back to article Taiwan consumer org 'froze' Dell bank account

Taiwanese authorities froze one of Dell's bank accounts for two days during a consumer law suit about pricing fiascos, local media report. The account lockdown was part of the fallout after the company's Taiwanese online store incorrectly priced 19-inch LCD monitors at only $15, instead of $148. Twenty-inch monitors were also …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For once I agre with Dell.

    Mistakes happen. if their site had a disclaimer it should not have been a problem.

  2. Rob Farnell
    WTF?

    If an online betting company does this...

    they can revoke the bet citing a mistake has been made and all bets are off for the odds provided.

    If the goods haven't been delivered yet, the issues are comparable. If however Dell had processed the orders and delivered and then noticed the price problems, then they should honour the contract.

    They could have PR'd it up as some sort of prize extravaganza, but instead took a hard line that I don't necessarily disagree with.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they obliged to honour...

    ...such an obvious mistake?

    Most countries take the price on display as an "invitation to treat", and it is up to the seller to accept your offer of money. So in places, their is no obligation on the part of the seller accept your offer.

    It's slightly trickier if the payment has been taken and accepted (thus contract formed) but even then the seller and claim an obvious (i.e. gross) error and return the funds; although the seller may not do so as a gesture of goodwill.

    If they had been 25% off (or some or "reasonable" amount), then Dell would have been well and truly stuffed; but 90-ish%? Yer havin' a larf, you are.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Whatever happened to "E&OE"?

    Doesn't that apply on the web or something? Is every bleeding typo now magically transformed into a legally binding commitment just because it's on the internet?

    A big "Bah humbug" to the opportunist something-for-nothing lottery mentality.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    Err?

    "The refusal by Dell to take its mistakes on the chin and sell the ordered goods at the displayed prices has caused damage to its reputation in Taiwan."

    You're you trying to tell me that somewhere in this world Dell's reputation is something other than toilet water?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the other hand...

    ...if they were TN panels, than $15 is about right.

  7. Kwac
    FAIL

    @Ac 14.30

    The website is offering you a contract.

    If you agree to buy at that price the contract is completed.

  8. Alexander Kaye
    Unhappy

    Contract

    Since the prices were - if the article is correct - so obviously wrong the contract can be invalidated by Dell. No normal member of the public would have thought that the prices were genuine, hence the huge amount of goods sold at the wrong price.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Ian Ferguson
    Welcome

    Disclaimers and E&OEs

    Disclaimers and E&OE wording apply to advertising (at least in this country). If Dell ADVERTISE a TFT panel at $15, they are quite welcome to deny sales to anybody who turns up and demands one at that price.

    However, if they SELL a TFT panel for $15, which has happened in this instance, it's a different matter. The contract has already been made, and one half of it has been completed (the purchaser has transferred money to the seller). Dell are then required to fulfill their part of the contract.

    I quite like the fact that Taiwan's consumer panel has that kind of teeth, though. Please can we model the EU's powers on this? We'll see how far Microsoft and Intel get with their continued monopolisation and refusal to pay fines to the EU :)

  11. Jon Green
    Thumb Down

    Talking heads

    Does anyone here actually know Taiwanese consumer law well enough to gainsay the Consumer Protection Commission, or are you all just blowhards?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Kawc

    Is that Taiwan law?

    In most places the site is showing an "invitation to treat".

    Your proffering of wonga is the offer.

    Accepting your wonga form the contract.

    (Well, crudely pseaking, that's how it is in the UK)

    But Taiwan, I dunno. Do you? Or are you basing your statement on the average person's complete misunderstanding of law?

  13. matt 83
    FAIL

    RE: betting sites

    In the UK (and probably most countries with a similar legal system) betting contracts are NOT legally enforceable anyway. The only reason bookies ever pay out is that people wouldn't bet with them if they didn't.

    Sure a price on a website is only an "invitation to treat" but that means they can only say "sorry sale cancelled we cocked up" they can't say "oh wrong price... that'll actually be another £100"

    it's the offer at a higher price that's an issue.

    If doing that sort of thing was OK then everyone would advertise one price and then sell at another and it would be chaos!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @matt83

    > If doing that sort of thing was OK then everyone would advertise one price

    > and then sell at another and it would be chaos!

    According to Trading Standards, this is actually legal, as I found much to my annoyance when I complained about Tesco selling products online at 30% above the advertised price. Apparently the "contract" is only considered to have been completed when they put your shopping through the till and not when you submit the order, and there's apparently no obligation to inform you that the price has changed as long as they include a disclaimer anywhere on their website - whether or not you can actually find it.

    Vive le consumer, and all that.

  15. David Neil
    WTF?

    @ Matt83

    "In the UK (and probably most countries with a similar legal system) betting contracts are NOT legally enforceable anyway. The only reason bookies ever pay out is that people wouldn't bet with them if they didn't."

    The 2005 Gambling Act states that gambling contracts are now legally enforceable as ordinary contracts and thus subject to the same rules and procedures that apply to any other contract.

    Despite what the bookies may claim, you can enforce it - true they will invariably claim a palpable error and refer you to IBAS, but you CAN take them to a small claims court if you really want to push the point.

  16. Chris C

    re: Disclaimers and E&OEs

    "However, if they SELL a TFT panel for $15, which has happened in this instance, it's a different matter. The contract has already been made, and one half of it has been completed (the purchaser has transferred money to the seller). Dell are then required to fulfill their part of the contract."

    Actually, if they corrected their typo within eight hours, they most likely did not SELL anything. Customers may have PLACED ORDERS, but that is quite different than selling. Before a placed order becomes a sale, the seller must process the order and take payment. Neither of those steps is alleged to have occurred in this case. The customer offered their credit card information, but that does not mean that any money was transferred. It just means that the purchaser has given the seller authorization to procure the funds from the purchaser's account. Before money is transferred, the seller must process the transaction with a CC processor, and must "batch" the day's transactions. If either of those steps is not taken, then no money is transferred, and thus there is no sale.

    In your scenario, where the contract is completed as soon as the purchaser places the order, then the seller would be obligated to ship the merchandise even if the purchaser's credit card is rejected (for example, due to insufficient funds).

    I hate Dell as much as the next guy, but they are "in the right" here, morally if not legally (in Taiwan).

  17. Chris Mellor 1

    Bank account freezing responsibility

    This note was emailed to me:

    "The consumer organization didn't file the suit against Dell in Taiwan yet. The litigation (in question) was brought by some of the consumers who has completed the transaction by transferring the money into Dell's bank account after they ordered the goods online. The bank account they wired the money also happened to be bank account Dell uses to pay some of the suppliers, which is really odd in terms of financial arrangement."

    Chris.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Bollocks

    They advertised a price. This is not online betting; it's "I have item X, you give me Y, item is yours".

    I'm not sure what confuses most of the commentators, but that is the premise at stake here.

    It's not unlike the consumer electronics companies to sell a warehouse full of kit at a greatly reduced price (I have gotten a 32" TV at almost 85% discount before, from an in-store sale). So I don't have a problem with people believing that there could have been a mass stock clearance prompting a reduction in price. Yes, it's a little high for one-off purchases but believable? Certainly.

  19. The BigYin
    FAIL

    @Bollocks

    Another person who has no clue on how the law works in most parts of the world. I despair, I really do.

    The price is an "invitation to treat". Go look it up!

    (Of course, Taiwanese law may differ. Does anyone know?)

  20. Chris Mellor 1

    Police froze Dell account

    More details have emerged in a mail sent to me: "The bank (froze) the account based on the request from police. It is a common practice of fraud case in order to prevent the potential criminal transferring the money away"

    Chris.

  21. DennisCB
    WTF?

    Nice one

    Of someone was to sell me something at a price then increase the price i would not be amused. If Taiwan was to do nothing i think every company over there would be at it. Slapping the first company will always ensure the problem remains an isolated one

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