Dell Inc. has agreed to a settlement with states that claimed the computer company made misleading financing and service offers to PC buyers. Dell will pay $3.85 million to at least 45 states, including Alabama, in the settlement. Dell was contacted by the Attorneys General from Connecticut and Washington, representing a larger group of states, last year. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement:
Consumers who sought and believed they received zero-percent financing were then ambushed by high interest rates and fees. Many consumers faced unacceptable obstacles obtaining warranty service on their Dell computers and others said they never received promised rebates.
Under the terms of the settlement, Dell agreed to give customers more information up front about what kind of financing they qualify for and allow them to cancel orders once they review final credit terms. Dell also agreed to mail rebate payments and fulfill warranty obligations within a reasonable amount of time. The settlement requires Dell to tell customers whether they must troubleshoot problems by phone before qualifying for in-person technical support at home. Dell must also justify claims about its customer service. For example, if it wants to use the term “award-winning,” it must have won a customer service award in the past 18 months.
People who bought a computer or service on or after April 1, 2005, and had a problem with a financing offer, rebate or service can file a claim within 90 days with their state Attorney General. In Alabama the claims will be filed with Attorney General Troy King’s office. Alabamians who believe they are owed money by Dell must file a claim no later than April 13th. Claim forms will be available at www.ago.alabama.gov or you can call the Office of Consumer Affairs in the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-392-5658 for more information.
Source: Associated Press
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