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Hot off the Press - NEWS
by Chuck Brown

Dell reneges on 2 hardware consumer rebates on Dimension 8250 desktops
March 12, 2003

Dell has refused to make good on a pair of rebates worth a combined value of $200 to thousands of purchasers of Dell computer hardware, according to reports by the Boston Globe. These purchases were made late last year and the buyers were told that they would receive five rebates worth a total of $710 on each system which sold for as little as $800.

                        

According to a Dell spokesman, the confusion was caused when links to rebates that were targeted to employees at six corporations and faculty, students and the staff at a handful of Universities gained wide exposure after being posted on “FatWalet.com”, a bargain-hunter web site.

Apparently Dell did nothing to halt the buying stampede, because the Rebate Forms said nothing about their exclusive restrictions. Consumers thinking that the $710 in rebates on the inexpensive systems were too good to be true (and it was) called Dell’s customer service before making the purchase and getting reassurances they were indeed eligible.

Ciustomers interviewed said Dell offered the rebates to inflate sales during its 4th quarter, which turned out to be its best ever, and Dell is now reneging on the promised Rebates to keep their record margins up.

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Dell spokesman, Dean Kline, said the rebates had a minimal effect on the quarters financials. He estimated that fewer than 3,000 people would be affected by the company’s decision not to honor all five of the offered Rebates. Revenue at Dell increased 21 percent to US$9.7 billion dollars during the 4th quarter, while net income rose 32 percent to US$603 million dollars.

“Right now we are working as closely as we can with customers to explain what happened and get them the Rebates they are owed as fast as we can” said Kline. Those are the Rebates Dell thinks they should get, though.

While FatWalet.com exposed the rebates, it certainly decisive the customers with the offer information. Dell says it offered three rebates totaling US$510 on the Dimension 8250 desktop computer as part of its faculty, student and staff program. Then separately, it offered a $100 rebate on the same computer to employees at six corporations, and a second $100 rebate on the computer to faculty, students and staff at a handful of undisclosed universities, Those eligible for the rebates, whom Kline refused to identify, were directed to a “private URL” to obtain the rebate forms.

Towards the end of the periods for the rebates, a posting appeared on FatWallet.com saying that the five rebates could be combined. A slew of consumers pounced on the notice and ordered their computers.

As yet, there have been no information if any lawsuits have been or will be filed over this situation. But folkd, there are plenty of ambulance chaser lawyer out there waiting your calls.



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