Australian watchdog claims Dell deceived consumers, federal court proceedings started

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has initiated federal court proceedings against Dell Australia for misleading consumers about the cost of purchasing an add-on monitor.

ACCC claim Between August 2019 and December 2021, Dell Australia made false or misleading statements on its website regarding monitor prices and potential savings when purchasing a monitor with a computer. gone.

According to the federal court filing notice (pdf), Dell Australia is alleged to have misled consumers by using a “strikethrough” price purporting to be a discount on the monitor price when offered as an add-on to the purchase of a computer.

However, the “strikethrough” price did not match the price at which the related monitor was previously or normally sold.

“This had the effect of exaggerating the discounts that were supposed to be offered to consumers. Moreover, in many cases the price of the monitor presented as an add-on to the purchase of a computer was actually more than the same monitor sold separately. It was more than the price we would have sold it for,” the filing notes. .

“Discounted” pricing statements for add-on monitors on Dell’s website include “Total Savings”, “Includes x% off”, “Discounted Price”, and “Buy this with popular accessories can be purchased at the lowest price.” product. “

“Lawsuits involving misleading ‘previous/current’ pricing allegations by major retailers of consumer goods are a priority for the ACCC. Businesses should be fully aware of legal requirements and have effective compliance programs in place to prevent this type of consumer harm. ” statement.

ACCC alleges Dell has broken Australian consumer law.

The ACCC alleges that Dell committed misleading or deceptive conduct/representations in violation of Sections 18 and 29 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

of maximum penalty A company’s per offense is either A$10 million, three times the profits received, or 10% of the annual turnover of the last 12 months (if the court is unable to determine the profits made from the offense). It’s the big one.

Carver said these procedures are important because allegations of fraud arose when the family was in COVID lockdown.

“We know that many consumers are now buying equipment online for working or schooling from home,” Carver said.

“Thousands of consumers believe they were sold add-on monitors advertised with exaggerated discounts, although the total number of consumers misled is unknown.”

“We initiated these procedures because Dell offered an exorbitant discount to some consumers on monitors they might not otherwise have purchased, or on other items on Dell’s website. Because I’m concerned that I may have added a monitor to my purchase that I could have bought cheaper from the section,” Carver said.

In an email to The Epoch Times, Dell said about 2,100 customers were affected over the course of two and a half years.

“Due to an error in Dell’s pricing process, our website displayed incorrect information regarding pricing and discounts related to certain monitors.

“We are cooperating fully with the ACCC throughout its investigation, working with affected customers to provide appropriate refunds and interest, and taking steps to improve our pricing process to ensure that this type of error does not occur again. is taught.”

Dell Australia added that they are actively working to update their systems to prevent the error from reoccurring.

ACCC seeks penalties, declarations, consumer remedies, costs, and other orders.

Henry Jom


Henry Jom is an Australia-based reporter covering Australian local news. Please contact [email protected]