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Ethics and LT150/Dell

175 Views 29 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Daniel Hutnicki
I hate to be a party-pooper, but ...

IF the $1,700 were a mistake (a typo), isn't anyone here concerned about the ethics of taking delivery of one? Forget whether or not Dell is obligated to provide the projector (which I'm pretty sure they're not). Just the question of whether it is justifiable to take advantage of what is almost certainly a mistake.

- Marc

p.s. BTW, this reminds me of the Microsoft/CompuServe $400 rebate fiasco. Did folks here run out to take advantage of this too, I wonder?

[This message has been edited by mblank (edited 07-22-2001).]
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If it is a mistake I will not require Dell to sell this unit to me.

But I don't believe it is a mistake - a supervisor authorized my order price and with Dell getting all these calls questioning the price, plus supervisors authorizing the price, it is very doubtful there is any mistake.
I'm sure they are still making money.


aviman33 -

Are you saying that it's ok because they've got money?

- Marc
Early on in this deal I would have considered it to be a pricing error. With the amount of orders that have been placed and even with many inquiring about a lower price more than enough time has been alotted to catch a pricing error. Furthermore, I haev been witness to MANY web pricing errors and 48 hours is the most I have ever seen one run on something that is considered to be a "hot deal". If this was indeed a pricing error it would have been spotted by now and new orders would have ceased. I believe it was pointed out in a different thread that one search engine has reported a price of $2300 so $1700 from dell is most likely not an error, perhaps just a jump on the lowering of the MSRP. IN FACT, I would not be surprised to find that in about 2-4 weeks this is not such a sweet deal after all...

I'm with everyone else here; I hope it's not an error. My question was: What if it is?

- Marc

Speculation.. leading the witness, your Honor.

Objection sustained.



Ken Hotte

[email protected]
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Originally posted by mblank:

I'm with everyone else here; I hope it's not an error. My question was: What if it is?

- Marc
i agree with DRS.

what's the moritorium on bad judgements? i admire people wanting to operate in an ethical fashion, but what if after packaging, and charging for, but not shipping several thousand units., someone at dell realizes..."hey we could come out even better if we just jack the price up $150-200 and say we made an error,its actually supposed to be $2,200 but we'll still cut you a decent discount on it?" are most people likely to cancel their orders or cry foul?

or are they going to say " yeah i thought it was too good to be true, but Dell really seems like they want to do the right thing, and a couple hundred more isn't that much, anyway...not after i've had time to 'close the sale with myself'.

hate to give a major corporation ideas, but ethical dealing is a two way street. and i can just as easily see the other side playing fast and loose.


ckolchakins @hotmail.com

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The thought about "because they have money" doesn't fly at all in my book if that was indeed meant.

That being said they rule of law when it comes to a company selling a product is strictly based on what the market will bear. Anyone who has purchased drugs overseas knows that many of the drugs here priced at X cost may cost 1/3 or less there for the exact same product. Thats only an obvious example.

If one thinks someones costs of goods wheather manufactured or purchased for resale as a finished item has any relation to the cost of the item other than a guideline to judge what the lowest can charge for it I'd like to suggest you need to think about it a bit more. Dell, if a mistake was made, judged what ill will it might create vs all those happy campers that will be thinking about checking Dell's pricing next time they buy something that may have a better margin for Dell.

Dell also probably went back to NEC and said, "look I can move a ton of these for you right NOW or cancel all these peoples orders, how 'bout a better price from you?"

I have purchased I think 3 or 4 computers from Dell so if I let any programmed guilt get to me it was erased by that and the fact that my Dell stock is worth a lot less than I paid for it. I gambled on the stock, they gambled on weather they could make sure they had items listed on the web where they would make money. In this case they will have a lot of happy campers.

I'm not going to go into any long arguement regarding my thoughts. Just stating my opinion.




Lexicon MC1 7.1 system

Radeon Based HTPC

NHT, velodyne & bag end speaker systems

Panasonic, Dish, HDTV recording setup.

[This message has been edited by videohot (edited 07-22-2001).]
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If it is a pricing error, I'll insist on delivery. If they don't, I'll pursue legal action.

This is NOT an ethical question. It is a commercial transaction. No one has tried to conceal anything. Dell is a sophisitcated multi-million dollar corporation which has had the pricing question brought to their attention probably dozens and dozens of times. They have proceded with the sale. We're talking about a commercially sophisitcated entity which has offered a product and offered multiple assurances that the price the product is being offered at is correct. The only thing which would be unethical is if Dell doesn't complete their end of the contract. Because I assure you that this is, in fact, a binding contract. I've scrutinized the terms of service and their pricing policy, and there is nothing to suggest that the offer and acceptance of this product is not binding upon Dell.

Frankly, I'm a little stunned that anyone here would think Dell was not obligated to fulfill its end of the bargain or would think it unethical to expect them to, after coming into the bargain with clean hands.
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As a business person, if I quote someone a price, I stand behind it. I can't go back and change my price after I take an order.
does this work on ebay?

if you let something go at a 'buy it now' price and then have 20 people e-mail you saying they would have certainly paid more for it...is it ethical to go to the winner and say..."sorry made a mistake. you understand don't you, but i won't be selling this to you at that price."

as a small businessman, should that seller be held to a different standard than one as large as Dell?
Certainly, the law says they shouldn't. In my mind, basic fairness says they shouldn't. But everyone does have to follow their own instinct as to what is right and wrong.
Why would dell pull it from the web page though? if it wasn't a mistake? of course, also, why would they continue to sell them once they took them off the web page, i would love to get one also,even have a US shipping address, but they wouldn't accept my platinum amex, something to do with being in Canada, oh well

In the eBay example, the seller intended the lower price, but realized later they could have sold for more. Backing out in that case would be unethical. If somehow the seller had inadvertently left out a trailing zero, however, I think this would be a different case.


Virtually every catalog has a disclaimer regarding typographical errors. To the extent Dell's website is a "catalog", such a disclaimer would be expected by most reasonable people. Now, if they've already charged you and shipped the product, that would certainly be binding.

- Marc

[This message has been edited by mblank (edited 07-22-2001).]
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Many of the problems with the world today is due to the fact that many follow their own instincts of what is right and what is wrong.

Larry -

Actually, I've only been short Dell, never long. And lately, tech stocks give me heartburn both ways!

- Marc
Theprophe: Depending on when/if i get mine, i may not be here to try it out for the 30 days, and if not and i find out a few weeks later it isn't going to work for me, will definately be selling it. going over the border and shipping it from a canadian PO wouldn't be too hard.

if i had the credit available, i'd offer to order an extra one for somebody now.

very premature, i know, but if you want to keep in touch, just in case...

i'm still not sure a DLP is going to work for me, but at this price it's definately worth a look.


ckolchakins @hotmail.com

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Mark - intent doesn't matter in this situation. And the fact of the matter is that Dell does NOT have such a disclaimer in their TOS, which is (arguably) the governing contractual provision.

Just as importantly, Dell would have a difficult time asserting that they did not intend to offer the product at this price once they have been vigorously questioned whether the price is in error and have issued verbal guarantees.

I've been fairly actively involved in cyberlaw issues, and I'm very surprised at Dell's TOS. They don't offer much in the way of protection to Dell. At this point, people have a right, ethically and legally, IMO, to expect delivery.

Additionally, you're anaolgy to a catalog is inapposite. The proper analogy would be this: A mail order company prints a catalog which has a misprint. You call the company and ask if the price is correct. Many other people do the same thing. The sales people check with supervisors, and issue verbal guarantees that the price is right. They take your order and place a hold on your credit card. They issue an order number and give you a delivery date. That company, in a similar position to Dell, is also bound, IMO.

[This message has been edited by lmo (edited 07-22-2001).]
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