January 14, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri and 33 other states have reached an agreement with computer giant Dell Inc. to address consumer complaints against the company's promotional and customer service practices. Attorney General Chris Koster today said restitution is available to Missouri consumers who experienced problems with the company's financing promotions, rebate offers, technical support and repair policies.
Under the agreement, Dell agrees 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. Missouri will receive $75,000 of that amount.
The investigation into Dell's sales practices began after customers complained about an array of issues, including misleading promotions that promised better financing terms than were actually available. Some applied for zero-percent financing then were charged higher interest rates. Others had trouble obtaining warranty service on their Dell computers. Still others said they were promised rebates but never received them.
"Misleading sales practices like these are not tolerated in Missouri, and I encourage any consumers who have experienced these problems to file a claim with my office," Koster said.
Missouri consumers can download a Dell claim form from Attorney General Koster's Web site, ago.mo.gov or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222. A frequently asked questions page is also posted on the Web site.
In addition to paying restitution to consumers, Dell agrees to change its business practices to: clearly state in advertisements that most consumers will not qualify for the best-available interest rates; fulfill its warranty obligations more promptly; provide consumers all documentation needed to qualify for rebates; and mail rebate checks to consumers more promptly.