Claiming its products were not available in retail stores, even though they were being sold at The Warehouse, has helped Dell land in hot water with the Commerce Commission.
The direct-selling PC vendor last week acknowledged a number of breaches under the Fair Trading Act in a settlement with the commission.
The company came to the commission’s attention following complaints from members of the public around issues relating to Dell monitors and misrepresentations about the availability of its products.
According to the commission, Dell marketed its 2007WFP monitors in 2006 as suitable for computer gaming and high-end graphics, when in fact they had an issue known as colour banding, where colours are distorted in computer graphics.
Despite being aware there was an issue with the monitors, Dell failed to notify customers for a six-week period and replaced returned monitors with those that had the same banding issues, the commission said in a statement.
The company is now said to have eliminated the colour banding issue.
In a separate issue, Dell admitted it had made misleading representations in print and television advertising, where the company claimed its products could not be purchased in shops when in fact, at the time of the advertising, Dell products were available at The Warehouse.
It also admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act in relation to offering a ‘free’ upgrade to Windows Vista when a $40 delivery fee was required to obtain the upgrade, as well as promoting an online competition to win a laptop that was only available to Australian customers.
In a statement, Dell’s Sydney-based spokesperson Marty Filipowski said the cases referred to in the settlement with the Commerce Commission related to “a very small number of Dell’s consumer transactions in New Zealand.”
She says the settlement involved six complaints.
“Customers are our top priority at Dell – even one dissatisfied customer is one too many. We remain committed to providing the highest quality products – all the time. We are also committed to providing a positive experience to all of our customers every day, including publishing accurate advertising,” says Filipowski.
Acting director of the commission’s Fair Trading branch, Stuart Wallace, says that in the settlement, Dell has agreed future advertising will set out in clear and unambiguous terms any existing faults with products, the terms and conditions of any of its competitions and the availability of its products.