HP is in the hot seat again this week with a statement it released detailing a massive recall of roughly 50,000 batteries used in its consumer notebooks. The decision was made after the company received eight reports of the batteries "overheating, melting, and charring."
The recall includes all batteries used to power HP notebooks or standalone accessories, and below is a detailed list of the products immediately affected:
• HP ENVY m6
• HP Pavilion x360
• HP ZBook Studio G3
• HP ZBook Studio 17, G3 & G4
• HP ProBooks, from the 64x G2 and G3 series & 65x G2 and G3 series
• HP x360 310 G2
• HP 11 Notebook PC
#Recall: @HP batteries for notebook computers & mobile workstations can overheat, posing fire & burn hazards. Check battery at https://t.co/SuFeiejivo & get free battery replacement. CONTACT: 888-202-4320 or https://t.co/FaG8jQg4G3. Full recall notice https://t.co/pxbPq1dKF1pic.twitter.com/YieQpIxANz— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) 4 januari 2018
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) provided information for customers on how to inform HP of the problem and request a free replacement, referring them to the company's support page. The process involves downloading and installing the Battery Program Validation Utility provided by the company to quickly and easily determine whether or not the battery needs to be replaced, and the whole process only takes up 30 seconds of customers’ time.
And, as an additional safety measure, HP has instructed customers who determine that their battery should be replaced to use the BIOS update enabled by the company to set the battery to “battery safe mode”, a mechanism designed to discharge the defective battery and prevent continued use. Until receiving a replacement, customers will simply need to connect their laptop to a power adaptor to use it.
Since HP was unable to isolate the defective batteries to just the US or neighboring country Canada, the company has opted to make this a global recall, though it has identified that the recall affects batteries “sold worldwide from December 2015 through December 2017.” In the case of customers with 5 or more defective batteries, HP has also set up a separate Bulk Validation and Replacement Order process.
All in all, the company has been swift in responding—a total of $4,500 in property damage, as well as one instance of a customer experiencing first-degree burns to the hand, were reported among the first group complaints filed before HP took action—and it is clear that a proper support and information network has been set up to help the process go smoothly.
“HP’s primary concern is for the safety of our customers,” the company shared on its support page. “HP is proactively notifying customers, and will provide replacement battery services for each verified, eligible battery, at no cost.”
It seems the company has learned its lesson since the much-reported case in 2011 in which HP recalled 162,000 battery units. The bottom line is we all have, and by all accounts, will continue to experience battery recalls. It seems almost no company is immune. For this reason, HP has shown a great improvement in terms of the way it is handling this. In the world of battery recalls, there is a very thin line between issue and crisis, and we count on companies to understand this delicate balance.