Dell Australia Facing Legal Action Over Misleading Monitor Pricing

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Dell faces legal proceedings in Australia for allegedly misleading customers about the prices of monitors bought as add-ons for computers. The number of customers affected is unknown but could run into the thousands.

Dell UltraSharp USB-C Hub Monitor - U2421E

(Image credit: Dell)

The case comes from (opens in new tab) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a body tasked with enforcing laws promoting competition and fair trade in the marsupial-stricken country. It claims that from at least August 2019 through December 2021, Dell Australia made false or misleading representations on its website about the prices of monitors and the potential savings when a monitor was purchased with a computer.

This means that when you bought a computer from Dell while on the southerly island continent, you were offered a monitor at a discount, with a higher price shown with a line through it. "The ACCC alleges the monitors were not sold for the 'strikethrough' price for most of the relevant time and, in some cases, the add-on price shown was more expensive than if the monitor was bought on a stand-alone basis," ACCC commissioner Liza Carver said.

“These proceedings are also significant because the alleged misleading conduct related to the online marketing of computers and monitors at a time when many families were in Covid lockdown. We know that many consumers turned to online purchases to buy equipment for working and schooling from home,” Carver continued.

The ACCC is seeking penalties, declarations, consumer redress, costs and other orders from Dell. Dell told Reuters that the issue affected roughly 2,100 customers due to an error involving its internal systems that set prices. This alleged error led to the incorrect monitor pricing displayed to customers.

The company added that its systems would undergo programming updates to prevent these mistakes from happening in the future.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • InvalidError
    Addons and upgrades often costing more than they do when bought stand-alone elsewhere are pretty common. HP charges $270 to upgrade its new laptops from 16GB of DDR5-4800 to 32GB of DDR5-4800 despite a whole 32GB kit costing under $200 retail these days, that is a ~200% markup on the 2nd 16GB DIMM.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    InvalidError said:
    Addons and upgrades often costing more than they do when bought stand-alone elsewhere are pretty common. HP charges $270 to upgrade its new laptops from 16GB of DDR5-4800 to 32GB of DDR5-4800 despite a whole 32GB kit costing under $200 retail these days, that is a ~200% markup on the 2nd 16GB DIMM.
    Yeah, the prices on a lot of those build-to-order PC sites tend to be questionable. Oftentimes, the cost to "upgrade" one piece of hardware to another will be around the full price of the higher-end component, ignoring the value of the replaced component that is not going into the system. In many cases, you would be better off buying the base configuration and picking up the upgrades separately, though they are likely marketing them more to people who might not trust themselves to do upgrades on their own.
    Reply