Dell Fined by Taiwan Government

Computer giant accused of selling laptops for more than advertised price

Taiwanese authorities on Thursday fined U.S. computer giant Dell US$30,500 for customer rights infringements after it failed to honor an online price offer.

The punishment came after Taipei City Government received more than 1,400 complaints against Dell after it charged customers more than it had advertised on its Web site.

In the most recent incident, the company's Latitude E4300 notebook, which usually retails at 60,900 Taiwan dollars, or about US$1,850, appeared online at less than a third of the price, reportedly prompting bargain-hunters to place up to 100,000 orders.

"Dell was insincere in resolving the disputes and refused to accept the 25%-off compensation deal advised by the city government," said Chen Po-ching, the city's senior consumer rights official.

Municipal authorities said they would consider imposing repeated fines or even barring Dell from selling its products online if the company fails to provide an acceptable compensation package within two weeks.

Dell apologized to customers for the pricing errors in a statement on its Taiwanese Web site but is yet to comment on the fine.

It will charge customers who placed orders the correct price but has also offered a voucher of 20,000 Taiwan dollars per customer in compensation.

The cabinet-level Fair Trade Commission has also launched a probe into whether Dell is guilty of false or misleading pricing of its products. The company could be fined up to 25 million Taiwan dollars.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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