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Canadian Court Sides With Dell Against Class Actions

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-less-big-stick dept.

The Courts 127

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that the Supreme Court of Canada has just issued a new online contracting decision that removes the ability for consumers to challenge mandatory arbitration clauses found in e-commerce contracts. (Decision is here.) The case involved a lawsuit against Dell Computer, which refused to sell hundreds of mistakenly priced computers purchased on their website. Dell tried to sidetrack a class action by claiming that all consumers were required to enter arbitration due to a clause buried in its contract via a hyperlink. Geist explains why the ruling may not be as unfavorable for Canadian consumers as it seems at first, in part because some provinces have already passed laws banning e-commerce sites from blocking class-action suits."

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Good idea (1, Insightful)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064715)

A website makes a pricing mistake, all the trolls hop on, then they cry when the deal they KNEW couldn't be true, wasn't true. Well heck, let's just SUE THEM! Thank you for reminding me just how pathetic this society has become.

Re:Good idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064733)

Well look, the Canadians weren't much help in WWII and they still are useless. Unless you like countries that don't have free speech or respect individual liberty.

Re:Good idea (1)

h8god (946430) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064761)

And where do you live where there is free speech and respect for individual liberty?

Re:Good idea (5, Insightful)

HitekHobo (1132869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065019)

And where do you live where there is free speech and respect for individual liberty?
As far from civilization as possible?

Re:Good idea (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065773)

Best answer to any question ever on Slashdot.

Re:Good idea (1)

ElBeano (570883) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068895)

How is this insightful? If you live far from civilization, free speech and respect for individual liberty may indeed be more highly regarded, but they are also less meaningful. Their attached meaning corresponds to the size of the society that engenders them.

Re:Good idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065207)

The US. Where do you live ? If it is the US, probably you don't deserve to. We are the richest most powerful nation in the world. We're so rich even our poor people are fat.

If you want to complain about it, please start with explaining your right to complain. Like "My grandfather died at D-Day" or "My father died in Vietnam". Then you have some fuckin' right to complain.

Re:Good idea (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065669)

Because clearly what some relative of yours did makes you better than everyone else. Sorry, you only get credit for what you do.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065935)

Because clearly what some relative of yours did makes you better than everyone else. Sorry, you only get credit for what you do.

My grandfather was Walt Disney and my Uncle was Sonny Bono you insensitive clod

Re:Good idea (3, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065317)

Well look, the Canadians weren't much help in WWII and they still are useless.

      I dunno, for less than 10% of the US population, Canada seems to manage to hold its own. Also it looks like you've never heard of the 1st Canadian Army, consisting of over 200,000 men in 3 infantry divisions, 2 armored divisions and 2 armored brigades. Those guys only had to deal with crack SS divisions at Caen while the Americans took their sweet time capturing Cherbourg. Guess who won.

      However I shouldn't expect a yankee to know much about history.

Re:Good idea (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065477)

May I also mention that the 10% of the US population captured 25% of the beaches on D-Day? :P

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20066243)

Thats because Canadians took no prisoners! SHOOT TO KILL!

Re:Good idea (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20066395)

Yes, kill the beaches. Great strategy.

Re:Good idea (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067301)

Somebody just got pwned.

LK

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065593)

I dunno about yanks and history, but you're one canuck who doesn't know much about recognizing trolls.

SUCKER!

Re:Good idea (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065607)

Those guys only had to deal with crack SS divisions at Caen while the Americans took their sweet time capturing Cherbourg.

Also the grandparent conveniently forgets to mention WWI where the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge [wikipedia.org] , where the British and French had previously failed. Yanks would also do well to remember which is the only nation to have successfully invaded their country [wikipedia.org] and burn their capital city to the ground.

Re:Flame war about a 200-year-old war? (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066439)

erm... I am not a historian and it's been a while since high school history, but even your reference disagrees with you. Certainly the Canadians fought in the war of 1812 and they clearly held their own, but it would seem that the British burned DC [wikipedia.org] .

Saying it was Canada is like a little kid bragging about how he beat someone up by getting his older brother to do it.

Re:Flame war about a 200-year-old war? (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066541)

...it makes us feel big...

Re:Good idea (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066609)

The Japanese occupied part of Alaska for over a year in WW2. (Western most island, with no trees on it, not a feat anywhere near taking over a capital city.)

Not that I would call that an invasion... but if a statement of "most" or "best" or "largest" changes with the phrasing then it's not all that cut and dried.

Folks who clamor on about the war of 1812 forget that war was against the British, and that Canada didn't have true sovereignty until 1867 (55 years later), previously basically having to send a lot of government decisions to be made by the crown before then. (Earlier French, then later British.)

So, that's like saying "Italy conquered Britain" when it's more accurate to say "Romans conquered Saxon hordes".

The BRITS sacked Washington. Not the Canadians. Canadians just provided the manpower.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065719)

There was a war in Europe?

Re:Good idea (0, Offtopic)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065867)

Canada holds it's own because the US and Britan will back them up when ever needed. I believe it was the good neighbor policy that basically says we will come to the aid of a neighboring country any time they are invaded. This was later extended to south American countries because we didn't like Europe fucking with them. This is how we got messed up in Cuba too.

Now, That being said, the Canadians aren't a bunch of pussies (or weren't). They volunteered to get into WW2 before the US thought it was worth watching. In all the world wars, we have have Canadians fighting valiantly and proficiently and they have kicked some serious ass. Don't let the fact that they have more police officers then army personal confuse anyone.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068461)

This was later extended to south American countries because we didn't like Europe fucking with them

Are you high?

No really.

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20069641)

Why would I have to be high in order to know American history?

The Monroe Doctrine in 1823 set the stage and then the first Roosevelt extended it to the Latin countries with his Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine which eventually got us involved with Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Then eventually, Our strategy ws changed right before WW2 to the good neighbor policy. At the Conference [u-s-history.com] for the Maintenance of Peace in Buenos Aires in 1936, the American nations agreed to mutual consultation if there was a security threat to any of the nations within the hemisphere.

Now this mainly stands for invasions from countries outside north and south America invading America's but it is there. Also to point, with the cold war, there had been many many other policies as well as treaties that attempt to show the same willingness of intervention. Have you ever wondered why countries like Germany never set eyes on the Americas? I know there were plans and people argue over their actually intentions as well as the threat it would have imposed, but outside that there really hasn't been any threat of Europe on the Americas since before the late 1800s. It might not be in the same shape as it was, but it is there and was there.

History lesson (0, Offtopic)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066223)

Uhh, the last time there was a war between Canada and the USA, Canada won and burned the White House down. That is why the White House is painted white - to hide the soot marks. This is pretty funny really, but I guess this little bit of history won't be part of US public school education...

Re:History lesson (0, Offtopic)

ianare (1132971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066373)

I guess this little bit of history won't be part of US public school education...
... and rightfully so since:

1) The War of 1812 [wikipedia.org] was between England and the USA (Canada as a country didn't exist yet)

2) The White House was always a "white house", even before the war. Furthermore it was almost completly demolished during the fire [wikipedia.org] , and took much more than a paint job to fix.

Re:History lesson (0, Offtopic)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066531)

Of course, I'm poking fun at you, but Quebec also drove two US assaults back on its own. The US as a country also didn't quite exist back then...

Re:History lesson (0, Offtopic)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066697)

Oh, not to forget all the Whiskey Wars between the Hudson Bay Company and the US traders!

Re:Good idea (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066579)

Well look, the Canadians weren't much help in WWII and they still are useless. Unless you like countries that don't have free speech or respect individual liberty.
Well... Glad you thought that through. Well the case didn't go through. If this was America Dell would have to pay up. Bunch of self righteous ...

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068479)

Well look, the Canadians weren't much help in WWII and they still are useless.

At least they turned up for it on time.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064789)

Lets put it this way... if Dell found a bug that was overcharging customers do you honestly think they'd pay back all the money to the customers they rightfully owed? Probably not. The law cuts both ways, if Dell let a pricing bug in their system GO LIVE, then they are obligated to honor those contracts.

Of course, we could just go back to dealing with customers face to face instead of clicking 'Buy Now!' on a website if you want to make sure you (as a company) are not being scammed.

Re:Good idea (1)

QuaZar666 (164830) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064863)

I would be all for that if that was the case, but its not. For example lets say Target has a 52" TV on sale for $200 at the Store according to the local Ad, but when you get there they say that the ad is wrong and that the actual price is $2000. The same way as no one would buy the same TV for $20,000, and Target would correct it. Now you can try to sue all you want, but Target is not going to sell you that TV, mistakes happen on prices.

Re:Good idea (3, Interesting)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065657)

In Australia, stores are bound by law to give the customer the lowest price.
If they print it wrong on in a magazine or on the net then its the stores fault and the customer gets the cheaper price.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065787)

What if the printer printed it wrong and not the store? Does the store get screwed?

Re:Good idea (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069757)

What if the printer printed it wrong and not the store? Does the store get screwed?

i presume that the store would then be able to sue the printer for damages over it.

Re:Good idea (4, Informative)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065883)

Unless new legislation has passed since I was there last, this isn't true. It's true for sundries and food below $50 or $100. It certainly does not apply to electronics at AU$1000, or to my knowledge, to electronics at all.

Websites are not responsible for pricing errors as long as it's caught prior to completion of the transaction. The key there is completion of the transaction--that's not when you click "buy" or when your card is authorized for the amount. It's when the product is invoiced and has shipped. If they don't catch it in that time, you're clear. But 99% of the time, they catch it between ordering and invoicing (most companies review invoices before issuing them for just this very reason since the process up until that point is wholly automated).

If such an error occurs after an order is placed, they will contact you. You can choose to accept the higher price and continue, cancel the order, or seek some sort of comp/freebie for the trouble. Just like you don't create a contract when you place an offer on a house or call in an order at a restaurant, clicking "buy" on a website doesn't complete a contract. It initiates one. For example, if your card is declined or if the product is out of stock, that's the end of it. A contract is not in place until your money has been taken (not merely authorized) and an irrevocable invoice for a product has been provided to you.

Re:Good idea (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064877)

if Dell found a bug that was overcharging customers do you honestly think they'd pay back all the money to the customers they rightfully owed?

If a customer saw the higher price and agreed to buy anyway, Dell would not owe anything.

Re:Good idea (3, Interesting)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065009)

Actually to be fair, in canada we have something called the consumer protection act that has this wonderful clause that companies are obligated to correct billing errors brought to their attention during the 90 days following the invoice date.

Note: BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION DURING THE 90 DAYS

This is why service providers here in canada try to keep people in the run around as much as possible as once its over 90 days, they do not HAVE TO DO A BLOODY THING....even if it was incorrect.

Now one thing i do NOT know is how much case law is out there that contests this, but i know for a fact a certain cellphone provider here banks on this as their margin inflator.

Re:Good idea (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065553)

BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION DURING THE 90 DAYS

but i know for a fact a certain cellphone provider here banks on this as their margin inflator.

I don't see how. If you bring something to their attention during the 90 days, and they give you a run around that extends beyond it, that doesn't change the fact that you brought it to their attention during the 90 days.

Re:Good idea (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065799)

Exactly. Just like warranty issues, if they haven't fix a problem within the warranty time, they cannot ignore it, they have to still fix it.

Re:Good idea (1)

yiantsbro (550957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065277)

Well they can't just cherry pick what they want to site to have. The site says I can have the computer for a dollar--I'll accept that. The site also says I must use arbitration--I'll just ignore that part.

Re:Good idea (2, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065751)

Maybe if companies put their EULA/Policies/whatever legal crap they have in PLAIN ENGLISH instead of super complicated legalese then people might actually read the crap. I know for a fact that you can buy a Dell computer from their website without ever being flashed their policies and terms of sale.

I'm sorry but as for terms of sale, anything beyond 'I give you cash, you give me a machine' is complete and utter bullshit. That is one reason why I do not buy crappy dell computers.

Oh and that arbitration thing, its so that they cant get class action lawsuits against them for shit like say... oh I dont know... say an exploding dell laptop [slashdot.org] .

Its time for companies (and governments to back the citizens up) that they cant avoid class action lawsuits by putting it in some stupid little blurb which nobody will ever click on and that willful negligence (like the laptop battery thing) should void any arbitration agreements.

Re:Good idea (2, Interesting)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066125)

Maybe if companies put their EULA/Policies/whatever legal crap they have in PLAIN ENGLISH instead of super complicated legalese then people might actually read the crap.

People are both too stupid and too greedy for this to ever work; if you have ever worked in any kind of customer complaints department you would know this.

I'm sorry but as for terms of sale, anything beyond 'I give you cash, you give me a machine' is complete and utter bullshit.

I for one am quite happy that many of the more expensive items I have bought came with warranties. I take it you have never had anything break down outside of the return period.

Oh and that arbitration thing, its so that they cant get class action lawsuits against them for shit like say... oh I dont know... say an exploding dell laptop.

Man, you either have a horrible memory, or just like to twist everything into anti-Dell. The exploding batteries were made by Sony, and practically every laptop manufacturer on the planet had units out there with them. Dell was the first one to recall the batteries. Bad press for them at the time, but in retrospect more responsible than the companies that waited much, much longer to recall them.

Re:Good idea (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065821)

Not with Dell, but I at least on a couple of occasions have received notices where I've been overcharged due to a mistake, and been issued a refund. Without even me being aware of the fact that I was overcharged in the first place.

Re:Good idea (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066935)

Lets put it this way... if Dell found a bug that was overcharging customers do you honestly think they'd pay back all the money to the customers they rightfully owed? Probably not.

Interesting argument. Use what someone might do to justify what you have done - profit from another's innocent mistake, a misprint, a typo. Why not take it into a court of equity and see how well it flies?

Re:Good idea (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069257)

No, I think if they were overcharging customers, customers would raise a fuss and would get refunded their money. I think Dell would refund them their money once they found the error even without prompting. It would be customer service suicide to charge more on a credit card transaction than what the checkout price was, and Dell wants not only your current business, but your repeat business 3-5 years from now when your current model is out of date.

When I was a retail manager, when a price was mis-marked, we always gave the lower of the two prices at the checkout. Then we scurried like hell when the customer left to make darn sure every other one of those products was marked correctly so it wouldn't happen again.

My take is that if it was a genuine innocent glitch that was achieved through a fluke and not a deliberate exploit, they'd give the fluke price.

Re:Good idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064807)

then they cry when the deal they KNEW couldn't be true, wasn't true.

I bet you're all for personal responsibility too, up until the second you have to take some, eh? A website makes a pricing mistake, they cry when people try to hold them to it.

Re:Good idea (4, Informative)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064989)

what if they didn't know it was a mistake? I just about crapped myself when I was the $400 off laptop deal a few months ago and I bought one for waaaaaay under what any Acer would cost. Just how low was the price mistake? If it was like $150 for a new, decent PC then yeah, these ppl are idiots but if it was $600 for an $800 machine then I wouldn't think of it as a glitch, I'd think it was another sweet sale, especially if it was at the time of the month/year/quarter that they usually do that kind of a markdown.

lower standard of "unconscionable" (3, Interesting)

big_paul76 (1123489) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065001)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the standard of what's referred to as "unconscionable" in Canada is lower than in the US.

IIRC (and IANAL here) but the Ontario court said basically said for "contracts of adhesion", (i.e., contracts like this where they know nobody reads it all) that, in order for a contract/clause to be enforceable, the test is, "if they had read it, is it reasonable to assume that this customer would've accepted it?".

So, it's a lesser hurdle to get over than "unconscionable = contract that no reasonable person would accept".

VLAD FARTED SO HARD THAT HE BAWLED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064839)

sick bastard, sick sick fucking bastard, vlad, i hope that you die.

Where would KDawson move? (1, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064847)

It was the autumn of 2004 and hundreds of people were claiming, that, if Bush wins again, they'll move to Canada...

It is now the summer of 2007, and Mr. Dawson — who, apparently, decided to stick around back then — is busy trying to turn /. into some sort of DailyKos. Fair enough — he believes in it, so he fights for it.

But recently his postings were all about Canada turning less and less appealing to his kind. So, where is he going to move, if a Republican wins again next year? Or, if he is a Canadian, where will he go, if Canada continues to align its laws with America's?

This post is not entirely off-topic, really — many of the articles posted by Mr. Dawson are so obviously (left-)biased, the editor's persona becomes a fair part of the topic. Plus, with tags like "republicansarenazis" used by this guy just a week or so ago, no on-topic discussion is really warranted — by Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org] , at least...

Americans are Der Juden (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064915)

I blame the Jew Puppet Bu$Hitler Chimpy McHaliburtin

This is what Canada gets for dealing with AmeriKKKa

Americans truly are Der Jeuden

Save yourselves, Vote Democrat!!!

Re:Americans are Der Juden (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067331)

I guess it would be lost on you if I were to point out that the one serving member of the US Senate who was a known Klansman is also a Democrat?

LK

Re:Americans are Der Juden (1)

sinthetek (678498) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068663)

Which only illustrates the point that the two main parties who rule .us are conservative (aka predominately corrupt) and considering they are the ones with most power, most americans feel that voting is simply an issue of choosing the lesser of the two evils [who is most likely to win]. A majority of american voters who actually care about issues and other citizens (ie they don't choose vote blindly on partisanship or popularity with friends) have major issues with most candidates of both parties and are resigned to the belief that that only one of those two parties stand a chance at winning.

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1, Informative)

panopticonisi (1113137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065107)

Thank you. Off-topic: Drove upon drove of liberals I knew had planned on moving to Canada, pending election results, but as election results were posted, they all suddenly changed their minds. Well, it's a free country and they're allowed to do that. It doesn't, however, speak strongly for their message, if they don't stick to their principles and threats when push comes to shove. On-topic: I really feel that mistakes should be punished. If Dell mistakenly posts an item below cost, it is their cross to bear when sales of that item soar. Every store is run on this principle. Brick-and-mortar stores are held to their price tags by their guarantee of customer satisfaction and the BBB. This story of Dell taking these customers to court should dispel any notion that Dell offers superb customer satisfaction. In turn, as their image starts to falter, they'll start to lose sales. Eventually, Dell will reap what it sows. That's the way it should work, anyhow.

Re:Where would KDawson move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065175)

, if Canada continues to align its laws with America's

Probably stay there, given that, even if you believe this ruling and the recent crackdown on camming constitutes "aligning its laws", it's still vastly more appealing than the US.

Re:Where would KDawson move? (2, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066261)

many of the articles posted by Mr. Dawson are so obviously (left-)biased

"It's well known that reality has a liberal bias."

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066901)

noooo, it has a conservative bias, it conserves mass, energy, momentum ...

Re:Where would KDawson move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20068467)

Unfortunately, "politically conservative" doesn't mean "conservative" in the usual sense. For example, political conservatives think that spending, not taxing, and keeping inflation down is going to balance the budget, as if money could appear out of thin air. They also think that radical reinterpretations of the Constitution to suit their needs are a good thing.

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069845)

you're thinking neo-conservative. there's a big difference.

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067373)

But recently his postings were all about Canada turning less and less appealing to his kind.
Would you care to elaborate on this? "His kind" ?!

many of the articles posted by Mr. Dawson are so obviously (left-)biased
Right; you surely would brook no bias...

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069485)

many of the articles posted by Mr. Dawson are so obviously (left-)biased
Right; you surely would brook no bias...
Neutrality is not a requirement to point out bias. If it's there it's there. Nobody has never done anything wrong: does that mean we all revoked the right to criticise doing things which are wrong?

That said, I'd rather have articles "obviously biased" than "subversively biased".

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067875)

But recently his postings were all about Canada turning less and less appealing to his kind. So, where is he going to move, if a Republican wins again next year? Or, if he is a Canadian, where will he go, if Canada continues to align its laws with America's?

I guess that is due to the sudden flux of American immigrants following Bush election. I think that if Canadians want to preserve their identity, they should act. By building a wall on the border for instance...

Re:Where would KDawson move? (1)

sinthetek (678498) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068213)

I don't know for sure about to many others, but personally I was rejected over a year-old marijuana conviction upon my attempt to enter Canada after a three-day drive to the border. After which, I was immediately strip-searched and scolded over a copy of Backtrack in the gf's laptop upon re-entry and I know of at least one or two similar cases... I wouldn't doubt similar experience might have had a deterring effect on others who attempted to leave the country. Funny how all of those who are always screaming for us to leave the country (rather than attempt to make this one better) simultaneously go out of their way to pressure other countries into legislation to further restrict our freedoms and make such an exit that much more difficult. (Actually, I wasn't definitively planning to immigrate but strongly considering it if I could find work. The main point of that particular trip was to meet the gf's parents)

relative to what? (2, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068345)

many of the articles posted by Mr. Dawson are so obviously (left-)biased,

"Biased" relative to what?

And what is "biased" about criticizing the administration for imprisonment without due process, for violating privacy rights, for funneling billions to their buddies in industry without any oversight or review, for torture, and for lying in order to get us into a war?

Maybe the problem is that you're so right wing and so politically narrow minded that even moderate opinions seem "left-biased" to you.

Re: relative to what? (1)

bcharr2 (1046322) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070071)

I'm assuming he means it is biased in regards to the large dotted line that appears smack dab in the middle of the political spectrum, midway between the hardcore liberal and the ultra conservative points of view. Unfortunately you have to be a moderate to see it, because both hardcore liberals and ultra conservatives believe that they are already occupying the middle ground and that everyone who disagrees with them is simply foolish/deceived/ignorant.

The moderates see very bright thinkers on both sides of the aisle, and realize that very intelligent people can very passionately disagree even about very fundamentally basic ideas.

But yes, to everyone else, the large dotted line marking the middle ground is most definitely invisible. Except perhaps to Hillary. Her amazing techno-color "progressive" sunglasses may enable her to see the dotted line as well.

Oh yeah, the line also appears in many political textbooks, although most dismiss it as a misprint.

Re:relative to what? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20070191)

The left wingnut bias comes from turning every stupid decision made by ANYONE in the last years into a right wing conspiracy and attempting to draw lines to blame it on the administration. I dislike these clowns as much as the next, I think their policy on damn near everything is horrible to say the least, but I will simply not give them so much credit to believe that they are evil masterminds manipulating everything Bad(tm) that happens. It goes against my basic belief that they are incompetent clowns with superiority complexes. kdawson always seems to try and find the "Bush is to blame" tie in on damn near every story. When quite frankly Bush isn't to blame for much of this...it is the collective of us that allowed half of this crap to get this far, we were driven by fear to give them the reigns, we still buy on credit, we still refuse to vote, we still refuse to spend responsibly (oh...I don't care that it is made in sweatshops, its $5 cheaper than that other brand).

In closing I will give you my most loathed behavior that leads to 90% of the horrible decisions made in damn near any field. "We are going to do it this way because you know they won't let us do it that way". The Lazy Psychic defense...rather than going to leadership, presenting a valid solution, people will use their own opinions of their superiors to fill in the gaps of the will of their superiors to avoid having to present their own or their subordinates ideas to leadership, also in their mind removing any responsibility from them for screwups based on their decisions because the phantom of their boss approved it in their mind.

Advertised price != actual price? (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064883)

I was under the impression that the price at which a product was advertised was the price at which it must be sold? Otherwise the low price expectation being met with a higher-price reality leads to the problems of the 'bait-and-switch.'

Or am I being somewhat naive?

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (3, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064931)

I was under the impression that the price at which a product was advertised was the price at which it must be sold?
Almost. They must honor all but mistakes and vandalism. If they make an honest mistake ( and sometimes a judge has to decide whaether or not it is an honest mistake ) they do not have to honor it. Nor do they have to if someone alters their pricing for them.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (4, Informative)

smeagols_ghost (644286) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064961)

In Australia, supermarkets (and places that bide by the supermarkets code of practice, like servos,7-11 ect) for products under $50 must give you the first item which scans at the wrong price (or labeled incorrectly) free (if you know to ask) and subsequent items at the correct price.

Any wrong price, high or low? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066891)

give you the first item which scans at the wrong price (or labeled incorrectly) free (if you know to ask) and subsequent items at the correct price

That seems like a good deterrent to "accidentally" marking something UP, but if it were incorrectly priced too low, I doubt the average consumer even mention it.

The Dell case in question was obviously not a bait-n-switch ploy, the wrong price was about 20% of the correct price - any honest consumer would know that it was "too good to be true".

Re:Any wrong price, high or low? (1)

throbber (72924) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068161)

No-one is going to question a price that is low.

In Australia, advertised prices are binding. If you make a typo in your advertisement then you should have had better proofing before you published the ad. IBM got burned with that a couple of years ago. They had a price of 400AUD instead of 4000AUD for a thinkpad advertised on their on-line catalogue. 200 people managed to get an order in before the price got pulled. IBM did try to get the consumer to pay the 'correct' price, however the ACCC had something to say about that.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

telso (924323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067435)

Similarly, in Quebec (the jurisdiction in question), a store must discount $10 off an item's actual price (or give it free if it's less than $10) if the price on the shelf is different from the price scanned at the cash. See details [gouv.qc.ca] (in French).

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068207)

The best method for class action law suits against false advertisers in Australia, is simply to rally enough people to complain to the ACCC http://www.accc.gov.au/ [accc.gov.au] and they will sue the false advertisers for you, regardless of any legal loopholes the company lawyers try to invent and pretend are real.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? Quebec Aussi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20070905)

In Australia, supermarkets (and places that bide by the supermarkets code of practice, like servos,7-11 ect) for products under $50 must give you the first item which scans at the wrong price (or labeled incorrectly) free (if you know to ask) and subsequent items at the correct price.

Ici au quebec,

we have a similar consumer law. The key here is in the asking for the free item at the wrongly scanned price.

( hard to place the modifier in that one above....)

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20064937)

I think it's a little different on the internet though, a company should be able to cancel the purchase, if say they don't have enough product in stock. If the compuers had already been shippped, and Dell tried to charge the customer more at that point, I would be siding with the customers.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064945)

That (at least in Aus) refers to in store advertising. If a price tag says an amount - then you are legally allowed to purchase items at that price (unless its an obvious mistake - which why price tags have the name and barcode of the items on them in major stores).

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20065057)

I was under the impression that the price at which a product was advertised was the price at which it must be sold? Otherwise the low price expectation being met with a higher-price reality leads to the problems of the 'bait-and-switch.'
Or am I being somewhat naive?

Not naive.

Greedy.

Court Rules for Cleaners In $54 Million Pants Suit [washingtonpost.com]

No business could stand the losses if you could demand sale and delivery of a Bugatti Veyron at 90% off list because of a misprint in a brochure.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066181)

But I've seen an extension of exactly that logic to say that "of course free shipping isn't, tanstaafl sonny, we just meant we don't charge a shippin and handling charge".

If businesses aren't held to the letter of their agreements, what are they held to?

In today's global business world it's thoroughly reasonable for a big company to offer a seemingly insane deal. It could be a loss leader, it could be overstock, or them needing to pump end-of-year sales. Why is it suddenly the burden of the consumer, now denied even access to an unbaised court (arbitrators are paid for by the industry they arbitrate...), to judge the business-worthiness (for the other party) of any deal offered?

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067041)

If businesses aren't held to the letter of their agreements, what are they held to?

You are a big boy now. Don't like the contract? Don't sign the contract.

Re:Advertised price != actual price? (1)

WNight (23683) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067355)

Are you fucking retarded?

My bitch is that companies don't have to. "Free shipping" doesn't have to mean anything. Normal rights to dispute something in court - taken away by unseen licenses.

Quebec is Different (5, Informative)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20064999)

This decision is not very applicable to the rest of Canada because Quebec is a civil law jurisdiction (like Continental Europe and Louisiana). The court looks to the Civil Code of Quebec to decide the case.

In the rest of the provinces, the court looks to the "common law", that is to say, rulings in previous cases. This is similar to England and most of the United States.

If you read the supreme court's decision, it relies heavily on the Civil Code of Quebec.

Of course, I am not a laywer and this is not legal advice. If you want advice, pay for it.

canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065247)

Well.. Canada likes to do things differently from the US, sometimes even for the sake of being different.
Canadian courts probably would never do what American courts do - especially in potentially high profile cases - like class action against Dell.
Canada is much less sophisticated and media savvy... I am just looking at now msnbc and bnn (both financial tv channels, one American, the other Canadian) the difference is just... well... a totally different world. But even franchises like Idol - in the USA and in Canada are quite different.
 

Unenforcable in the UK (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065557)

Statutory Instrument 1999 No. 2083
The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 [opsi.gov.uk]


Terms
          5. - (1) A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.

        (2) A term shall always be regarded as not having been individually negotiated where it has been drafted in advance and the consumer has therefore not been able to influence the substance of the term.

        (3) Notwithstanding that a specific term or certain aspects of it in a contract has been individually negotiated, these Regulations shall apply to the rest of a contract if an overall assessment of it indicates that it is a pre-formulated standard contract.

        (4) It shall be for any seller or supplier who claims that a term was individually negotiated to show that it was.

        (5) Schedule 2 to these Regulations contains an indicative and non-exhaustive list of the terms which may be regarded as unfair.

Assessment of unfair terms
          6. - (1) Without prejudice to regulation 12, the unfairness of a contractual term shall be assessed, taking into account the nature of the goods or services for which the contract was concluded and by referring, at the time of conclusion of the contract, to all the circumstances attending the conclusion of the contract and to all the other terms of the contract or of another contract on which it is dependent.

        (2) In so far as it is in plain intelligible language, the assessment of fairness of a term shall not relate-

            (a) to the definition of the main subject matter of the contract, or

            (b) to the adequacy of the price or remuneration, as against the goods or services supplied in exchange.

Effect of unfair term
          8. - (1) An unfair term in a contract concluded with a consumer by a seller or supplier shall not be binding on the consumer.

        (2) The contract shall continue to bind the parties if it is capable of continuing in existence without the unfair term.

SCHEDULE 2
Regulation 5(5)

INDICATIVE AND NON-EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF TERMS WHICH MAY BE REGARDED AS UNFAIR

          1. Terms which have the object or effect of-

(q) excluding or hindering the consumer's right to take legal action or exercise any other legal remedy, particularly by requiring the consumer to take disputes exclusively to arbitration not covered by legal provisions, unduly restricting the evidence available to him or imposing on him a burden of proof which, according to the applicable law, should lie with another party to the contract.

Argos took advantage... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067893)

IIRC Argos took advantage of the fact that under British law then the contract of sale isn't completed until they dispatch the item. So, you ordering an item on a UK site is you offering a contract to purchase, and it's up to the seller whether they accept it.

I can't remember the exact prices, but there were some large TVs advertised on their website at ridiculously low prices (like 10% or something) because someone had entered the price wrong. Lots of people found them and ordered them, but Argos never sent any out and eventually cancelled the orders. People complained, but the Office of Fair Trading (I believe) said that the contract hadn't been completed and so Argos weren't bound to the price.

As long as it works fairly and companies have to cut orders at the lower price rather than being able to "bait and switch" to the 'correct' price then I don't see much of a problem. You shouldn't have got it at the cheap price and you end up not getting it at the cheap price.

Michael Liberal Geist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065611)

Yawn

Re:Michael Liberal Geist (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066923)

You think he favours the Liberal Party vs the Conservatives or the New Democrats? (I guess we can rule out Bloc Quebecois.)

Re:Michael Liberal Geist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20067193)

He probably prefers the Marijuana Party of Canada [wikipedia.org] :P

Wait a minute (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20065915)

Dell *may* try to claim that thier customer's have to submit to arbitration, but until they actually *sell* the damn pieces of shit they call computers the "agrieved" parties are most definitely *not* customers. Sounds like they're trying to have it both ways. Full disclosure: I *hate* DELL.

(Not quite) Supreme Court (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066197)

Note that the Supreme Court of Canada is not the highest court for all provinces and states. Some states only recognize the UK Law Lords as the highest authority.

Wrong (2, Informative)

Hal The Computer (674045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066659)

This has so many errors I don't know where to begin.

Re:Wrong (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066943)

Furthermore, when the Law Lords were the ultimate court of appeal, this was true for all of Canada. It was never up to the individual provinces and territories.

Re:Wrong (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067989)

Not only that it was the Privy Council, not the Law Lords, but hey that's splitting hairs :-)

Re:Wrong (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068031)

Uh, no. While sometimes referred to as the "Privy Council", appeals were actually to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the members of which are known as the "Law Lords".

Re:(Not quite) Supreme Court (1)

Apoklypse (853837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20068721)

Under regular circumstances, it IS the Supreme Court of Canada which takes precedence or do you speak of The Privy Council?

Quebec's Solution (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 7 years ago | (#20066653)

If a price is advertised as one thing, but costs different at checkout, you get 10% off the lesser price. The store is obligated to point this out if it happens (though many don't).

Some people in Quebec go as far as marking down on paper the price of everything they buy so that when they checkout, they can point out every mistake there is, and you'd be surprised how many mistakes there can be in an environment like a grocery store.

sp0nge (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20067027)

BE NIGGER! BE GAY!

Uh.. not so bad. (2, Informative)

sudog (101964) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067177)

This is a case where the original user tried to rip Dell off by using a deep-link URL to bypass the normal storefront and get a $549 computer at $379. Meanwhile, it's a decision that applies to grandfathered contracts anyway, since Canada now has the Consumer Protection Act which "prohibits" contract clauses that "oblige a consumer to refer a dispute to arbitration."

Additionally, the action the *consumers* brought against Dell was a result of Quebec-specific consumer protection laws.

Finally, the Court specifically mentioned that courts still have the right to "refer" the matter to arbitration, which implies that the right to have a court actually hear such a case to begin with hasn't been removed. Besides, the decision states it even more clearly: "Before departing from the general rule of referral, the court must be satisfied that the challenge to the arbitrator's jurisdiction is not a delaying tactic and that it will not unduly impair the conduct of the arbitration proceeding."

The Court here when it says "referral" is specifically describing the right of a lower court *not* to refer the matter to arbitration if it so decides to.

So.. uh.. wtf?

"Just Issued" (1)

telso (924323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067481)

the Supreme Court of Canada has just issued a new online contracting decision
I just came back from vacation and thought my lack of sleep was making me see doubles. A similar case in the US was reported on Slashdot [slashdot.org] with a comment [slashdot.org] about this case. This may not count as a dupe, but 18 days is awfully slow, even for Slashdot.

You win some, you lose some. (1)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 7 years ago | (#20067977)

In the past I have taken advantages of misprices, getting a couple of Dimension desktops with good specs (for then) for really really low prices. For about £100 I picked up a Dimension P4 HT 3GHz/1GB/120GB SATA for about $150). I knew I was in a legal grey area. If I got it great, if I didn't well nothing lost.

The trick with Dell is to get the order confirmation. Once you have that, Dell wont argue at all.

But to start a class action suit because you tried to take advantage of a mistake is not really good sportsmanship, in my opinion, just getting greedy.

By the way, if you are in the uk, and want to know of the "whoopsie" deals, check out Moneysaving Expert Forums [moneysavingexpert.com] The dell deals are almost always on here within 10 minutes of going live.

Dunno about arbitration, but... (2, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 7 years ago | (#20069723)

The case involved a lawsuit against Dell Computer, which refused to sell hundreds of mistakenly priced computers purchased on their website.

Maybe we aren't crying salty tears for Dell, but this sounds like exactly the sort of silly, greedy, "protect my constitutional right to get something for nothing" lawsuit that these arbitration clauses are intended to head off. Its not as if Dell are trying to force these customers to complete the purchase at full price, is it? If you are forced into arbitration because BigCorp have come round and claimed your first born (in accordance with para. 796, subsection y of the invisible terms of service) then save some of the blame for these guys (this is assuming, of course, that the arbiter actually turns out to be the BigCorp CEOs brother in law, and doesn't actually help you).

Before citing "bait and switch" and "fair competition", think of the smaller traders who would be harmed by simply having to defend against a bogus class action because they missed out a zero on their web shop, some bozo posted the to slashdot and 30 minutes later they had "sold" ten thousand $1000 laptops for $100 each.

I don't kow what happens in the US/Canada, but in the UK we have trading standards authorities who could investigate and prosecute traders in the event of a real "bait and switch" scam rather than leaving it to vigilante lawyers. Not saying they're efficient mind (too busy burning counterfieters at the stake to protect the right of brand name owners to get $50 for a $5 shirt with their logo) but the principle is sound.

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