RealTime IT News

Dell in Huge Notebook Recall

There are hot-selling notebooks and notebooks too hot to sell. Unfortunately for Dell,  it has the latter.

The biggest selling computer maker confirmed it is joining with the U.S. Consumer Products and Safety Commission (USCPSC) in a voluntary recall of some 4.1 million notebook batteries manufactured between 2004 and 2006.

The Dell-branded, lithium-ion batteries made with cells manufactured by Sony, are one of several suppliers Dell uses. In fact, Dell shipped some 22 million systems over the recall period so only a fraction of those are affected.

As of Tuesday, Dell said a special Web site, will be live with details of how customers can find out if their notebook is affected and how to replace their batteries at no cost.

The recall does cut across all of Dell's notebook computer line, including the Lattitude, Inspiron and Precision mobile systems.

Dell has been beset by stories racing faster than a forest fire across the Internet of some of its notebooks spontaneously catching fire. The Web site ConsumerAffairs.com reported in a story earlier this month how a Dell laptop allegedly exploded, causing a truck to catch on fire.

The story that got the most play was of a Dell notebook bursting in flames at a conference in Japan last month. The fiery image was posted on numerous Web sites.

But Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn said Dell has been investigating the problem well before these incidents and has been working with USCPSC to identify the timeframe of products affected and parameters of the recall program.

A Dell release states that "Under rare conditions, it is possible for these batteries to overheat, which could cause a risk of fire."

Blackburn said Tuesday the USCPSC will site six incidents of batteries overheating that it and Dell has been investigating, using independent laboratories to do analysis.

Dell, which states quarterly earnings this Wednesday, said it does not expect this recall to have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, financial position or cash flows.