The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Dell Australia to court for allegedly misleading consumers about the price of buying add-on monitors to the purchase of Dell computers.

The consumer watchdog alleges that from August 2019 to December 16, 2021, Dell Australia made false or misleading representations on its website about the prices of monitors and the potential savings when a monitor was purchased with a computer.

When a consumer selected a Dell desktop, laptop, or notebook for purchase on the Dell website, the consumer was offered the option of adding a monitor during the check-out process. Often, the monitor was shown with a higher price in strikethrough, representing a significant saving.

The ACCC alleges the monitors were not sold for the ‘strikethrough’ price for most of the relevant time and, in some cases, the add-on price shown was more expensive than if the monitor was bought on a stand-alone basis.

“We allege that Dell Australia made false, misleading or deceptive statements on its website to entice consumers to add on monitors to the purchase of a computer by displaying false or misleading discounts,” ACCC commissioner, Liza Carver said.

“These proceedings are also significant because the alleged misleading conduct related to the online marketing of computers and monitors at a time when many families were in Covid lockdown. We know that many consumers turned to online purchases to buy equipment for working and schooling from home,” Carver said.

“While the total number of misled consumers is unknown, we believe many thousands of consumers were sold an add-on monitor which was advertised with a representation that an inflated discount applied.”

The competition regulator is seeking penalties, declarations, consumer redress, costs and other orders.