UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In The Matter of
DELL COMPUTER CORPORATION, a corporation.
File No. 982 3563
AGREEMENT CONTAINING CONSENT ORDER
The Federal Trade Commission has conducted an investigation of certain acts and practices of Dell Computer Corporation, a corporation,("proposed respondent"). Proposed respondent, having been represented by counsel, is willing to enter into an agreement containing a consent order resolving the allegations contained in the attached draft complaint. Therefore,
IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between Dell Computer Corporation, by its duly authorized officers, and counsel for the Federal Trade Commission that:
1. Proposed respondent Dell Computer Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its principal office or place of business at One Dell Way, Round Rock, Texas 78682.
2. Proposed respondent admits all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the draft complaint.
3. Proposed respondent waives:
4. This agreement shall not become part of the public record of the proceeding unless and until it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission, it, together with the draft complaint, will be placed on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days and information about it publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify proposed respondent, in which event it will take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its complaint (in such form as the circumstances may require) and decision in disposition of the proceeding.
5. This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by proposed respondent that the law has been violated as alleged in the draft complaint, or that the facts as alleged in the draft complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true.
6. This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if such acceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules, the Commission may, without further notice to proposed respondent, (1) issue its complaint corresponding in form and substance with the attached draft complaint and its decision containing the following order in disposition of the proceeding, and (2) make information about it public. When so entered, the order shall have the same force and effect and may be altered, modified, or set aside in the same manner and within the same time provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service. Delivery of the complaint and the decision and order to proposed respondent's address as stated in this agreement by any means specified in Section 4.4 of the Commission's Rules shall constitute service. Proposed respondent waives any right it may have to any other manner of service. The complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order. No agreement, understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or in the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.
7. Proposed respondent has read the draft complaint and consent order. It understands that it may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by law and other appropriate relief for each violation of the order after it becomes final.
For the purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:
1. "Clearly and conspicuously" shall mean as follows:
The disclosure shall be in understandable language and syntax. Nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or in mitigation of the disclosure shall be used in any advertisement.
2. "Equal prominence" shall mean as follows:
Nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or in mitigation of the disclosure shall be used in any advertisement.
3. "Total amount due at lease signing or delivery" as used herein shall mean the total amount of any initial payments required to be paid by the lessee on or before consummation of the lease or delivery of the computer equipment, whichever is later, as required by Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213, as amended. The total amount due at lease signing or delivery may 1) exclude third-party fees, such as taxes, and disclose that fact or 2) provide a total that includes third-party fees based on a particular state or locality as long as that fact and the fact that such fees may vary by state or locality are disclosed. (Section 213.7 of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213.7, as amended.)
4. "Commerce" shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.
5. Unless otherwise specified, "respondent" shall mean Dell Computer Corporation, a corporation, its successors and assigns and its officers; and each of the above's agents, representatives, and employees.
IT IS ORDERED that respondent, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or any other device, in connection with any advertisement to promote, directly or indirectly, any consumer lease in or affecting commerce, as "advertisement" and "consumer lease" are defined in Section 213.2 of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213.2, as amended, shall not, in any manner, expressly or by implication:
A. Fail to disclose clearly and conspicuously that any advertised lease terms, including but not limited to a monthly payment amount or downpayment, pertain to a lease offer.
B. Make any reference to any charge that is part of the total amount due at lease signing or delivery or that no such charge is required, not including a statement of the periodic payment, unless the advertisement also states with equal prominence the total amount due at lease signing or delivery.
C. State the amount of any payment or that any or no initial payment is required at lease signing or delivery, if delivery occurs after consummation, without disclosing clearly and conspicuously all of the terms required by Regulation M, as follows:
(Section 184(a) of the Consumer Leasing Act ("CLA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1667c(a), as amended, and Section 213.7 of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213.7, as amended.)
For radio advertisements, respondent may also comply with the requirements of this subparagraph by utilizing Section 184(c) of the CLA, 15 U.S.C. § 1667c(C), and Section 213.7(f) of Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213.7(f), as amended. For television advertisements, respondent may also comply with the requirements of this subparagraph by utilizing Section 213.7(f) of Regulation M, as amended.
D. Fail to comply in any other respect with Regulation M, 12 C.F.R. § 213, as amended, and the CLA, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1667-1667e, as amended.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Dell Computer Corporation, and its successors and assigns, shall, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying all records that will demonstrate compliance with the requirements of this order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Dell Computer Corporation, and its successors and assigns, shall deliver a copy of this order to all current and future principals, officers, directors, managers, employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order, and shall secure from each such person a signed and dated statement acknowledging receipt of the order. Respondent shall deliver this order to such current personnel within thirty (30) days after the date of service of this order, and to such future personnel within thirty (30) days after the person assumes such position or responsibilities.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Dell Computer Corporation, and its successors and assigns, shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any change in the corporation that may affect compliance obligations arising under this order, including but not necessarily limited to a dissolution, assignment, sale, merger, or other action that would result in the emergence of a successor corporation; the creation or dissolution of a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate that engages in any acts or practices subject to this order; the proposed filing of a bankruptcy petition; or a change in the corporate name or address. Provided, however, that, with respect to any proposed change in the corporation about which respondent learns less than thirty (30) days prior to the date such action is to take place, respondent shall notify the Commission as soon as is practicable after obtaining such knowledge. All notices required by this Part shall be sent by certified mail to the Associate Director, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Dell Computer Corporation, and its successors and assigns, shall, within sixty (60) days after the date of service of this order, and at such other times as the Federal Trade Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which it has complied with this order.
This order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date of its issuance, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:
Provided, further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this Part as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.
Signed this day of , 19
DELL COMPUTER CORPORATION
BARRY J. CUTLER
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
SALLY FORMAN PITOFSKY
JOAN Z. BERNSTEIN