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Dell to Provide Restitution To Eligible Consumers, Pay Fees and Costs
MADISON Consumers who were improperly billed, failed to receive promised rebates, or received promises of warranty services never delivered may be eligible for restitution thanks to a lawsuit brought against Dell by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Dell has agreed to resolve these allegations and those brought by 33 other states by entering into an agreement whereby Dell will provide restitution to Dell customers who experienced problems with the companys financing promotions, rebate offers, technical support and repair policies.
Consumers shouldnt be promised one thing at the time of sale and delivered something else, Van Hollen said. Companies who make representations about price and service need to make those representations clear and hold up their end of the bargain. Todays agreement with Dell requires disclosures to prevent future communication breakdowns and ensures that customers who are owed money are paid.
Under the agreement, Texas-based Dell, Inc., and its subsidiary, Dell Financial Services, LLC, admit no wrongdoing but agree to pay $1.5 million in restitution to eligible consumers who file claims postmarked by April 13, 2009. Dell will pay an additional $1.85 million to the states for reimbursement of legal costs and other expenses, of which Wisconsin will receive $46,666.
The investigation was led by Attorneys General in Washington and Connecticut, who looked into Dells sales practices after customers complained about an array of issues. Some applied for zero-percent financing then were charged higher interest rates. Others had trouble obtaining warranty service on their Dell computers. Many said they never received promised rebates.
For example, one consumer said she made a purchase with zero-percent financing for 18 months and made her payments on time. But the last payment was applied late by Dell. The customer was then billed $668 interest for the entire financing period.
Dell cooperated fully with the Attorneys General during their investigation.
CONSUMER REFUND REQUESTS
It is not known precisely how many consumers in Wisconsin or nationwide may be entitled to refunds under the settlement. Consumers may be eligible for restitution if (1) they have a valid complaint concerning a product that was purchased between April 1, 2005, and April 13, 2009, and is addressed by the agreement and (2) Dell owes them money.
Wisconsin residents who havent submitted complaints but believe they are eligible for refunds should make a request by downloading a claim form at
http://www.doj.state.wi.us/dls/ConsProt/dell_form.pdf. (This form is no longer available)
Consumers can also call 608 266-8940 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays to request a form by mail.
The deadline to submit claims is April 13, 2009.
ADDITIONAL PRACTICES TO PROTECT AGAINST FUTURE VIOLATIONS:
In addition to providing restitution and paying costs and other expenses, Dell agreed to the following to protect against future violations:
FINANCING AND CREDIT OFFERS: DISCLOSURES
WARRANTIES AND SERVICES
ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
In addition to Wisconsin, the following states participated in the settlement: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Vermont.
Assistant Attorney General Lara A. Sutherlin represented the State in this case, and investigative assistance was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
A copy of the complaint is available at: