Fri, Jul 31, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Dell in the doghouse over consumer rights lapses

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Government yesterday fined computer giant Dell NT$1 million (US$30,000) for failing to protect consumer rights.

The fine came after the US firm mislabeled items on its Web site at steeply discounted prices and then refused to honor sales.

That violated Article 58 of the Consumer Protection Act (消費保護法) Yeh Chin-yuan (葉慶元), commissioner of Taipei City’s Law and Regulation Commission, said yesterday at Taipei City Hall, urging the company to offer a better compensation plan.

“The NT$1 million fine is not much when compared with the total loss to consumers, which was about NT$80 million. We will keep fining Dell if it fails to show sincerity and Dell should not take our determination lightly,” Yeh said.

Taipei City Consumer Protection Ombudsman Chen Po-ching (陳柏菁) said the commission had suggested Dell give consumers a 15 percent to 25 percent discount on the mislabeled products, but the company had refused.

Dell fueled consumer anger on June 25 when it refused to honor purchases after more than 26,000 people bought a 19-inch LCD monitor incorrectly priced online at NT$500.

A second blunder occurred on July 5 when Dell’s online store listed a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop at NT$18,558, a huge saving on the usual price of NT$69,000.

Dell issued a NT$1,000 discount coupon to customers who placed orders for the monitors, and gave a NT$20,000 voucher to those who bought the laptop.

Chen said 1,400 consumers have filed complaints with the ombudsman’s office since the first incident and he urged Dell to take responsibility for its mistakes and offer a better compensation plan.

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