The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has chosen Dell Computer as its next target for clamping down on misleading advertising, alleging the direct PC vendor failed to include the price of delivery in its online and offline advertising.
The ACCC alleges the vendor placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Courier Mail and Australian Personal Computer, which misled customers on several fronts.
The Commission alleges Dell failed to indicate the delivery charges for its PCs were compulsory, thus failing to accurately state the cash price of its goods. The ACCC cites section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which prohibits conduct by a corporation that is misleading or deceptive; section 53(e) which prohibits a corporation from making false or misleading representation concerning the price of goods; and section 53C, which requires corporations to state the cash price of goods in certain circumstances.
The ACCC seeks declarations from the court that Dell breached the relevant provisions of the act and seeks assurances the vendor will not advertise in the same way in the future. The Commission is also seeking orders requiring Dell to publish corrections in publications where the advertisements appeared, refunds of delivery charges for consumers that were misled, and the covering of costs.
A Dell spokesperson said the vendor will defend the case vigourously. "The matter is before the courts - all we can say is we would never knowingly mislead a customer," he said.
The matter will appear in the Federal Court, Sydney, on February 7.