12 Jan Dell settles state lawsuits; company to pay $3.85 million
Madison, Wis. – Dell, Inc. has agreed to pay a total of $3.85 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 33 states, including Wisconsin, which accused the company of illegal trade practices.
In settling the suit, the Texas-based Dell agreed to compensate consumers but admitted no wrong doing.
Under the agreement, Dell and its subsidiary, Dell Financial Services, LLC will pay $1.5 million in restitution to eligible consumers who file claims postmarked by April 13, 2009.
Dell will pay an additional $1.85 million to the states for reimbursement of legal costs and other expenses, of which Wisconsin will receive $46,666.
The states charged that customers were improperly billed, failed to receive promised rebates, or received promises of warranty services that were never delivered.
“Today’s agreement with Dell requires disclosures to prevent future communication breakdowns and ensures that customers who are owed money are paid,” said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
The investigation was led by Attorneys General in Washington and Connecticut after Dell customers issued several complaints about the company’s practices. According to Van Hollen, some applied for zero-percent financing then were charged higher interest rates. Others had trouble obtaining warranty service on their Dell computers.
It is not known precisely how many consumers in Wisconsin or nationwide may be entitled to refunds under the settlement. Consumers may be eligible for restitution if they have a valid complaint concerning a product that was purchased between April 1, 2005 and April 13, 2009 (and is addressed by the agreement), and if Dell owes them money.
Wisconsin residents who haven’t submitted complaints but believe they are eligible for refunds should make a request by downloading a claim form and filling it out before the April 13 deadline. Consumers also may call 608 266-8940 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays to request a form by mail.
In addition to Wisconsin, the following states participated in the settlement: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Vermont.
A copy of the complaint is available on the state Department of Justice website.