Australian Federal Court orders Dell to refund affected customers

In November of the preceding year, Dell was prosecuted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for misleading consumers with deceptive discounts. Allegedly, from at least August 2019 to December 16, 2021, Dell beguiled consumers into purchasing additional monitors for their computer purchase on the Australian official website by showcasing fraudulent or misleading discounts.

Recently, the Federal Court of Australia decreed that Dell, having made “false or misleading representations” on its official website, is obligated to issue refunds (in full or in part) to the affected clientele. Dell has reportedly agreed to issue refunds or compensation to more than 4,250 impacted customers. During the period from August 2019 to December 16, 2021, these consumers paid over two million Australian dollars while adding additional monitors during their purchases, leading to sales exceeding 5,300 monitors.

The Federal Court of Australia has also disclosed relevant court documents. When opting to purchase desktops or laptops on Dell’s official website, several compatible monitors would be suggested, along with the option for bundled sales, displayed as discounted. Typically, a higher price struck out would be displayed, emphasizing a substantial discount if bought in tandem with the desktop or laptop. Dell admitted that these monitors seldom sell at the stricken-out price. In certain instances, consumers paid more when adding an extra monitor for bundled purchase than when buying the monitor separately.

The Federal Court of Australia asserted that pricing and discounts are pivotal differentiating factors in a consumer’s decision on product quotes. This case highlights the significance of retailers exhibiting a truthful “original/current” price, and ensuring that the displayed prices are honest and accurate. The Court further noted that it is impossible to ascertain the exact number of customers affected by this misleading pricing mechanism. As of now, Dell has not been penalized for this matter, which will be addressed in a forthcoming hearing.