A senior Taiwanese official said Tuesday that U.S. computer maker Dell Inc. could be fined up to $758,000 if authorities decide the company's handling of its recent online pricing errors has violated the law.
On June 25, Dell's Taiwanese Web site labeled its 19-inch LCD monitors at NT$500 (US$15.16) and 20-inch LCD monitors at NT$999 (US$30.29). In each case, that's about NT$7,000, or $210, less than the real retail price.
Again on July 5, Dell priced its Latitude E4300 notebook at NT$18,558 (US$562), only to correct it later to NT$60,900 (US$1,850).
In each incident, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell refused to honor the massive orders placed online by consumers but instead offered a NT$1,000 (US$30) discount for the LCD monitors, and a NT$20,000 (US$600) deduction for the laptop.
Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission Deputy Chairman Wu Hsiu-ming said authorities would determine whether Dell has violated the Fair Trade Law by failing to deliver orders as advertised.
"If we find Dell to have broken the law, the company could be fined NT$50,000 to NT$25 million," Wu said. In U.S. dollar terms, that's between $1,500 and $758,000.
Calls to Dell's Taiwan office rang unanswered. Dell's Taiwan general manager Terence Liao on Tuesday told the United Evening News that the company is trying its best to deal with the situation.
Dell's reluctance to deliver the wrongly priced orders has drawn a huge wave of criticism from Taiwanese Internet users and the media.
"Two major mistakes within 11 days have shown that there is a grave problem in Dell's Taiwan office management," the mass circulation Apple Daily said Tuesday in an editorial. "Refusing to deliver the wrongly priced orders is really hurting (Dell's) reputation."