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September 04, 2008

Minor Burn Spurs Sony VAIO Laptop Recall

By Eve Sullivan, TMCnet Editor

After a report of someone receiving a minor burn, Sony has issued a recall for thousands of its VAIO laptops in the United States due to possible overheating or short-circuits.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that Sony’s recall is voluntary, and it recommended that VAIO owners stop using the products unless otherwise instructed. The recall affects about 73,000 VAIO TZ-series computers in the U.S. and, according to news reports, applies to 440,000 units worldwide.

The recall is because “irregularly positioned wires near the computer’s hinge and/or a dislodged screw inside the hinge can cause a short-circuit and overheating,” according to the safety commission.
The commission added that this hazard could result in burns to consumers and reported that Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including one person who received a minor burn.
Richard Shim, an analyst with industry researcher IDC (News - Alert), noted that “recalls generally sound worse than they turn out to be.” For the company, he said, getting the word out is difficult, and “even with the battery recall Sony did a couple of years ago, the number of customers bringing their units back was low.”
Shim emphasized that a company’s customer service during a recall can be a key factor in determining if there is a lasting impact to the brand. “It sounds like Sony is doing this the right way,” he said.
The affected models are the VAIO VGN-TZ100 series, VGN-TZ200 series, VGN-TZ300 series, and VGN-TZ2000 series. The commission said owners of these models should stop using the computers “immediately” and get in touch with Sony to see if their unit is affected. Sony will arrange for any needed inspection or repair.
Sony posted a statement on its eSupport site that said, “the issues involve a small number of units which may overheat due to a wiring problem.”
Consumers with VAIO notebooks should visit http://esupport.sony.com/fixmypc. At that site, users will be asked to input their product code and serial number from the bottom of the notebook. If a consumer has an affected model, there are instructions on the site about how to set up an inspection and a hotline number is posted.
Sony said it would not charge for inspections, and, if necessary, it would arrange for on-site repairs at the owner’s home or office – or owners can ship their unit to the Sony service center. Sony has had to deal with computer battery recalls as recently as 2006. In that recall, computers sold by Dell, Apple, Lenovo (News - Alert), Toshiba and others were affected.

Eve Sullivan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Eve's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Eve Sullivan

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