Dell's not having a very good time of it at the moment.

The company has just been found guity of fraud, false advertising, deceptive business practices and abusive debt collection practices in the US, and is now awaiting what is expected to be a huge fine.

And now it's also getting its knuckes rapped on this side of the Atlantic.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has criticised the computer manufacturer for not making it clear that customers would have to pay delivery charges.

In a direct mail advert for Dell computers, the company offered a laptop computer for £199, but a complaint was logged with the ASA that the ad was misleading because it did not mention any extra charges.

Buyers were told they could either pay a £60 delivery charge or a £57.58 collection charge, though Dell later said that the inclusion of a collection charge was an error and that it no longer charged for collection.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that the charges "added significantly" to the cost of the computer.

"Although we acknowledged that details of the charge had been included in the mailing in error, we considered the mailing had nonetheless contained misleading information by implying that there was no option but to pay for either delivery or collection", said the ASA ruling.

"We reminded Dell that non-optional charges imposed on all buyers should be included in the headline price ... [And] we concluded that the presentation of the mailing gave a misleading impression of the total cost customers would have to pay for the computer", it said.

The ASA also added that the VAT should have been added to the advertised price.