NSW Fair Trading Minister enters Dell recall debate

By James Wells

SYDNEY: The New South Wales Minister for Fair Trading, Diane Beamer, has made a statement regarding the Sony-manufactured laptop batteries which are currently being recalled by Dell.

The 4.1 million defective notebook computer batteries represent the largest recall ever conducted in the history of the consumer electronics industry.

In a statement regarding the recall, Beamer said consumers should not take any chances with the Dell products because of the possibility of overheating and catching fire.

“Dell has confirmed that two weeks ago, one of its laptops caught fire in Illinois and that the owner dunked it in water to douse the flames. There are other reports of similar incidents from Japan and Singapore,” Beamer said.

“Consumers should understand Dell’s warning that ‘in rare cases, a short-circuit could cause the battery to overheat, causing a risk of smoke and/or fire.’

“Fair Trading is waiting on further advice from Dell’s Australian management about laptops that have been distributed in Australia.

“It affects the battery only, not the laptop itself,” Beamer said.

Batteries were supplied to local customers between 1 April 2004 and 18 July 2006 either by way of purchase or by way of a service replacement.

The models released on the Australian market include the Dell Latitude D410, D500, D505, D510, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810; Inspiron 6000, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, 9300, 500m, 510m, 600m, 6400, E1505, 700m, 710m, 9400, E1705; Dell Precision M20, M60, M70 and M90 mobile workstations; and XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170 and XPS M1710.

Sony, who manufactured the lithium-ion batteries for Dell, is recommending retailers and consumers to contact Dell regarding the recall.

“This is not a Sony recall, this is a Dell recall,” a Sony Australia spokesperson said.

“We recommend consumers and retailers to contact Dell regarding the recall. However, we will be supporting Dell with this recall on a global basis.”

Market analysts predict the cost for Sony in supporting Dell could be between $US85 million and $US430 million.

The fault is believed to be restricted to batteries supplied to Dell, as Sony manufactures batteries to other companies globally including HP, Apple and Lenovo.

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