Dell Recalls Millions of Laptop Computer Batteries

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Owners and users of Dell Latitude™, Inspiron™, XPS™ and Dell Precision Mobile Workstation™ notebook computers should be aware that, under rare conditions, certain batteries sold for use with these models may overheat and pose a fire risk. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies, Dell is voluntarily recalling certain Dell-branded batteries with cells manufactured by Sony and offering free replacements for these batteries.

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No injuries have been reported, however, users are warned to stop using the batteries immediately. Laptop computer models affected by the battery recall can still run on the AC power adapters, MarketWatch reports. A web site has been set up to provide the public with additional information at: It also includes a two step process for determining if a battery is subject to the recall and instructions for obtaining a replacement battery from Dell.

Potentially affected batteries were sold with the following models of Dell notebook computers, sold separately as secondary batteries or provided in response to service calls between April 1, 2004 and July 18, 2006. Models which may use the batteries specified in the recall include:

  • Latitude: D410, D500, D505, D520, D600, D610, D620, D800, D810
  • Inspiron: 500M, 510M, 600M, 700M, 710M, 6000, 6400, 8500, 8600, 9100, 9200, E1505, E1705
  • Precision: M20, M60, M70, M90
  • XPS: XPS, XPS Gen2, XPS M170, XPS m1710

The words “DELL” and “Made in Japan” or “Made in China” or “Battery cell made in Japan, Assembled in China” are printed on the back of the batteries. If a battery does not reflect one of these markings it is not part of this recall.

More than 4 million notebook batteries containing cells manufactured by Sony will be repaired or replaced by Dell. Approximately 2.7 million of the recalled batteries were sold in the U.S. and another 1.4 million were sold overseas. It is one of the largest recalls in the history of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, according to BusinessWeek. Sony is expected to share some of the cost of the recall with Dell and industry analysts told that the Japanese company could, in a worst case scenario, face losses exceeding $225 million (26 billion Yen).

Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, does not expect the recall “to have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, financial position of cash flows,” MarketWatch reports. Dell sales have grown slowly this year, possibly as a result of concerns about quality and customer service. The Associated Press reports that this is the third recall of Dell notebook batteries in the past five years. Last year, the Associated Press reports, the company paid a $338 million charge to repair faulty computer components.

The recall was announced the same day the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) was released, indicating customer satisfaction with the personal computer industry rose 4 percent, to 77 and Dell's score rebounded 5.4 percent, to 78. Now in its eleventh year, ACSI, which is produced at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, has demonstrated that it predicts a number of essential indicators of micro and macroeconomic performance. This quarter's ACSI measured durable goods, such as automobiles, personal computers, and appliances, as well as e-business, such as portals, search engines and news and information sites.

Apple computers, which continues to reign as the company with the most satisfied customers, at 83 percent, which puts it in the top 15 percent of all companies measured by ACSI, also uses Sony's batteries in their Macintosh notebook computers and told Bloomberg they are “investigating” whether the recall affects current of previous models manufactured by Apple. The company has implemented the following battery exchange programs for lithium ion rechargeable batteries:

Palo Alto, Calif. -based, Hewlett-Packard, the second largest maker of personal computers, has said that none of its notebook computers were affected by the recall notice.

Shares in Dell, the world's largest maker of personal computers, fell on overseas markets after the announcement of the recall. The recall was announced after the American markets closed. Dell share edged up in premarket trading the day following the recall announcement, the Associated Press reports. According to Bloomberg, notebook computers outsell desktop computers at Dell and generate 26 percent of the company's revenue.

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