New Information on the Battery Recall

I just talked to Dell SVP Alex Gruzen who posted on Direct2Dell earlier and is head of our Mobile Products Group.

He is hunkered down with his team working through all the issues around the battery recall (which we initiated based on six confirmed instances in the U.S. in which notebooks overheated or caught fire).

His team offered some new information:  About 14 percent of the batteries provided to Dell customers between April 2004 and July 21, 2006, are affected.  Dell is recalling approximately 4.1 million batteries during the period compared to 24. 9 million batteries that we actually shipped during that same time.

I wanted to ask Alex about some of the points in The New York Times article since a lot of bloggers are linking to it.

You, like I, are probably wondering about the former Dell technician quoted in the story and the photos he has been sharing with “a reporter” (we’re not actually sure if the writer of the story saw the photos, but we’ll ask).

Here’s the deal:  This guy was a technician at Dell and had absolutely nothing to do with product safety investigations.  

He left Dell in January 2005 so he’s pretty much in the dark on the current situation.  It is, however, likely he had a pallet or two of returned products parked in or around his cubicle.

That is because Dell is very aggressive about “capturing” every single product customers report, from laptops to adapters…  even single power cords often end up on those pallets and in our labs.

Our safety engineers take a close look at every single item.  They capture images of all the items from multiple angles for our records.  They take apart items and take more images.  (Many items have more than 25 images.)  We keep extensive records that become a key part of each investigation.  They work to recreate failures in all returned items.  In the end, 99 percent of the systems that we capture  for a potential safety issue involve no actual safety issue.

As I learn more, I will share it with you here.  I’m sure the comments are going to be heavy in the coming hours and days.  I’ve already enlisted some extra help with comment moderation, and we will do our best to respond in a timely manner.  As a reminder, to determine if your laptop battery is part of this recall, you can go hereHave a good night.