Dishonourable Dell Advertising

  Brian1972 21:09 24 Oct 2008

I get 'eflyers' from Dell, being a valued customer. In todays email, it advertises a particular entry-level Laptop for £329.
It quotes the Processor/Ram/HDD/DVD Writer.
Follow the link in the email to the Dell website, and you cannot build this laptop, even by deselecting some of the 'options', the price is £399.
I called their Sales line, to enquire how to get the advertised Laptop for £329.
I was asked to forward the email to the Sales Rep, after another few minutes I was informed that it was an error in offer, and they will not honour the price for that spec of laptop.
In the small print, there is no 'E&OE' clause.
Are they not legally obliged to honour the advert ?
It's not a Text based email, it's HTML with picture adverts, someone designed the advert, and someone else must have authorised it's release.
They did not follow-up their email offer, with an expanatory email stating that is was not really available, which surely would have been the correct course of action.
Being a previous customer, twice, and working for a Global company which sees fit to buy Dell, I'll be doing my damnest to make sure no-one I know ever buys Dell again.

  Totally-braindead 21:11 24 Oct 2008

I appreciate it annoys you but "doing my damnest to make sure no-one I know ever buys Dell again" is a bit over the top don't you think?

  GRIDD 21:28 24 Oct 2008

Are they not legally obliged to honour the advert ?

Nope. They don't have to sell you a thing.

  laurie53 21:39 24 Oct 2008

If you do a search you will find that Dell tend to be one of those polarising companies.

Some people swear by them and others wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

I think you've probably just joined me in the latter group.

An advert is simply an "invitation to treat" and has very limited and clearly defined legal standing.

  spuds 22:28 24 Oct 2008

I had a similar pricing problem with Dell a few months ago. Their website stated one thing, which I was unable to buy on-line. Phoned their sales team about the problem, gave codes numbers and voucher discount reference to no avail. After three telephone calls from them, with a supposed final reduction of half price delivery from £60.00 to £30.00, I gave up and purchased a laptop from Ebuyer.

I have purchased a number of items from Dell over the years, but this last experience ??.

  interzone55 22:45 24 Oct 2008

E&OE means Errors & Omissions Exempted and is a catch-all clause in advertisements to protect the advertiser from legal action in cases of genuine mistakes.

These cases often happen when images or prices are transposed, or a offer is withdrawn before the advert appears in the press, or your inbox.

You have to realise that a companies marketing department produces adverts way ahead of their publication date, and sometimes components are not available by the time the advert is eventually published. I know our marketing department has started to send their mail-shots to the Tech Support department for proof reading before publication, because we often found errors in the leaflets after they'd been sent to customers.

Finally, a company DOES NOT have to sell anything to anyone, ever. An advertisement, or point of sale material is merely an "invitation to treat" and does not constitute a legal contract. Any offer can be withdrawn at any time.So providing it was produced with good intentions, and there was no intention to mislead potential buyers, the E&OE clause is valid

  rdave13 22:52 24 Oct 2008

This is suerly not the only experience of advertising from a 'well known' company you've come accross?
Don't dissmiss them, somebody dropped a bo+++ck and as we're all made of the same stuff let it go.

  Forum Editor 23:11 24 Oct 2008

or excluded, and although you say there was no reference to it in the email it makes no difference - Dell didn't have to include an E&OE reference because it would not provide them with protection, it would be considered a generally unfair exclusion of liability.

An advertisement is legally what is called an invitation to treat, and if you respond to it you are making an offer to enter into a contract for a purchase. Before a contract can exist the party making the invitation - Dell in this case - must accept your offer, and it didn't. An error occurred in the pricing on the advertisement, and Dell explained that to you.

That's the end of the matter - you have lost nothing by it, and your comment about ensuring that " I know ever buys Dell again." is an overreaction.

  spuds 10:53 25 Oct 2008

I think its fair to say that the proposed buyer as lost nothing, but Dell may well have in their various advertising techniques.

Talking from a personal point of view, I have purchased many items from Dell over the years, using various marketing codes and special offer discount coding, have have been well satisfied. Some of these methods gave very good returns for the buyer, or for anyone who was aware of these additional (sometimes hidden!) incentives.

Regarding my last experience with Dell sales, it was obvious something was not correct with their selling methods, either on-line or by personal telephone contact with an overseas call centre. On that occasion, Dell phoned me back three times (after considering their previous offer!), and each time I became a little bit more annoyed as to their proposals, because it didn't meet or match what their original advert for a particular laptop model was stating.

In that particular experience, there was no point in Dell offering to reduce the delivery charge from £60.00 (excessive!) to £30.00 as a 'managers special offer' to seal a deal, when at times Dell would have offered free delivery and a free memory upgrade for the original advertised price anyway.

Will I go back to Dell, probably yes if its to my advantage and I can purchase at an advertised existing price (like previously). Perhaps going a step further. I think we all know what happened to Kodak regarding one of their on-line camera offers, which Kodak originally refused to supply or honour. Bad publicity is not good for any company.

  Condom 22:12 25 Oct 2008

Out of curiosity does the FE or anyone else for that matter know if the same is true, if for instance, DELL or any other Company were to be continually found to be doing this? Is there ever a point when error and ommisioms are so many that the adverts could be deemed as false advertising?

  Stuartli 23:33 25 Oct 2008

It wouldn't necessarily be that Dell or any other company could be accused of what "could be deemed as false advertising" - the E and OE will be intended cover type setters' errors as well as incorrectly written original copy.

We all make mistakes at some time or other...:-)

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