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HP pays $425,000 to settle blazing battery claim

Denies it knowingly sold dangerous kit

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HP has coughed up $425,000 to lay to rest allegations made by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission that it sold lithium ion laptop batteries it knew were dangerous.

In July 2008, HP notified the CPSC that it was aware of a potential safety issue with certain notebook power packs. Under certain circumstances, the batteries could overheat and catch fire or explode.

That notification and the resulting CPSC probe led to a product recall in October of that year.

HP asked for 32,000 batteries to be sent back for replacement.

Long-time Reg readers will recall a spate of these incidents around that time, not only in HP machines but also in kit from other laptop makers. Apple, Dell, Sony and Lenovo all established battery recall programmes around that time.

HP would do so again, recalling 54,000 batteries in May 2010 and yet more in May 2011.

The CPSC later claimed that the PC company had known about the problem at least ten months before the agency was initially alerted to the fact. It alleges that HP had around 22 instances of exploding batteries on record by September 2007, two of them involving injury to the laptops' owners.

The CPSC also said that between March and April 2007, HP undertook a secret study into lithium-ion battery pack safety.

US law demands vendors notify the CPSC of potential risks to public safety within 24 hours of their discovery. Insisting that HP had failed to follow this sanction, the CPSC launched a legal action against the company.

With the 425-grand payment, the case is now concluded and will not go to court. HP denies the CPSC allegations. ®

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