Dell Settles California Sales Tax Class Action for $275M

January 16 2013

17130s.png San Francisco, CA: An unfair business practices class action lawsuit filed in California against Dell Computer Corp, has reached a tentative settlement. The lawsuit, entitled Mohan, et al. v. Dell, Inc. et al. alleged the Defendants (Dell Inc. f/k/a/ Dell Computer Corp.; Dell Marketing LP (“DMLP”), on its own behalf and as successor by merger to Dell Catalog Sales LP (“DCSLP”); BancTec, Inc.; and Worldwide Tech Services, LLC f/k/a/ QualxServ LLC) improperly charged California use tax on purchases of certain Optional Service Contracts and remitted these taxes to the California State Board of Equalization (“SBE”).

The parties have reached two distinct settlement agreements to resolve the legal action: the Dell Settlement and the SBE Settlement. Under the terms of the respective settlements, which cover purchases made between April 8, 1999 and June 30, 2008, funding for the settlements will be provided by Dell and the California State Board of Equalization. The settlements followed a 2006 trial court's decision, later affirmed on appeal by the California Court of Appeals in 2008, ruling that optional service contracts sold by Dell were not subject to California sales or use tax, as they did not constitute tangible personal property and were readily separable from the computer hardware with which they were sold.

Further, the terms of the two settlements stipulate that customers of Dell who purchased and paid tax on service contracts covering computer hardware during the class action period will be entitled to a full refund of all such taxes that they paid.

The settlement consists of more than $275 million in refunds. Notices will be mailed to customers informing them of the amounts of refunds available to them and instructions for the timely filing of claims.

Class members who are eligible to receive a refund under one or both of these settlement agreements must file a claim or claims to receive any refund(s). Each settlement agreement has different criteria for eligibility. For more information on eligibility and how to file a claim for the separate settlements, visit sctaxsett.com.

The Court will review the settlement agreements at the Final Hearing to be held in April, 2013.

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