Iconic PC maker Dell has been fined for misleading customers in Australia. On Monday, The Federal Court ordered Dell Australia to pay AU$10 million (US$6.5 million) for making "false and misleading representations," about discounted bundled monitor prices on its website. Dell Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell Technologies, admitted it had misled customers with its monitor offers.
The Dell PC monitor discount process went something like this:
- A person decides to buy a Dell Computer online
- After adding a desktop or laptop to their shopping cart, some personalized offers were shown
- A range of monitors were listed as add-on-options
- These monitors would be presented in a thumbnail with a current price and a larger price in strikethrough text
- The strikethrough price implied the bundle customer could make "a significant saving" decided the court
- Also the strikethrough prices weren't even genuine representations of previous pricing
- It turns out that the bundled monitor offer prices were sometimes higher than if the monitor was bought separately
Dell also admitted that statements like “Total Savings”, “Includes x% off”, “Discounted Price” and “Get the best price for popular accessories when purchased with this product," were misleading to customers.
If the above sounds somewhat shocking, but familiar, we wrote about the Federal Court's litigation back in early June. At that time Dell was ordered to make refund payments plus interest to every affected customer, as well as paying a contribution to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) costs.
More than 5,300 add-on monitors with overstated discounts were sold by Dell Australia between August 2019 and December 16, 2021.
ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said that action was taken against Dell Australia "because consumers rely on accurate information about prices and discounts to make purchasing decisions." She also warned any company thinking about advertising discounted product prices to ensure accuracy.
Dell's fine could probably have been even bigger if it had not co-operated during the proceedings and admitted wrongdoings with regard to Australian Consumer Law.
Monitor buyers would be wise to check around before agreeing to any bundled discount. We have some updated buying guides for monitor buyers, and regularly scour the internet for the best offers on PCs, peripherals and components.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
Dell breaking the law??Reply
Apparently using U.S. advert tricks doesn't fly in Australia.Reply
Any company breaking the law?NeoMorpheus said:Dell breaking the law??
Magically inflated regular prices to make discounted prices look better are BS. Good thing some places have regulations against falsely marketing fake "regular" prices to make fake "discount" prices that often aren't anything more than the regular retail price feel better than they actually are. There should be more of those and stiff enough penalties to snuff out any profit motive for doing it.Reply
Only a marketing guy looking at his year end bonus would do such a scummy thing.Reply
Standard BlackFriday pricing.InvalidError said:Magically inflated regular prices to make discounted prices look better are BS. Good thing some places have regulations against falsely marketing fake "regular" prices to make fake "discount" prices that often aren't anything more than the regular retail price feel better than they actually are. There should be more of those and stiff enough penalties to snuff out any profit motive for doing it.
was going to say something like this. Sadly happens everywhere with all kinds of merchandise not only IT related.USAFRet said:Standard BlackFriday pricing.
i Think fines are so low every now and then big companies does something like this and just "cooperate" and pays the fine...
Those fines are so ridiculous (those are billion dollar companies after all!), it's almost an invitation to keep doing this scam!Reply
digitalgriffin said:Only a marketing guy looking at his year end bonus would do such a scummy thing.
Everything done would have been fine if the numbers had been right/honest.
Australia seems to prefer the Walmart- style pricing scheme of an "Everyday Price". - Me Too!
Actually pretty impressed that Australia accurately labels their indirect taxation scheme the "Goods and Services Tax" when other governments less accurately label them a "Value Added Tax" which I would argue "implies" that some value was added by the tax.
PEnns said:Those fines are so ridiculous (those are billion dollar companies after all!), it's almost an invitation to keep doing this scam!
I disagree. Only 5300 monitors sold with no estimated consumer loss given (I guess maybe as much as a $100 in bogus "savings" lost for each unit) . There is actually no allegation that consumers "overpaid" for the monitors. I think it is probably good to limit fines to somewhere below 10x the provable damages.
If the fines are allowed to become too large compared to the amount of business involved then the decision making about many things can get very out of whack.