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Replacing Faulty Inspiron Battery More Hazardous Than Thinking About It

Round Rock, Texas ( — Dell Computer, which on Thursday said it would recall nearly 300,000 faulty notebook computer batteries, said today it should have used the word "remember," not "recall," to describe the company's plan to deal with the product.

That was one great battery

"When we said we were recalling the batteries, we didn't mean we were going to replace them, we only meant we were going to remember them, as in, 'Oh, yes, I recall those batteries. They were nice batteries'," said Dell product manager Emily Ding.

Although the batteries can reportedly overheat and catch fire, Dell said it was remembering, not recalling, because the company is aware of an even more dangerous problem with the tiny modules, which were installed in the now discontinued line of Inspiron 5000 and 5000e notebooks.

"We ran dozens of tests under a range of conditions, and we discovered that a recall, in the 'replace' sense of the word, would be pretty expensive," said Ding. "For a company facing layoffs and major cost-cutting, which we are, that presented a clear and immediate danger that we could not, in good conscience, ignore."

Consumer groups, however, quickly criticized the "remembrance" as "irresponsible and dangerous." But Ding insisted the risk is minimal. "There's an outside chance we could run out of anecdotes," she said. "But I've been in touch with engineers at Panasonic who first designed the battery, and they've got some great stories."

The faulty batteries have a colored sticker with an ID number containing either ''99'' or a the letter P in the first line. Dell recommends that customers who find this power cell in their notebooks shut off the machines and think about what the battery meant to them.


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