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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. My friend (against my advice) ordered a dell for like $999 computer, printer, monitor all that crap even though they didn’t have any money at the time. Why? Simple the TV ad said 0% financing for 12 months. So they called on the phone and were approved after a credit check. So they get the computer then 3 days later they get a phone call and say they must pay all within 2 weeks or something like a 23% finance charge (I kid you not). Ok no problem, FU Dell and here’s your computer back. Well it wasn’t that simple they refused to send UPS or FEDEX out to pick it up or even reimburse shipping.

    So after hours on the phone and speaking to this supervisor they still refused. I went to Dell’s message boards and posted basically what I posted above and it was resolved. Funny how quick they act when they’re exposed for their tactics.

    This story has a happen ending. They’re coming out tomorrow and I’m gonna show them my mac mini I got like 3 days ago and say this baby is for you. (they have to buy their own.)

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