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Fire and Burn Hazard Recalls Include Sony Notebook PCs

Sep 4, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with the firms named below, announced two voluntary product recalls because of fire and burn hazards.

In the first recall, about 73,000 Sony VAIO TZ-series Notebook Computers, made in Japan and manufactured by Sony Electronics Inc., of San Diego, California are being recalled because irregularly positioned wires near the computer’s hinge and/or a dislodged screw inside the hinge can cause a short circuit and overheating.  This design flaw poses a burn hazard to consumers and Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including one consumer who suffered a minor burn.  Although most reports indicate 73,000 computers have been recalled, the Associated Press is reporting that the recall involves 440,000 Sony VAIO computers.

Model numbers for the recalled Sony computers are the VAIO VGN-TZ100 series, VGN-TZ200 series, VGN-TZ300 series, and VGN-TZ2000 series. The computers’ screen size is about 11.1 inches when measured diagonally.  Because not all units are affected, consumers should contact Sony to confirm if their computer is part of the recall.  Sony can be reached toll-free at (888) 526-6219 at its Website at www.sony.com/support

The recalled computers were sold by SonyStyle stores, the Sony Website, authorized electronics retailers, and authorized business-to-business dealers nationwide from July 2007 through August 2008 and retailed for between $1,700 and $4,000.  Sony will arrange for an inspection and repair, if necessary.

In the second recall, about 42,000 MasterForce 3.6-volt Cordless Screwdrivers are being recalled by Menards, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin because the screwdrivers’ battery can overheat and ignite during charging, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.  Also, there is no protective device on the lithium battery to prevent overheating.  The screwdrivers were made in China by Great Star Industry Company of China.  Menards and the CPSC have received three reports of fires, including reports that one consumer suffered burns to the hand and another experienced temporary hearing loss.

The recalled cordless screwdrivers are green and gray in color, MASTERFORCE” is printed on the top of the tool, and “LITHIUM-ION TECHNOLOGY” and “241-0717” are printed on the handle.

The recalled MasterForce Cordless Screwdrivers were sold in Menards stores from April 2007 through May 2008 and retailed for about $30.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled screwdrivers and return them to any Menards store for a free replacement or refund.  Menards can be reached toll-free at (866) 458-2472 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday at its Website at www.menards.com.


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