Dell ad triggers record FTC fine

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Dell Computer Corp. agreed to pay an $800,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it advertised in 1995 a computer system bundled with software that it didn't really have. It was the largest civil penalty FTC ever assessed from an individual company for violating its Mail Order Rule. FTC said Dell advertised its Dell Dimension system as being bundled with a third-party Dell Software Suite, but then shipped computers with a coupon for the software instead of the software. The FTC said Dell violated the Mail Order Rule by soliciting orders for merchandise it couldn't deliver, and failing to offer consumers the option of either consenting to a delay or canceling their orders.

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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