An error on Dell’s website allowed a number of Quebec consumers to purchase various handheld computer devices for a much lower price than the intended price. Dell blocked access to the erroneous order pages – which contained the incorrect prices – but did not withdraw the pages from the site. Consequently, consumers were able to purchase the incorrectly priced products by accessing the order pages through deep links. Dell posted a price correction notice and at the same time, announced that it would not process orders for computers sold at the incorrect prices. In response to a class action suit filed against the company, Dell relied on the mandatory arbitration clause in its standard terms and conditions of sale and argued that the matter must be referred to arbitration. The Supreme Court ultimately held the mandatory arbitration clause enforceable, rejecting the argument that the hyperlink made the arbitration clause external and therefore null pursuant to article 1435 of the Quebec Civil Code. The Supreme Court held that an “external” clause in an electronic contract is one that:
(1) requires operations of such complexity that its text is not reasonably accessible; or
(2) is contained in a document on the Internet to which a contract on the Internet refers, but for which no hyperlink is provided.