Dell trips over printer cable
Ads watchdog says firm breached 'truthfulness code'
Computer maker Dell has been rapped by the UK advertising watchdog after failing to include an essential cable in one of its PC and printer bundle ads.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint from a reader who spotted the ad in a Dell newspaper insert.
The advert in question claimed that the Dell Photo All-in-One Printer 926 offered an "affordable" solution for customers with text underneath the £59 price stating "Incl. VAT".
However, the advert failed to point out that the price did not include an essential £14 printer cable which would be needed to connect the printer to a PC.
Dell argued that it does not supply cables as standard with printers on the assumption that many customers would have one already.
But the ASA ruled that, given the significant added cost of the cable, the direct PC giant had misled customers with the advert.
It found that Dell had breached the ASA "truthfulness code" and said in a statement:
"We considered the ad gave the impression that the printer could be used in conjunction with a computer without the purchase of any further equipment and that the natural expectation among customers was that a cable would be included in the advertised price unless the ad specifically stated that it was not."
The watchdog told Dell to clearly state that cables were not included in the advertised prices for printers in future.
Elsewhere in Dell land, one reader told El Reg that the firm has made a "costly printing error" in its own B2B magazine.
Apparently, it states on page 13 of the small business July 2007 issue that a Dimension E520 PC can be bought for £249 including VAT and delivery.
It should of course read, excluding. The computer giant said it would honour the stated price.
However, when our reader phoned back to order seven of the PCs, Dell refused to make the sale. ®