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Dell gets $6.5m booting for lying to Aussies about hardware prices

Dell has been hit with a fine for misleading Australian customers about the discounts they might get when buying a new monitor with their PC purchase

PC giant Dell is facing a fine in Australia over what authorities say were misleading advertising practices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says that it will be docking the PC maker $10m AUS (around $6.5m USD) for misleading users about the charges for monitors.

Specifically, the ACCC charges that Dell Australia told its customers that if they bundled an external monitor with their desktop or notebook purchase they would receive a discount.

In reality, the monitors were not being sold at a discount and in fact were being offered at a premium in some cases.

"Dell Australia admitted that it overstated the discounts customers received as monitors were not sold for the strikethrough price for most of the relevant time," the ACCC said.

"In many cases, consumers paid more than if they had purchased the monitor as a standalone product."

The case dates back to 2022, when the ACCC first took notice of the way Dell was advertising its hardware add-on options to customers who were looking to buy a laptop, desktop, or notebook PC.

The monitors in question were not bargain pieces of hardware, either. The ACCC presents one example in which the "discounted" item was a high-end Alienware gaming monitor costing $955 AUS.

According to the authorities, Dell was making claims such as having a percentage off or getting a "total savings" when in fact the customers were not getting any savings over purchasing the monitor on its own.

This lead to a federal court case that eventually concluded with the Australian branch of Dell admitting to being less than truthful with customers about the discounts they were getting with their monitor bundles.

A June court ruling concluded that the PC maker had presented "false and misleading representations" about its prices and ordered Dell to issue refunds to those who would go through the process of making a claim.

"This outcome sends a strong message to businesses that making false representations about prices or inflating discounts is a serious breach of consumer law and will attract substantial penalties," ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said of the fine.

"We took this action against Dell Australia because consumers rely on accurate information about prices and discounts to make purchasing decisions."