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OFT forces Dell to change PC contracts

The Office of Fair Trading has forced Dell to change its terms and conditions for consumers buying its PCs and other products.

The OFT said Dell’s terms were unfair to consumers when they bought products over the phone and online.

It has ordered the company, the world’s biggest seller of PCs direct to the public, to separate the terms it offers to businesses and those it offers to consumers.

The OFT identified a number of terms that it considered to be inconsistent with the requirements of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 or The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, and therefore unsuitable for use in consumer contracts.

The OFT said Dell had “agreed to improve the transparency of its agreements with consumers and to take steps to address the OFT's concerns, including separating terms applicable to consumers from terms relevant to business customers only”.

Dell has agreed to change terms which potentially limited its liability for negligence to the price of the product, excluded liability for consequential loss arising out of breach of contract, excluded liability for oral representations not confirmed in writing, and required the consumer to notify Dell of any errors in its confirmation of the consumer's order immediately.

Christine Wade, OFT director of consumer regulation enforcement, said, “Distance selling, be that by mail, phone or the internet, does not exclude businesses from ensuring their contracts are fair to consumers and compatible with the law.

“I'm pleased that Dell has worked with the OFT to modify important aspects of its terms and conditions, such as those relating to time of delivery and liability for faulty goods.”


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