Frequently Asked Questions


BASIC INFORMATION

  1. Why should I read the Detailed Notice?

    You may have purchased and paid monies as tax on one or more Optional Service Contracts purchased from Dell sometime between May 16, 1993 and December 31, 2011. The monies you paid as tax on service contract purchases were remitted to the Rhode Island Department of Revenue (“DOR”). You have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a lawsuit involving the service contracts, and about your options, before the Superior Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the settlement is given final approval, you may be eligible, upon the submission of a valid Claim Form, to obtain a payment for some or all monies you paid as tax on your purchases of the Optional Service Contracts according to the terms of the settlement. The Detailed Notice explains the class action, the proposed settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how the benefits will be distributed.

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    In the lawsuit, Long, et al. v. Dell Inc., et al., Civil Action No. PC 03-2636, (“the Lawsuit”), pending in the Superior Court of Providence County, Plaintiff Julianne Ricci (“Plaintiff”), for herself and all other consumers who purchased and paid tax on Optional Service Contracts sold by Dell, sued Defendants Dell Inc., Dell Marketing Limited Partnership (“DMLP”), Dell Catalog Sales Limited Partnership (“DCSLP”), BancTec, Inc. (“BancTec”), and QualxServ LLC (“QualxServ”), to recover the monies paid as tax on such Optional Service Contracts.

    Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated Rhode Island law by, among other things, charging and collecting money as Rhode Island sales or use tax on purchases of Optional Service Contracts, for which Plaintiff claimed no such tax was due. Defendants denied the allegations and claimed that they were adhering to Rhode Island tax law. In response to the Lawsuit, Defendants also filed tax refund claims with DOR for the monies remitted to the State of Rhode Island as sales or use tax on those service contract purchases.

    “Optional Service Contract” is defined as any Optional Agreement (i.e., a service agreement, the purchase of which was not required in order to purchase the computer hardware covered by such service agreement) sold by one or more of Defendants providing for repair and/or replacement services, including parts and/or labor, covering computer hardware. “Optional Service Contract” shall include, without limitation, technical support service contracts, on-site repair service contracts, remote repair service contracts, and “CompleteCare” service contracts.

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  3. What is a class action?

    In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called a Class Representative sue on behalf of a Class of others who have similar claims. On November 13, 2015, the Court entered an Order conditionally certifying Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants as a class action for settlement purposes only, giving preliminary approval to the settlement, appointing Plaintiff as the Class Representative and appointing Plaintiff’s counsel as Class Counsel.

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  4. Why is there a Settlement?

    The Court has not decided in favor of the Defendants or of the Plaintiff. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement to avoid the distraction, costs, and risks of further litigation, and Plaintiff agreed to the Settlement in order to ensure that Class Members will receive compensation.

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WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE SETTLEMENT?

If you are a Class Member, you are subject to the Settlement unless you are excluded from the Class, as set forth in FAQ 5, or you specifically request to be excluded from the Class, in accordance with the requirements set forth in FAQ 20.

  1. How do I know if I am a Member of the Class?

    IF YOU RECEIVED IN THE MAIL A SHORT FORM NOTICE AND INDIVIDUAL SUMMARY ADDRESSED TO YOU, THEN DELL’S RECORDS REFLECT THAT YOU MADE ONE OR MORE OPTIONAL SERVICE CONTRACT PURCHASES THAT MAY ENTITLE YOU TO COMPENSATON UNDER THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. If you did not receive the Short Form Notice by mail, you may still be a member of the Settlement Class if you are a Consumer 1, as defined herein:

    1. who purchased from one or more of Defendants at least one Optional Service Contract at any time from May 16, 1993 through December 31, 2011,
    2. whose “ship-to” address for such purchase was a location in the State of Rhode Island,
    3. who paid any amount of money denominated as a “tax” calculated in whole or in part on the charge for the purchase of such Optional Service Contract, and
    4. who did not receive from any of Defendants a refund of such “tax” in connection with a return of the computer hardware or otherwise.

    The Optional Service Contracts at issue here provided for repair and/or replacement services, including parts and/or labor, covering computer hardware sold by DMLP or DCSLP, the purchase of which was not required for the purchase of the computer hardware the service contract covered. These Optional Service Contracts include contracts for which DMLP is the obligor, and contracts sold by DMLP or DCSLP as agent for BancTec or QualxServ. Among the Optional Service Contracts included in this Settlement are technical support service contracts, on-site repair service contracts, remote repair service contracts, and “CompleteCare” contracts.

    If you did not receive the Short Form Notice by mail, and you still think you are a member of the Settlement Class, you may contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com to request one.


    1 “Consumer” means a natural person who made a purchase of an Optional Service Contract primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.


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  2. What if I am still not sure if I am included?

    If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can ask for free help. You can contact the Settlement Administrator at the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com.

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  3. I bought a computer and an Optional Service Contract for it from Dell and did not receive a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary in the mail. Why?

    There are several reasons for such circumstance, including (a) your purchase was made before May 16, 1993, or after December 31, 2011; (b) there was no tax charged on your Optional Service Contract or it was previously refunded; (c) your purchase was shipped to a place outside of Rhode Island; or (d) your purchase did not fall within the scope of sales to consumers covered by the agreement. In all of these situations, you are not a class member and are not entitled to file a claim. It is also possible that the last known address for you in Dell’s records is no longer your address.

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THE SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET

  1. What does the Settlement provide?

    Payables Database. Dell has agreed to compile from Dell’s records a database identifying all transactions wherein a Settlement Class Member paid monies as “tax” on one or more Optional Service Contracts covered by the Settlement.

    Notice to Purchasers. Dell has agreed to provide to Settlement Class Members notice of the proposed Settlement by a variety of means, including individual postal mailing, newspaper publication, and the establishment of this Settlement website.

    Claims for Refund. Settlement Class Members who wish to obtain compensation under this Settlement must submit a Claim Form. Claim Forms may be filed online here. To be eligible for compensation, Claim Forms must be submitted on or before January 19, 2017. Consumers who believe that they are Settlement Class Members, but who have not received a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary, may contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com to request one. Settlement Class Members who fail to submit a valid Claim Form on or before January 19, 2017, shall have waived their rights to payments under this Settlement.

    Settlement Checks to Settlement Class Members Who Submit Valid Claims. Each Settlement Class Member who files one or more timely and valid Claim Forms shall be eligible for compensation in an amount or amounts representing the sum of the Settlement Class Member’s validated claims as calculated pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Dell shall be responsible for paying all settlement amounts for Dell Claims, and DOR shall be responsible for paying all such settlement amounts for DOR Claims, plus interest. Some Settlement Class Members may have been assigned one or more customer numbers by Dell and, therefore, upon the submission of valid Dell Claim Forms and/or DOR Claim Forms, may receive more than one settlement check. Eligible Settlement Class Members will not receive payment until after the Judge gives final approval to the Settlement. If the Judge refuses to finally approve the Settlement, there will be no payment. The Judge will hold a Final Hearing on December 9, 2016, to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Judge approves the Settlement, there may be appeals that could delay your payment, perhaps for more than a year. Please be patient.

    Offsets for Debts by the State of Rhode Island. DOR will offset against any refund to which a Settlement Class Member would otherwise be entitled any amounts that DOR has the right to offset under Rhode Island laws, except DOR will not offset any amount of unpaid use tax on a Settlement Class Member’s purchase of Dell hardware. Such offset may reduce or completely consume the amount to be received by the Settlement Class Member.

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  2. Why are there two types of claims in the settlement?

    The proposed Settlement distinguishes between Dell Claims and DOR Claims because those two types of claims cover different time periods and the payments for those claims are funded by different entities. Dell Claims concern transactions made between May 16, 1993 and September 30, 2001, and Dell will fund the payments for those claims. DOR Claims concern transactions made between October 1, 2001 and December 31, 2011, and DOR will fund the payments for those claims.

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  3. Do the two types of claims provide the same benefits?

    Dell Claims and DOR Claims are substantially similar. However, there are some differences. For example, no interest is paid on Dell Claims, and the electronic claim form is simpler for Dell Claims than for DOR Claims. Interest is paid on DOR Claims, but if the sum of all Individual Settlement Amounts (including interest) payable as timely and valid DOR Claims exceeds $700,000.00, the payment on each such DOR Claim will be prorated accordingly. In addition, if you submit a DOR electronic claim form and owe a debt to the State of Rhode Island, such debt may be offset against any tax refund check you may receive from DOR.

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  4. Why did I receive more than one Short Form Notice and Individual Summary?

    Some repeat customers who purchased Optional Service Contracts from Dell on more than once occasion between May 16, 1993 through December 31, 2011, may have been assigned more than one Dell Claim Number and/or more than one DOR Claim Number, and, therefore, will receive more than one Short Form Notice and Individual Summary. To ensure that you receive full compensation under the proposed Settlement, you must file an electronic claim form for each Short Form Notice and Individual Summary that has been sent to you. You will need each of your Dell Claim Numbers and DOR Claim Numbers to file those claims. You may receive a separate payment for each electronic claim form submitted or a combined payment. If you have lost the Short Form Notice and Individual Summary that was sent to you, or if you did not receive one and need to obtain your Dell Claim Number(s) and/or DOR Claim Number(s), please contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com.

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  5. How much will my payment be?

    The Settlement provides that, for each individual Consumer identified by a Dell customer number, an Individual Settlement Amount will be calculated, which amount represents the sum of all tax payments on Optional Service Contracts covered by the Settlement for that Dell customer number, as maintained in Dell’s records. For Dell Claims, which concern transactions made between May 16, 1993 and September 30, 2001, Dell will pay the Individual Settlement Amount to the Settlement Class Member without interest. For DOR Claims, which concern transactions made between October 1, 2001 and December 31, 2011, DOR will pay the Individual Settlement Amount plus interest to the Settlement Class Member. However, if the sum of all Individual Settlement Amounts (including interest) payable as timely and valid DOR Claims exceeds $700,000.00, the payment on each such DOR Claim will be prorated accordingly.

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HOW YOU GET A PAYMENT – SUBMITTING A CLAIM FORM

  1. How can I get a payment?

    To be eligible to receive a payment from the Settlement, you must submit a Claim Form. A Claim Form may be completed online here. Read the instructions carefully and submit it online so that it is received no later than January 19, 2017

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  2. My Short Form Notice and Individual Summary is addressed to my old address. How do I update my address?

    When you file an electronic claim form, you will have the opportunity to provide your current address.

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  3. I have changed my name and my Short Form Notice and Individual Summary is addressed to my old name. How do I arrange for my settlement check to be made out to my new name?

    You will need to send a letter with your Dell Claim Number(s) and/or your DOR Claim Number(s), your previous name, your new name, your address and a copy of a court order, marriage certificate or divorce judgment that documents your name change to the Settlement Administrator at:

    Long v. Dell Litigation
    Settlement Administrator
    c/o Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions, Inc.
    P.O. Box 3145
    Portland, OR 97208-3145

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  4. How do I obtain a Dell Claim Number or DOR Claim Number if I am a Settlement Class Member and did not receive a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary?

    Please contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com and be prepared to provide as much information as you possess about your purchase (e.g., approximate date of purchase, items purchased, billing information used for the transaction, shipping information used for the transaction, invoice number, etc.). The claims assistance staff will attempt to obtain a Claim Number for you.

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  5. When would I get my payment?

    The Court will hold a Settlement Hearing on December 9, 2016, at 9:30 a.m., to decide whether to approve the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement, there might be appeals. The time it takes to resolve an appeal varies. It also takes time for all the Proofs of Claim to be processed. Please be patient.

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  6. What am I giving up to get a payment or to stay in the Class?

    Unless you timely and validly exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants or other “Related Parties” (as defined in the Detailed Notice) about the Released Claims (as defined in the Detailed Notice) in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you remain a Class Member, and if the Settlement is approved, you will give up all “Released Claims”, including “Unknown Claims” (as defined in the Detailed Notice), against the “Dell Released Parties.”

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  7. How do I know if I need to file a Dell Claim or a DOR Claim?

    If you received a Short Form Notice and Individual Summary in the mail, you have been identified in Dell’s records as a consumer who falls within the definition of the Settlement Class as conditionally certified by the Court. The Short Form Notice and Individual Summary identifies either a Dell Claim number or a DOR Claim number depending upon the date of your purchase as reflected in Dell’s records. If Dell’s records indicate that you made more than one purchase and are eligible to file a Dell Claim and a DOR Claim, you should have received two separate notices. If you did not receive a copy of the Short Form Notice and Individual Summary, but believe that you may be a member of the Settlement Class, you may contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com.

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EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE CLASS

If you do not want to participate in this Settlement, and you want to keep the right to potentially sue the Defendants and the other Released Persons, on your own, about the claims being released by the Settlement, then you must take steps to remove yourself from the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself—or is sometimes referred to as “opting out.”

  1. How do I get out of the Class and the proposed Settlement?

    If you don’t want a refund from this Settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue Defendants on your own about the tax collected on Optional Service Contracts, then the Judge may exclude you from the Settlement Class upon your request. To exclude yourself, you must mail a letter saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement Class. Include your name, address, and signature. You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than November 9, 2016, to this address:

    Long v. Dell Litigation
    Settlement Administrator
    c/o Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions, Inc.
    P.O. Box 3145
    Portland, OR 97208-3145

    If you mail your valid exclusion request no later than November 9, 2016, the Judge will exclude you from the Settlement Class.

    If you mail a timely and valid Request for Exclusion, you should not submit a Dell Claim or a DOR Claim, you will not receive any settlement payment, and you may not object to the Settlement. If you mail a timely and valid Request for Exclusion, you will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.

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THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

  1. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court appointed the law firms of Ellis & Rapacki LLP, in Boston, Massachusetts, and Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP, in Providence, Rhode Island, as Class Counsel to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. You will not be charged for these lawyers.

    You may, if you so desire, enter an appearance through counsel in the Lawsuit. If you want your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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  2. Do I need my own attorney?

    No. The Court has appointed Class Counsel to represent the class members at no cost to the class members. The law firms that have been appointed Class Counsel by the Court are listed in the Detailed Notice. Of course, if you wish to consult with or retain your own attorney, you are free to do so at your own expense.

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  3. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Dell has agreed to pay, in connection with the settlement, attorneys’ fees and expenses in an amount not to exceed nine hundred thousand dollars ($900,000.00). Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Dell will also pay an award of $3,500 to Plaintiff as compensation for her service as Class Representative. No less than sixty (60) days prior to the Final Hearing, Class Counsel will file a motion and ask the Court to approve awards of no more than these amounts, and Defendants and DOR have agreed not to oppose such awards to Class Counsel and to the Class Representative. The award of attorneys’ fees and expenses would compensate Class Counsel for their efforts in investigating and litigating the Lawsuit since early 2003, including conducting discovery, litigating several motions in the trial court, three appeals to the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and negotiating the Settlement. Any such awards must be approved by the Judge. You will NOT have to pay any judgment, court costs, or attorneys’ fees and expenses for participating in this Settlement.

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OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

  1. How do I tell the Court that I object to the proposed Settlement?

    If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlement if you do not like any part of it, or offer any comments you may have about the Settlement. You may give reasons why you think the Judge should or should not approve the Settlement. You may also object to Class Counsel’s application for award of attorneys’ fees and costs (which will be filed with the Court and made available on this Settlement website on or before November 9, 2016.) The Judge will consider your views. To object or comment, you must send a letter saying that you object to, or wish to comment on, the Settlement in Long, et al. v. Dell Inc., et al., Civil Action No. PC 03-2636. Include your name, address, telephone number, signature, and the reason(s) for your objection or comment.

    Mail your letter to these four different places postmarked no later than November 9, 2016:

    COURT CLASS COUNSEL DEFENSE COUNSEL DOR COUNSEL
    Office of the Clerk
    Providence County Superior Court
    Licht Judicial Complex
    250 Benefit Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    Matthew T. Oliverio, Esq.
    Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP
    55 Dorrance Street
    Suite 400
    Providence, RI 02903
    John A. Shope, Esq.
    Foley Hoag LLP
    155 Seaport Blvd.
    Boston, MA 02210
    Bernard Lemos, Esq.
    Rhode Island Department of Revenue
    Division of Taxation
    One Capitol Hill
    Providence, RI 02908

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  2. What is the difference between objecting and excluding myself?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class.

    Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be paid and do not want to release any claims you think you may have against Defendants and their Related Parties. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object to the Settlement because it does not affect you.

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THE COURT’S FINAL HEARING

  1. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the proposed Settlement?

    The Judge will hold a Final Hearing to consider whether to approve the Settlement. You may attend and ask to speak, but you do not have to do so. The Final Hearing will be conducted on December 9, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 17 of the Providence County Superior Court, Licht Judicial Complex, 250 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903. At this hearing, the Judge will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and whether it is in the best interests of Settlement Class Members. The Judge may also consider how much to award in fees and expenses to Class Counsel and to the Class Representative. After the hearing, the Judge will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

    You need not come to the Final Hearing, as Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Judge may have. If you have filed a timely written objection or comment, the Judge will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.

    The Judge may listen to Settlement Class Members who ask to speak at the Final Hearing. To ask for permission to speak at the Final Hearing, you must send a letter giving your Notice of Intention to Appear in Long, et al. v. Dell Inc., et al., Civil Action No. PC 03-2636. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, and your signature. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must be postmarked no later than November 9, 2016, and be mailed to the Clerk of Court, Class Counsel, Defense Counsel, and DOR Counsel at the four addresses listed in the answer to FAQ 24.

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  2. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    No. Lead Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary. Class Members do not need to appear at the hearing or take any other action to indicate their approval.

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IF YOU DO NOTHING

  1. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will not receive any money from this Settlement. In addition, unless you exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Defendants and the Dell Related Parties about the Released Claims in this case.

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GETTING MORE INFORMATION

  1. How do I get more information?

    This website and the Detailed Notice contains only a summary of the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which is available here. Alternatively, you may contact the Claims Assistance Email Inbox at info@RhodeIslandTaxSettlement.com.

    A more complete collection of information, including copies of the pleadings, records and other papers on file in the lawsuit, is also available during regular business hours at the Office of the Clerk, Providence County Superior Court, Licht Judicial Complex, 250 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903.

    PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT, DOR, OR DELL FOR INFORMATION. IF YOU NEED FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO THE CLAIMS ASSISTANCE EMAIL INBOX AT INFO@RHODEISLANDTAXSETTLEMENT.COM.

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Important Dates

  • Class Period
    May 16, 1993, through December 31, 2011
  • November 9, 2016
    Deadline to Exclude yourself from the Settlement
  • November 9, 2016
    Deadline to Object to the Settlement
  • December 9, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
    Final Hearing
  • January 19, 2017
    Deadline to submit a Proof of Claim