A New York judge said on Tuesday that Dell Inc. falsely advertised its promotional credit financing and warranty terms to customers.
In his ruling, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi said Dell was engaged in repeated misleading, deceptive and unlawful business conduct, including false and deceptive advertising of financing promotions and the terms of warranties, fraudulent, misleading and deceptive practices in credit financing and failure to provide warranty service and rebates.
Teresi had ordered a special investigation to determine how many state customers the computer maker should repay, and how much it should return to them.
The decision says Dell denied customers technical support they were entitled to under their warranty or service contract, in part, by repeatedly failing to provide timely onsite repair and pressuring consumers to make repairs themselves.
The ruling was announced today by New York Attorney General Anthony Cuomo, who filed the suit against Dell in 2007. At the time the lawsuit was made, a Dell spokesperson said the customers were the company's top priority, and it had six million transactions in New York between 2003 and 2006.
However, Cuomo said in May 2007 his office had received 700 complaints against Dell and they were still coming in.
For too long at Dell the promise of customer service was a bait and switch that left thousands of people paying for essentially no service at all, Cuomo said in a statement.
We have won an important victory that will force Dell to live up to its responsibilities and pay back its customers for profits that were pocketed but not deserved. This decision sends an important message that all corporations will be held accountable for the promises they make to consumers.