A lawsuit that originally commenced last year, which claimed that the way Dell handled its customer financing and other services was very poor and misleading, has come to a close. Thirty-four state attorneys have reached a $3.35 million dollar multi-state settlement with the workings of the big “D”.
The original lawsuit kicked off accusing Dell and Dell Financial Services (DFS) of, generally, treating its customers poorly. To define poorly, the suit alleged that Dell never provided proper refunds to its customers, failed to provide repair services as advertised, and the worst of it all, Dell mislead its customers about its financing terms.
One example of how Dell was operating, was its ‘so-called’ PAY NO INTEREST for twelve(12) months when financing a notebook. Customers on a budget would purchase notebooks expecting not to pay any interest for the first twelve(12) months. Instead, on their third statement of finances from Dell Financial Services, customers were seeing large financing fee charges, outstanding interest payments, etc. Some customers ended up paying out the term immediately and ran to the Better Business Bureau where they settled for refunds.
Of the $3.35 million dollar settlement, $1.5 million will be dropped into an account specifically for customer restitution--the rest going towards legal fees and other legal mumbo-jumbo. So how do you go about getting even? If you have purchased a Dell product between April 1, 2005 and April 13, 2009 and your dealings fit one of the terms listed below, you may be entitled to some restitution.
- A problem with a Dell financing officer
- A problem with a Dell rebate
- A problem with Dell financing
- A problem with a Dell repair, warranty or servicing
Visit the Dell Settlement Claims site (or download the PDF forms here), fill everything out appropriately and have it submitted by April 13, 2009. Please be aware that not everyone is eligible for restitution and you may not get any settlement at all.
Dell has now claimed it will change how it does business within the guidelines of the aforementioned suit, such as :
- Dell will NOT submit your information to a collecting agency for late payments if you claim a debt as invalid withsupporting documentation to back it up.
- Dell will mail rebate payments in much more reasonable time frame that will be communicated to the customer. If no time frame is disclosed, it is considered to be thirty(30) days.
- Dell is to provide means for all customer complaints in the form of mailing address, email address, and fax in phone numbers.
- Dell CAN NOT claim that it provides on-site customer service or support unless it first clearly state that the customer must go through telephone-based support FIRST.
- Dell MUST be specifically clear about its credit offerings. All terms and conditions, minimum monthly payment requirements, interest charges, financing charges, and penalties MUST be clearly stated to the customer.
Many customers that have experienced the issues surrounding all of this may breath a sigh of relief and hopefully put in their claims. There aren't any supporting evidence that tells exactly how many customers may have been affected by the business practices of Dell. But hopefully the $1.5 million set aside for restitution will return to rightful owners.