A Brief History of Recalls: Dell’s Exploding Laptop Batteries

Always stay up to date on consumer product recallsLast week, we discussed the Ford Pinto recall and how companies sometimes release dangerous products onto the market. There are numerous other examples of dangerous products that have caused harm to consumers and faced recalls.

In 2006, Dell issued recalls for several of its notebook laptops. The laptops, which included the Inspiron, XPS, Latitude and Precision workstations used faulty lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries power the vast majority of handheld and mobile electronic devices. However, poorly-made lithium ion batteries can overheat and explode.

After reports of fires and explosions, Dell issued a recall for 4.1 million of its laptops. In one case reported by the New York Times, a Dell laptop resting in the cab of a pickup truck exploded. The truck caught fire, igniting ammunition in the glove box. Within minutes, the entire truck blew up.

Fortunately, the owner was unharmed – although the same could not be said for his truck. A photo used by several media outlets showed the charred remains of his truck.

How You Can Check for Consumer Product Recalls

Dell’s exploding laptops were a relatively uneventful recall. However, it does provide us with an example of how you can check for product recalls by using online sources. Also keep in mind, that several consumer electronic products are recalled each year (remember the hoverboards from December?).

To issue the recall for its 4.1 million laptops, Dell collaborated with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). On its website, the CPSC lists all current recalls (for which there are several every day). Users can also access the CPSC’s search engine to get information on electronics that have been recalled for safety issues.

If we type ‘Dell’ into the search engine, results are displayed for every recalled consumer product it has ever released. Results include batteries, AC adapters and other products.

Don’t end up like the man who lost his truck to an exploding laptop. The moment you hear news of a recall, hop onto the CPSC’s website to ensure you do not own the recalled product.

The Louisiana product liability attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat will hold companies accountable when they release dangerous products onto the market.


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