Dell sued over bait-and-switch marketing tactics

“Two Dell customers in California have filed class-action lawsuits against the company for what their lawyers call bait-and-switch marketing tactics,” Michael Singer reports for Internet News. “The complaint alleges that Dell preys on unsuspecting consumers with its scripted sales force, ever-changing ad offers and highly promoted “preferred” rates and “easy” financing packages which, without notice, then are changed to include much higher interest rates and hidden charges. Specifically, the suit claims Dell violates California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the California Business and Professions Code and the Unruh Act.”

“‘Dell offers one low-priced product and then substitutes a higher cost or lower quality item,’ Reed Kathrein, a Lerach partner whose firm is best known for filing stockholder lawsuits, said in a statement. ‘Dell promises ‘easy’ credit but no one qualifies. It then charges unconscionable high interest and other credit charges.’ Kathrein told internetnews.com that Dell responded to the law firm’s initial letter but could not confirm if Dell has seen the legal filing. He also said his office had received close to 100 complaints since August 2004,” Singer reports. “‘We received too many complaints to ignore,” Kathrein said. Dell spokesman Lionel Menchaca said the company would not comment on pending litigation.”

Full article here.

21 Comments

  1. The huge percentage of Dell customers that this lawsuit pertains to are the tight-wade, technically challenged, losers who think that Dell’s next-cheap-ass-product is a real value. As far as Windows PCs go, Dell make some good ones and some garbage and many in betweeen. I would say that Dell probably has a hard time communicating anything to the dim-wits who have to apply for financing for a $400 computer. Their customers may feel like they are getting the shaft, when in all actuality they are just idiots who don’t understand what they are being told until they’ve had time to mull it over for a while. I’m sure any company that deals with as many people as Dell does probably has this same problem. In my opinion, they’re just asking for punishment when they buy a PC, not matter what brand they get. There is no need for them to take out their frustrations on their PC vendor, or is there?

  2. Californians = Dont know there asses from a hole in the ground.

    Just like they complained for getting “overcharged”” for windows. then when the case was settled, knowone even tried to get the money that MS put up for them…Morons people, Morons.

  3. Everyone knows Dell uses bait and switch tactics but if you insist on buying their dirt cheap POS istead of the upgraded POS they want to sell you, you can buy it.

    Even after they tell you the free upgrades and the free printer doesn’t apply to the very low cost POS you want you can still buy that dirt cheap POS.

    Even when they tell you that the free shipping dosen’t apply to the very low cost POS you want and the shipping for your unit is $100 more, you can still buy that dirt cheap POS.

    Dell is a very honest company and Michael Dell is the most respected corporate leader in America.

  4. I don’t know enough about the facts of the case to comment on its merits, but Dell certainly doesn’t need this kind of publicity. No company does, and the fact that they’re even being accused of these kinds of of tactics will damage their reputation. Perception is reality to most people. I’d also caution Dell-haters to guard against gloating, as Apple is in much the same boat with regards to the class-action litigation they’re currently facing. Schadenfreude is a double-edged sword.

  5. Litigation is the REAL national sport in America. It is well known (at least in the Mac Community) that Dell employs these tactics. I don’t respect them for it but I don’t know if they deserve to be sued. Whatever happened to Caveat Emptor? Well, I guess even if Dell wins the lawsuit, the bad PR will stick. And IMHO the bad PR is what they deserve, not the lawsuit.

  6. It never ceases to amaze me how PC users will blame other PC users for their troubles with companies like Dell (see msg from The Duke, above).

    Nobody should have to be a financial expert to order a computer. If Dell says they have a $399 PC, then they should sell one, without all the rebates, added “surprises”, special offers or whatever. It’s not the user’s fault they are not savvy enough to do the interest rate/rebate shuffle. It’s Dell’s fault for praying on nieve people.

    I hope somebody gets a Tabacco Company size verdict from Dell!

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