Sony sets recall date for fire hazard laptops

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 4:10am

Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony has announced the start date of its programme to replace faulty laptop batteries that could overheat and catch fire.

Starting on May 19, owners of the Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop can contact service centres in Hong Kong and Macau to arrange a replacement for the batteries, produced by Panasonic, that caused partial burns to the outer casing of at least four computers.

Sony temporarily halted sales of the latest Vaio earlier this month after receiving three reports of batteries overheating - one in Japan on March 19, followed by incidents on March 30 in Hong Kong and April 8 on the mainland.

The company urged owners of the Sony Vaio Fit 11A to "immediately discontinue using it, shut down and unplug the PC from the mains".

Another incident was reported on April 14 in Japan.

A total of 25,905 units of the Vaio Fit 11A have been sold worldwide since it first went on sale in February. Nearly 7,000 were sold in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan and China. About 3,600 were sold in Japan, 2,000 in China, 7,000 in Europe, 5,600 in Latin America, and about 500 in the US.

Sony said it could not disclose specific sales figures for Hong Kong.

The company is taking returns and offering full refunds until July 31.

The model is the final version in the series before Sony sells off its television and personal computers units. Sony declined to say how much the recall and replacement programme would cost, but said it would have no "material impact" on its earnings.

"This happens often with laptop manufacturers," said Erica Ho, owner of an earlier version of the Vaio laptop, and former technology blogger.

Ho said the battery issues would not cause her to move away from Sony laptops. "For a while they were producing laptops convenient to my needs," she said.