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Slapped wrists for Dell and Micron over ads

Feds take dim view of hidden leasing details

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Dell Computer and Micron Electronics have been scolded over misleading PC leasing ads. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged that the two direct sellers’ adverts violated federal laws. Its complaints covered Dell's Internet ads stating that users could buy a new PC via low monthly payments. What the ads failed to show was that payments applied to a lease and not to a purchase. In addition, the FTC claimed that Dell's TV and Web ads failed to clearly display the offer’s Ts&Cs. Micron Electronics was in trouble for failing to show enough information about lease costs, or even omitting the information altogether, in its magazine, newspaper and Internet ads. Both companies yesterday settled the Commission's grievances, agreeing to provide customers with "clear, readable and understandable" information in their PC lease ads, according to the Wall Street Journal. They were instructed to only refer to lease charges if also stating in the ads the total amount due when the lease was signed. No cash fines were involved, but any future offences could result in an $11,000 civil penalty per violation, said the FTC. Dell told InfoWorld Electronic the charges were: "Relatively minor and isolated, and they were easily addressed." ®

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