deceptive business practices

Judge: Dell deceived customers

May 27, 2008: 5:58 PM ET

By Scott Moritz

Dell's (DELL) customer service isn't so award-winning after all.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Teresi ruled that Dell engaged in fraud, false advertising and deceptive business practices. The decision is a victory for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who brought the case against Dell a year ago charging that the company failed to live up to its responsibilities to its customers.

"For too long at Dell the promise of customer service was a bait and switch that left thousands of people paying for essentially no service at all," Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. "We have won an important victory that will force Dell to live up to its responsibilities."

A Dell representative said the company disagrees with the ruling and feels that it was based on a small number of customers. The company has not decided if it will appeal the decision. 

In a 26-page decision, Teresi outlined deceptive interest-free and no-payment promotions, lengthy rebate payment practices and a lack of promised on-site tech service. The court will hold further proceedings to determine Dell's penalty.

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