The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings against Dell Computer Pty Ltd alleging false, misleading and deceptive conduct and failure to state the cash price of goods advertised in newspaper/magazine advertising and over the Internet.

The ACCC alleges that Dell's advertising which appears on its Internet website and in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Courier Mail and Australian Personal Computer:

  • misled consumers by not clearly indicating that incurring the delivery charge was compulsory
  • misled consumers by not indicating how much the delivery charge was
  • failed to state the cash price of their goods by not stating the delivery-inclusive price of the goods in the situation where the delivery charge did not vary regardless of where the consumer was located

The ACCC alleges that Dell Computer Pty Ltd breached section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which prohibits conduct by a corporation that is misleading or deceptive, or is likely to mislead or deceive; section 53(e), which prohibits a corporation from making a false or misleading representation concerning the price of goods; and section 53C, which requires corporations to state the cash price of goods in certain circumstances.

The ACCC is seeking court orders including:

  • declarations that Dell Computer Pty Ltd has breached the relevant provisions of the Act
  • injunctions restraining Dell Computer Pty Ltd from advertising in the same way in the future
  • orders requiring Dell Computer Pty Ltd to publish corrective advertisements in the publications in which the original advertisements appeared
  • refunds of the delivery charges for affected consumers
  • community service orders
  • costs

A directions hearing for this matter is listed for 7 February 2002 for directions hearing in the Federal Court, Sydney.