Puerto Rico left out of consumer offers

It’s written in the fine print of many consumer contests and special offers. In fact, most mainland Americans probably don’t even notice it.

“Offer not valid in Puerto Rico.”

But a Puerto Rico senator visiting Washington this week wants American business practices that leave out and discriminate against the commonwealth to change.

Kenneth McClintock, president of the Puerto Rican Senate, said companies such as Dell use Puerto Rico as a “Third World dumping site” for products that are hard to sell in the United States.

“If you try to find the newest model on dell.com [in Puerto Rico], it is not there,” said McClintock. “The cheaper model is there, but it is more expensive” than the comparable model on the U.S. site.

“There is no federal law that prohibits geographic discrimination,” said McClintock, who will soon sign a bill stating that the Puerto Rican Senate will “cease purchasing all goods and services” in summer 2006 from companies that engage in discriminatory practices.

McClintock acknowledged that this might not affect a large company’s profit margin; however, he said the action might spur Puerto Rican leaders in the United States to follow suit and stop using products that discriminate against the commonwealth.

Gretel Perera of the GCI Group, speaking on behalf of Dell, said: ”Dell consistently tries to offer the best value and services in all geographic areas we serve. At the same time, Dell’s prices can change on a daily basis based on the changing cost of components and specific configurations.”

Puerto Rico’s lone member of Congress, Resident Commissioner Luis Fortu