Earlier this month Dell’s Taiwanese online store inadvertently began selling $150 LCD monitors for $15, and repeated the mistake roughly a week later by pricing a $1,900 notebook at around $600. As you might expect, both cases triggered an influx of orders before the company could detect the issues. Dell apologized and while not outright offering to honor sales, it promised “reasonable discounts” to those who ordered the incorrectly-priced products. Naturally, complaints ensued.
Now Taiwanese authorities have levied a fine against the Round Rock, Texas-based company for alleged customer rights infringements. Chen Poh-ching, the city's senior consumer rights official, said Dell must pay NT$1 million in accordance to Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law. While that converts to roughly $30,000 U.S. dollars – a mere fraction of what it would cost them to make good on the orders – authorities said they would consider imposing repeated fines or even barring Dell from selling its products online if the company fails to provide a more satisfactory compensation package within two weeks.
The PC behemoth would not reveal how many orders it received at the erroneous prices, but it’s been estimated that 26,000 people placed orders for nearly 140,000 displays and that 14,943 orders were received for a total of 49,884 E3400 notebooks. Fair Trade Commission officials have also launched a probe into whether Dell is guilty of deliberately misleading customers and could fine the company with up to 25 million Taiwan dollars.