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Belgian watchdog fumes over Nokia battery statement

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Will Belgian consumer watch dog Test-Aankoop and Nokia ever be friends again? Probably not. On Monday (Nov 17), Test-Aankoop performed new tests on mobile phone battery safety, this time using original Nokia batteries. As reported earlier, Nokia believed Test-Aankoop inadvertently included counterfeit batteries in the test sample.

On Tuesday, Nokia released a press statement saying that the test results "clearly proved all Nokia original batteries to be fully protected against short-circuiting and safe for consumer use’. 'We believe Test-Aankoop's new test results of original Nokia batteries erase any doubts as to the safety of Nokia products,' says Janne Jormalainen, Vice President, Mobile Enhancements Business Unit of Nokia Mobile Phones.

End of story? Not quite. Test-Aankoop is angry about the statement and says Nokia still has a problem. The Finnish mobile phone maker cannot guarantee that its batteries are safe, because consumers cannot distinguish between original and non-original batteries, the watch dog says.

Test-Aankoop has a point here. In its statement yesterday, the Finnish mobile phone maker forgot to mention that Test-AanKoop not only tested Nokia’s own batteries, but also Nokia batteries purchased randomly from retailers in Belgium. As with the earlier tests, these batteries proved to be unsafe. If these batteries turn out to be counterfeits too, than the mobile phone battery market is simply swamped with forgeries. Nokia yesterday admitted that "tens of thousands counterfeit batteries were seized in recent raids in Holland, the United Kingdom, and other countries in the EU".

One way that consumers can identify non-original batteries, Nokia says, is if the following text is written on the battery: ‘Replacement battery for NOK (with model number), NK (with model number), for use with.. or compatible with.. (Nokia). But any counterfeit phone could have those words written on it, experts believe. "Nokia waited too long with taking legal measures against companies that sell and distribute counterfeit products," a Test-Aankoop spokesman said yesterday. ®

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