Dell Price Error/Customer Service

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Feb 3, 2017
Hello, I have read through the forums some and I love the information and advice that the community provide. I have a consumer issue of my own and I'm curious about what you all think?

On January 4th I saw a deal posted on a tech website for an SSD hard drive, regular price $99.99 on sale for $19.99. The sale was on Being a sucker for a good deal (and needing to replace an ailing laptop drive) I immediately went to the website and purchased one hard drive. I received an email confirming my order at around 8pm that evening. I received a shipping confirmation the next day (1/5) at 5pm. My card was charged on 1/8 for the $19.99 purchase price. The drive was due to be delivered on 1/11 or 1/12. On 1/9 I checked the UPS website and found the status to show that they had updated my delivery information. Confused I called UPS and they informed me that the the sender had changed the delivery address.

I called Dell and calmly explained my issues. Over an hour and a half on the phone I was told that the price listed on the site was an error and they were cancelling my order. I explained on the phone that I would understand pricing issues and would be happy with a comparable solution. The best they could offer was a different hard drive for $10 off (still $10-20 more than other sites prices). I told them that that was not a good enough solution for me, they said they would check with their supervisor and get back to me ... they never did.

I continued to track the UPS information and they had actually shipped it to my city (Portland, OR) and then intercepted the package and ended up shipping it to a different Dell facility. The package never made it to my house and was never in my possession.

Up until yesterday I had not received any notification from Dell about my order. Yesterday they sent me an email saying that they were processing my requested return and they would refund my money within 7-10 days. So today nearly a month later I have not received any refund for the item that I never actually got.

I am a manager at a major retailer, so I understand that pricing errors happen and you can not always honor them 100%. In every retail establishment I have worked we do our best to take care of our customers though and attempt to make up for our error and give them a good experience in the end. Dell did not seem to care how I felt through this transaction at all. In fact I was told by a representative on the phone that they expect that this won't make people happy but they still couldn't honor the pricing error.

Through a little research I found a number of stories on a variety of sites like this one. Dell seems to have a history of pricing errors on their website. They have been forced to honor some mistakes by other non-US governments/courts.

In the end I understand that even though I don't feel that Dell has handled this error correctly and they have made me want to not be a customer of theirs before it is seemingly their right to handle pricing errors in this way if they want to. The problem though that I am not able to get around is that they still have my money. They should have reversed this charge as soon as they decided to cancel and intercept my order. I made this purchase on a credit card and I have not incurred interest on the purchase. Though it is not a large sum of money, I'm sure others funds are being held as well for larger purchases.

What is a consumer to do in this type of situation? I call Dell and get call centers in various countries. I send emails and get canned replies. I Tweet about my issues to them and get the same. The levels of representatives that I am able to reach on my own don't seem to care at all about the customer perception or inconvenience. For a company that seems to do this often you would think they would learn how to handle it better.

Thank you for any advice you can offer!


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
There's no free lunch, Nick. This is especially true on the 'faceless' Internet. How much time are you willing to spend on this issue? A $100 item priced at $20 is suspect, don't you think? I'd take a chance if I needed it, it might be defective, but if it didn't arrive, I wouldn't be surprised. You can certainly email the executives at Dell, one at a time, to ask for the compensation that you desire.
Dec 11, 2016
If they continue to not respond to you, I'd file a claim through the credit card so that you get a refund. Keep your emails and tracking details for documentation, and make sure that you file a claim within the claim period.

As for the package arriving at your city before being redirected, this is actually very common for UPS. Nearly every time I've been involved in intercepting a package, it makes its way all the way to the destination city before being rerouted.
Nov 14, 2016
This is the one type of business error that Elliott tends to forgive. When something is obviously the incorrect price and a consumer tries to take advantage of it, there's not much sympathy to be found on this board. Dell is not obligated to complete the order in the US and the cases that you read about happened in Taiwan, Australia and Mexico. Those don't apply here.

It's likely since it had shipped that they needed to get it restocked before the computer would process the refund. That's not ideal but that's the way sale systems work. You've gotten your email that the refund will be processed within a week or so. Wait that period and check your credit card. If it's been processed then there is no action needed and you have suffered no damages. If it hasn't been processed then start the dispute process with your card.