Dell Could Face Fines For Recent Price Errors

It's been rough times for Dell's Taiwan online branch, as it was ordered by the Taiwan government to honor orders for the erroneously priced 19-inch LCD monitor for $15. Unfortunately, Dell has committed several other pricing errors that customers took advantage of.

Normally, a retailer covers itself with a clause concerning pricing errors. Taiwan's Consumer Protection Commission, however, isn't content to let Dell just walk away from simple pricing errors.

On July 5, 2009, Dell's Taiwan site featured another mispriced product, which predictably was instantly popular with internet shoppers. According to PC World, Dell Latitude E4300 laptop that normally sells for NT$69,000 (US$2,101.34) sat at NT$18,500 (US$563.40) for eight hours on Sunday. The drastically reduced price had 40,000 orders for the laptop.

Dell already canceled all the orders for the products at the incorrect price, and offered to buyers of the LCD monitor a NT$1,000 (US$30.32) coupon. The AP reports that buyers of the laptop received a NT$20,000 ($600) coupon, while PC World wrote that it was a NT$3,000 (US$90.95) coupon.

The coupons aren't good enough for the Consumer Protection Commission. "If Dell's Taiwan office does not have the power to decide this issue, then the top offices at Dell should have to hear the disappointment and indignation of Taiwanese consumers so they will quickly and sincerely come up with a concrete response," the commission said, quoted by PC World.

Dell could actually be faced with fines should authorities decide that Dell broke the law.

"If we find Dell to have broken the law, the company could be fined NT$50,000 [US$1,500] to NT$25 million [$758,000]," Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission Deputy Chairman Wu Hsiu-ming said to the AP.

Dell is now reportedly working with the commission for a solution.

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  • nekatreven
    ouch. I'm sure someone got fired for this one...
  • mikepaul
    I realize there'd be NO Internet shopping if all websites had to conform to "no backing out of a bad price" rules, but the sheer gall of these companies just blythely going "ooops, sorry, order cancelled" hundreds of times a year with no adverse impact makes me happy to see some payback...
  • nekatreven
    Every Dell site I've ever been on has that disclaimer warning they'll cancel orders that result from pricing errors. I know what you mean though...they probably hide behind it. I think the coupon idea they did in this instance might actually be perfect. At least it costs them a little something and the customer gets a little credit :)

    Heh...I've always wanted to find a pricing error and then order and see if I could talk around the disclaimer.

    "No, no... you see my order didn't arise because of the pricing error, I was going to buy the thing anyway! This was just a, a bonus, that appeared when I went to check out..."