actually important or beneficial.
  • It's nothing to do with the upgrade. They trick you into giving them remote access to your system. This is when the fun begins. They start encrypting your files so they are completely useless to you. They then demand a 'ransom' to decrypt your files. This can range from £150 to £400. On top of that, they can come back at any time and re-encrypt. They can also install a keylogger, password hack and obtain any saved credit card information.
  • My bad that I dis not read the article because I thought the title indicated what was the gist of the story. Too quick to judge on just the title which was deceivingly written...
  • I've noticed a number of these "tech support" scammers advertising on Windows Central... Hopefully someone coming to this webiste would be smart enough not to click on it, but someone at Mobile Nations really needs to do a better job screening these things.
  • Typical scam techniques.
  • Scammers.
  • Not unexpected. Pretty common in india. It happened to me (almost) calling what was supposed to be Microsoft support. These cats were in India and wanted to charge me for another full Windows 7 license. 
  • I got told by some Indian guy called Bob, there was a problem with my windows installation on my PC. Bloody clever considering I run Linux on network! I do have win 10 now and thankfully I haven't been contacted since. Might have something to do with 'Im gonna rip your head off and s**t down your neck!' Lol
  • ROTFL
  • This is such a well known scam, I cannot believe that it still happens. Also, what the **** has this got to do with MSFT???? Yet another tenuous link worthy of posting...... And no doubt the guy on the phone has a thick Punjab accent and his name is Bob, James, Brian or any other anglicised name you can think of, hoping human nature triggers your friendly side before you tell them to do one!! This is not a race post. It is a factual statement based on experiences in my small company.
  • There are still people who fall for the Nigerian prince scam, so this, sadly, should not be surprising
  • People that do things like that to the old and vulnerable should just be fed to tigers. Thus, solving 2 problems at once. Maybe it will help get tigers off the endangered lists and teach these guys what it's like to be prayed on.
  • I entetain them when they call our house til, I spook em by telling them I been tracking them and I know it's a scam because I'm a Microsoft employee and know what they are trying to do.... They start stuttering and hang up
  • Hilarious! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I had a friend who fell for one of these scams from a different company, paid them £100 for unnecessary tech support. Pretty common, actually.
  • Title should include iYogi, the click bait title you have now makes it seem as if MS is the one doing it
  • Typical Indian tech scammers
  • iYogi, not your average iBear scam! You'd think those scammers in India would hire some better fluent English speakers, oh and turn off the TV/radio in the backgroud. I'm sure an authorized tech service would have Bollywood movies blaring in the background or cyring kids. Had many of them, some I just tell 'em to **** off, others I play along and go all Macualy Culkin emo and string them along until they go to "we will install software to fix your problem" then hang up.
  • I have called that company before and those a$$holes try to have me give them remote access, f**k no I'm not letting these a$$holes in my computer. Sorry for the morons who do, and can do brain surgery if I have to if have the right person to talk me through it!
  • Those bastards.
  • You will be thanking me to fleece your wallet, please!
  • This is the story of almost every India-based tech support center.
  • so any computer store that fixes computers and updates peoples computers and charges an hr for there time is wrong now?
  • Well done, these sorts of groups need to be taken down.
  • Dirty indians
  • how dare they? i charge only $50
  • If your having a problem installing WIndows 10... I'll do it for $40 :)