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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Reaches Settlement with Dell
Settlement Resolves Investigation Over Financing Promotions,
Rebate Offers, Technical Support and Repair Policies

BALTIMORE, MD (January 12, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with consumer protection agencies from 33 other States, entered into a settlement with Dell, Inc. and its subsidiary, Dell Financial Services, LLC (referred to collectively as “Dell”) that addresses the company’s financing promotions, rebate offers, technical support and repair policies.

The Attorneys General alleged that Dell promoted zero-percent financing programs but consumers were charged higher interest rates. The Attorneys General also alleged that Dell failed to adequately disclose terms that consumers needed to meet to obtain rebates, as well as limitations on the technical support they received and Dell’s repair policies. Dell admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to settle the investigation and to pay $1.5 million in restitution to eligible consumers.

“Consumers who purchase computers from Dell need to know all of the material terms of their purchase, including what they will need to pay and what services they are paying for,” said Attorney General Gansler. “I am pleased that as a result of this settlement, Dell has agreed to change its practices.”

Under the settlement reached by the Attorneys General with Dell, Dell has agreed to:

  • Disclose in advertisements for promotional credit offers that the majority of consumers who apply will not quality for the best annual percentage rate (APR), and disclose the range of initial APRs that consumers who are not considered the “most qualified borrowers” are likely to receive;
  • Inform consumers considering applying for promotional financing of the terms of the financing, including that the application is for a revolving open credit account, that minimum monthly payments are required and that approval of the account does not guarantee that the consumer will also qualify for conditional financing promotions (such as zero-percent interest for 90 days);
  • Disclose whether phone-based troubleshooting or remote diagnosis is required before Dell will provide on-site repair or warranty-related service;
  • If a rebate is available, provide the necessary rebate documentation at the time product is delivered or the service is provided; and,
  • Mail rebates within the specified timeframe, or within 30 days if no date is specified.

Consumers who are interested in receiving restitution must file a claim against Dell with the Consumer Protection Division. To request a claim form, consumers may contact the Division by:

  • Accessing the online form at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/dellclaim09.htm
  • Calling 410-576-6569
  • Writing to the Consumer Protection Division, attn: Dell Claims, 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. Consumers who file claims must deliver them to the Consumer Protection Division with a postmark no later than April 13, 2009.
   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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