Mon, Aug 03, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Dell glitch puts notebook at more than US$26,000

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

US computer giant Dell Inc’s online Hong Kong retail store experienced a glitch on Saturday night, resulting in the price of its Inspiron 13-inch laptop switching from HK$6,690 (US$860) to HK$206,699.

The incorrect price remained online for a few hours before the company withdrew the laptop model from the site. Yesterday the laptop was not listed on the site under the Inspiron product family.

The online price switched at around midnight on Saturday. Internet shoppers who clicked on the notebook model on the simplified Chinese version of the site saw the incorrect price.

Saturday’s glitch was the third time the company has experienced problems with its online stores in the past three months. The other two glitches occurred on the company’s Taiwan Web site.

On Thursday, Dell was fined NT$1 million (US$30,500) by the Taipei City Government for violating the rights of consumers by refusing to honor sales obligations on misquoted products and offering insufficient compensation.

The first glitch occurred on June 25, when Dell Taiwan’s 19-inch liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors were priced on the company’s Web site at NT$500 rather than NT$7,500.

Just 10 days later, Dell again experienced problems with its Web site when its E4300 laptop, which sells for NT$69,000, was priced at NT$18,558.

The Taipei City Government said Dell’s compensation to shoppers attracted by the bargains was insufficient.

Dell issued NT$1,000 in-store vouchers to customers who placed orders for the monitors and NT$20,000 vouchers to those who bought the laptop.

Taipei City Consumer Protection ombudsman Chen Po-ching (陳柏菁) had suggested Dell offer consumers a discount of 15 percent to 25 percent on the mislabeled products. Dell rejected the idea.

More than 1,400 consumers have filed complaints with the ombudsman’s office since the first pricing glitch.

Taipei City cited Article 58 of the Consumer Protection Act (消費保護法), arguing that the company’s compensation was insincere.

Yeh Chin-yuan (葉慶元), head of Taipei’s Law and Regulation Commission, said on July 26: “If Dell continues to demonstrate insincerity and keeps making disappointing computer mistakes, the government does not rule out the possibility of shutting down Dell Taiwan’s online store permanently.”

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