Apple ordered to solve mis-price disputes in Taiwan


TAIPEI (AFP) – Apple was threatened Monday with a fine if it did not act on a dispute in which thousands of visitors to its online store tried to buy computers that were wrongly priced at massive discounts.
The Taipei city government said the US giant had mis-priced two models Friday afternoon, with one on sale for a little over 40 percent of what it should have been.
Apple corrected the prices hours later but by that time more than 200,000 units had been ordered, local media said.
The news comes after computer giant Dell was forced to honour the sale of various electronics goods at a third of their price after offering them at a cut price on the Internet in error.
The complaints erupted after the company unilaterally altered the prices of the bargain-hunting orders.
Apple would not say if it would deliver the products on the erroneous prices. And after an initial investigation, the city government’s Law and Regulation Commission issued an ultimatum to the US computer company.
“The city government has tried to reach Apple since Friday afternoon but has not yet received any response from it over the more than 30 consumer complaints,” Yeh Ching-yuan, chief of the commission, said in a statement.
“Apple has to respond to our order before the end of Tuesday or may face a fine of up to 300,000 Taiwan dollars (9,400 US) according to the consumers’ protection law,” he warned.
Apple is required to provide details of the alleged mis-pricing, why it happened, the number and value of orders placed on the mis-price basis, and how the company will act to compensate the customers, he said.
Local media said Apple listed its Mac Mini at 19,999 Taiwan dollars (625 US), about 42 percent of its original price tag of 47,710 Taiwan dollars.
Also, the 8-GB version of Mac Mini Snow Leopard Server was priced lower than the 4-GB version, which costs 34,900 Taiwan dollars.
A court in southern Taiwan last month ordered Dell to deliver 18 laptops and 76 flat-panel monitors to 31 consumers for 490,000 Taiwan dollars, less than a third of the normal price, the Taipei-based Apple Daily said.
The company advertised the unusually low prices on its website in June and July, prompting bargain-hunters to place 200,000 orders.
The consumer rights authorities in Taipei also fined Dell one million Taiwan dollars.