Dell is currently embroiled in a legal battle in Australia after being accused of deceiving customers with fake discount advertisements.
According to documents shared by the Federal Court of Australia earlier this week, Dell has recently faced litigation relating to the prices it showed on monitors as add-on purchases. The add-ons would appear to have a discount when they were actually selling for full price. Typically, online sales will show consumers an original price and a discount price with the amount they will save by accepting an offer.
However, consumers were not charged a discounted price when purchasing the monitors online. The documents went on to say that most customers paid the original price for the peripheral. Some customers ended up paying a higher price than the original sticker price of the monitor by itself.
The claims against Dell were brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which was able to provide the Australian courts with additional information on the matter. The ACCC detailed via a screenshot Dell product pages that showed the monitors were never a sale item on their own, and that the only way customers could receive a discount would be to purchase another item and then add the monitor on to their purchase. The ACCC claimed this advertisement was misleading to customers.
This might not be clear to those who were only looking to purchase a monitor at a discount and no other products.
While the Federal Court of Australia claims there is no way to tell exactly how many customers were affected, the ACCC has estimated over 5,300 monitors were sold through this add-on advertisement. The court has ruled that Dell must give full or partial refunds to customers who were involved in the matter.
Tom’s Hardware notes there are many ways consumers can verify the legitimacy of sales and discounts online, through online price history websites such as PC Part Picker and Amazon, as well as tools such as CamelCamelCamel. Many publications also follow and verify online product price deals from popular manufacturers.
Dell isn’t the only tech brand that has faced legal trouble in recent times. Meta (formerly Facebook) reached a settlement in April in a class-action lawsuit where it was accused of privacy infringement of its users’ data on its social media arm. The company admitted no fault, but agreed to pay out $725 million in damages. Apple was ordered to pay out a $50 million settlement in January to owners of MacBook laptops sold between 2015 and 2019 that had the notoriously defective butterfly keyboards.
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