After All The Fuss, Will People Bother With Dell's Battery Recall?

from the fully-charged-and-ready-to-blow dept

Dell last week announced a recall of more than 4 million laptop batteries after several high-profile incidents in which they caught fire. Despite the danger of the batteries being pretty vividly illustrated, some are now wondering how many people will actually bother to send their batteries back. Deals like mail-in rebates are often used by retailers because of their relatively low redemption rate, and one analyst says that asking people to drop a battery in the mail, as opposed to just a form and a receipt, could result in one even lower. But what could have a bigger impact is businesses' attitude towards the recall: some, with thousands of Dell laptops, may not want to spend the time dealing with identifying which machines are included in it, or delegate the responsibility to employees, who may or may not bother to check. One thing is clear, though -- patience with Dell is wearing thin, not just from disgruntled customers, but also from institutional investors unhappy with the company's management.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Guard, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:26am

    I more than expect my own laptop to be one of these that had the battery recalled. Using a Dell Inspiron XPS (Gen 1) and the thing runs at a cool 150 degrees... Fans have been replaced 3 times, and the thing will not keep cool anymore, yet Dell can't do anything about it.

    I'm more afraid of my laptop melting (oh wait, panels on the bottom have already started) than the battery catching fire. Ended up my battery wasn't on recall anyways.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:30am

    i want all those batteries, so i can shove them up my bunghole

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:38am

    sheesh you really need something to do other than trolling these posts dorpus

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 9:47am

    Thankfully...

    We only have 7 Dell laptops ( all Inspiron 6000 model) to check and if I recall only one is on the recall list. I've been thinking about getting a Dell laptop for personal use for a while but between this and the recent customer service nonsense I'm not sure I want to deal with them. But it would beat Gateway and I can't afford Alienware.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    dell Owner, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:07am

    Data Loss

    I runn the IT for my small company (6 people), and I know that the 6 laptops we have arn't much, but compaired to A.) Data loss, and B.) Building burning, it was not a difficult task to e-mail the company and request people take the 15 seconds to look on the battery, write the number down, and give it to me.

    Admittedly, if I were at a company who had hundreds or even thousands of dell laptops, it would have been much more of a hastle, however at companies of that size you have teams of people for IT, so checking numbers can be delegated. Even if it took the entire IT staff 1 full 10 hour day to track down and check all the laptops, it beats the risk of data loss... oh yeah, and damage to people, that too.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Heat sources

    Hey Sanguine Dream,

    I think Dell actually OWN Alienware now- so even if you could afford an Alienware you might not want to if you're trying to avoid Dell products.


    The real question is this- if you place a Dell laptop battery on top of an X-Box what is likely to happen?

    Now if we place both the above devices inside a Ford Pinto and plug them in...

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Brad, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:19am

    LIon

    Well, when they get the batteries back all they'll do is a minor hardware (or possibly firmware) change to the charge controller and send them back out as "refurbished" - to recover most of their costs. Or better yet, they'll dump 'em off to a third party that'll sell them on eBay or the like.

    The cells themselves aren't flawed, it's just the charge controller. This is a relatively easy fix from a hardware standpoint.

    So no, dorpus, you can't shove them up your ass. Sorry.

    Hey, why hasn't dorpus' IP been banned from commenting?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    TheToe, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:20am

    Dell Battery Exch

    The exchange was easy. I filled out a short form online. I've already recieved my battery it took 5 business days, (the form online says give it 20 days). I returned the old one in the same box used to ship the new one. Dell provided the pre-filled label. Total time spent on this 4 minutes. Our IT dept has about 25 laptops only 6 of them needed new batteries. Dell made the exchange easy. They thought it through quite well. This recall has been known about for more than 7 months. I gathered all the info back in December of last year and it made the exchange alot less painful.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:22am

    we had 7 batteries at our local office 2 of which were mine and we sent them off and already got the replacements yesterday.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:26am

    Re: LIon

    I thought that the issue wasn't only the charge controler, but impurities in the Lithium Ion liquid in the batteries themselves that are causing the issues. The can't very well turn thoes around and return them.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    KevinG79, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:26am

    we're doing it

    I work for a fairly large company which uses nothing but Dell laptops and desktops. A person in IT has been assisnged with this project. Emails have gone out asking end users to check the S/N on their batteries and if they have one of the winners, to bring their battery to IT. We will be sending them all in to Dell. It's a big deal and not something we (or many other businesses) will be "too lazy" to do. If an end user's laptop catches fire and they get injured, they can not only sue Dell but sue the company they work for, for not being responsible enough to get the battery replaced.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    TheToe, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:29am

    Re:LIon

    Dell isn't turning the old batteries around. They send you a new one then you send them the old one which they dispose of.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Our depts laptops, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:30am

    Two laptops two bad batteries

    We have two laptops in our department. I checked both batteries and both are on the recall list. Luckily we have second batteries for both laptops (which are not on the recall list).

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 10:45am

    yeah, a big problem would be if you "need" your battery, i.e. travel with the laptop to remote meetings and such. i know some field engineers who use their laptops all the time, but only charge at night, because well, there are no outlets in the middle of a construction site or somethin

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:00am

    I'm happy

    I think we all know how long Lithium ion batteries last... I'm more than happy to send mine back and get a new one, in fact I wish dell would do this every year.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    GB, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:12am

    No Problem

    My Dell Inspiron 600m was one of the unlucky ones that needed a replacement battery. The summary makes it sound like a big deal when it's really not. Dell sends you a new battery. You put your old battery in the same package and put the sticker on the outside of the package they gave you. Drop in any mailbox and you're set. You get a new battery, dell gets the old worn battery, win for you.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Happy Dell Owner, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:23am

    No Problems

    I've always owned Dell's. The few times I've needed tech support they've been great. Sure they make you jump through hoops before sending a replacement part, but any smart business would. Parts cost and you can't just send the old one back to another customer if it still works fine.
    Buy XPS's. Then you get dedicated, smart customer service reps.
    My M1710 rocks! And I don't even have to replace my battery.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Me, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:28am

    another issue?

    Ok, you have a bad battery in your laptop. you get the new one and put the bad one on the box to go back to Dell.
    If the bad battery is a fire hazard then what is to prevent the UPS/FEDEX truck or airplane from catching fire on the way back to Dell?
    Somebody in the last few months, UPS or FEDEX had an airplane make an emergency landing because of a fire onboard. Once they got on the ground the plane was pretty much toast.
    they were looking at a load of batteries as a possible cause.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Realist, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:38am

    Why not sell the defective batteries

    to the third world? Corporations already do that with lots of other contaminated, banned, and otherwise dangerous products. It's easy to do, just make sure there are several middlemen to reduce your exposure to blame.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    PG, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:39am

    its not DELL batteries

    just to add to the underlying subject, its not dell batteries. Its sony batteries used in dell laptops, and ultimately sony is replacing those batteries. These same LiON batteries are also used in Apple, HP and many other laptops ..

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    PG, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 11:45am

    its not DELL batteries

    just to add to the underlying subject, its not dell batteries. Its sony batteries used in dell laptops, and ultimately sony is replacing those batteries. These same LiON batteries are also used in Apple, HP and many other laptops ..

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mike, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:29pm

    Complainers

    Some people would complain if you hung 'em with a new rope. Seriously though, Dell could NOT have made this any easier. Although with hundreds and hundreds of laptops in your IT dept. to take care of, it does eat away at the time normally spent surfing or gaming or whatever those guys are doing up there.
    Blame it on Sony!

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Mike, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:29pm

    Complainers

    Some people would complain if you hung 'em with a new rope. Seriously though, Dell could NOT have made this any easier. Although with hundreds and hundreds of laptops in your IT dept. to take care of, it does eat away at the time normally spent surfing or gaming or whatever those guys are doing up there.
    Blame it on Sony!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Dellsucks, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:34pm

    You are all biased babies

    Strange to see no mention of the Apple's problems with batteries and their refusal to issue recalls or reimburse the numerous affected people.

    As much as I hate dell more than all of you combined, Apple is far worse - so stop crying over spilled beans and start the angry mobs over spilled sewage!

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Jim Zandi, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:48pm

    Battery shortages

    It just so happens that we needed a new battery here at the office - I was hoping that it was on the recall list so we wouldn't have to pay for a new one - but no luck, it wasn't.

    I ordered a new one, but just got an email today stating that it has been placed on backorder - no doubt because of all of the people "bothering" to replace their recalls.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    nunya, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    Re: LIon

    no way that was a real dorpus post

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Sam, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 1:36pm

    Dell is better than most

    I’ve recently won a battle with our COO and President and am moving our company to Dell from HP as our standard mobile platform (moved to Dell servers last year). This was in large part due to my long history with solid Dell laptops and the horrible luck we are having with HP portables (both workmanship and warranty replacements). I seem to deal with one HP with a failed hard drive per month (I realize these are not HP drives… in fact most of the failed drives seem to be Hitachi). Nevertheless, we have a few Latitude D610’s (I use one personally), as well as the newer D620’s and D680’s working flawlessly in our environment and the only one with an affected battery was mine (of course). I ordered a replacement and it arrives 3 days later. Now I have never had a problem with my current battery., in fact it runs cooler than any Compaq/hp notebook we have. So I’m going to hang onto it just in case I need the extra juice (it is of course labeled “recalled- may explode”). Dell never mentioned that I would be charged if I didn’t return the old battery!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Astral, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 1:43pm

    Dell Boo

    I worked as a field technician for Dell and their service is terrible. I've been on hold for over an hour and I'm was a Dell Tech! Plus Dell doesn't upsell UPSs or explain to purchasers that they need to back up their harddrive. This leads to tons of pissed off customers when Dell replaces their drives multiple times and I have to keep telling them that everything they had is gone. I bought a Twinhead Durabook and I love it....fully loaded plus hardened for cheaper than Dell.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Taiana, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 3:40pm

    Peace Corps volunteer

    Sooo I got a good one... i am currently serving in the Peace corps in the South Pacific in Tonga and i had a Dell Inspiron laptop but it was burning up everytime i turned it on. Anyways, the NGO i work at for business development for the youth of Tonga was broken into and my laptop was stolen just a few days before i found out about the battery recall. I have to say my life has always been Ironic - but this is crazy. Whoever stole the laptop can't do much with it since the hard drive had recently crashed (due to the battery problems most likely). Any suggestions, anybody want to donate to a Tongan/Peace corps development cause.
    unlucky and in need of a computer in Tonga,
    Taiana

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Martin, Aug 22nd, 2006 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Peace Corps volunteer

    hey im a struggling musician in Seattle with a lazy eye (that could be why im struggling), and i was actually born in Tonga. But i was adopted, so i think you should keep looking for the thief, i bet you will find him. Tonga is small, people are friendly for the most part. If you don't find him then I will come and hunt him down.
    Yours truly,
    Marty Nel

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    diego, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 8:42am

    Re: LIon

    i noticed you mentioned

    "The cells themselves aren't flawed, it's just the charge controller. This is a relatively easy fix from a hardware standpoint."

    i've got a 700m battery that is not on the recall list and is 1 year old. it is fully charged but in 10 minutes the computer says its dead and shuts off. Using a different battery works just fine. Must be a charge controller problem.

    Any idea how to fix this hardware problem?

    thanks
    -diego

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    diego, Aug 25th, 2006 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: LIon

    thats for Brad by the way ....

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Re:

    my laptop reported a power surge and has not worked properly for the past 3 months

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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