Many of Panasonic’s cameras will only work with official Panasonic batteries—the newest models require “an embedded security ID chip,” while older models have been issued a firmware upgrade that locks out third-party vendors. This is already pretty obnoxious, but what makes it even worse is Panasonic can’t keep up with demand, so the batteries they insist you buy for your camera aren’t available.
We asked U.S. Cellular to provide us more details of how their battery swap program works. Basically, it’s not meant to provide a one-off swap of an old battery for a new one; instead, the program is designed so that you can use it repeatedly to refresh your phone’s power if you’re caught away from an outlet and running low on juice.
If you bought your cellphone from US Cellular in the past 18 months, as of this week you can get your phone’s battery replaced for free. We’ve contacted US Cellular to ask them to answer a couple of questions, namely whether the replacement battery is brand new and whether a customer can swap more than once. If they get back to us, we’ll post an update. In the meantime, if you’re a customer of theirs and your phone’s battery is dying, just stop by any US Cellular store to make the exchange.
HP announced today that laptop computer batteries have been recalled as a fire hazard due to risk of overheating. Affected models are HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP, and HP Compaq computers sold from about August 2007 to March 2008. Find out if your computer is affected and get a replacement battery at HP’s site.
Please don’t pull the cord on Howard’s laptop or it will die. Best Buy‘s Geek Squad has failed five times to coax his laptop’s ailing battery into holding a charge, replacing both the battery and the hard drive, and shipping Howard the same incorrect replacement battery three times. Howard now wants Best Buy to honor their lemon policy by giving him a new laptop, but it seems like every Geek Squad agent has a different copy of the replacement policy, and none of them apply to Howard. It’s almost like he’s asking for a price match! Let’s read his story, inside…
Congress will sneak into your bedroom tonight and steal a precious hour of sleep, but you don’t need to take the theft lying down. Get up tomorrow and use a few tips from Consumer Reports to steal back some hard-earned cash.
Update: company co-founder Matt addresses some of the accusations in a comment below. Why are there so many complaints online about Silicon Solar? One customer, Dennis, told us how he was lied to by a salesman, then strung along by a woman in customer support until the 14-day return period had expired. A quick Google search turns up dozens of similar stories about being treated badly by customer service, receiving products that don’t work as advertised, and never being given the RMAs necessary to send items back. Writes one reviewer on DavesGarden.com, “I can’t express the anger and frustration I felt when dealing with this company.”
35,000 laptop batteries from laptops sold from 2004-2006 have been recalled for fire and burn hazards. There have been 17 fires and 2 burns associated with these batteries, so if you’ve got one, make sure you take care of this issue.
Highlights From Dealnews
- Lenovo ThinkPad | ThinkCentre: Lenovo ThinkPad R500 Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz 15″ Widescreen Laptop for $636 + $20 s&h
- OldNavy: Old Navy men’s and women’s jeans from $8 + $7 s&h
- Amazon.com: How to buy 360 AA batteries for $22 after rebate + free shipping
Highlights From Dealhack
- TiVo.com: $120 off Refurb Model or Free 3 Months Service with New TiVo HD DVRs
- Sierra Trading Post: Free Shipping on top of Deep Discounts
- Buy.com: Genius G-Pen F610 6×10-inch Graphics Tablet $69 Shipped
Highlights From Buxr
MSNBC’s Ads of the Weird blog is a little creeped out by Duracell’s new kidnapping commercial, and so are we. Making people feel bad about something is advertising’s job, we get that, but trying to scare parents into thinking their kid will be stolen from the playground by the classic man-in-a-van is going a little overboard. (Watch the commercial below.)
Our inbox is overflowing with links to the above photograph from the Daily WTF.
My mother in law, recently went to Target to get a battery installed for her watch. The watch was a common Timex model and the associate told her that she would have to buy the battery first. So she purchased that battery, and the associate attempted to install it in the watch. The battery did not fit the watch, so the associate said “sorry, we don’t have the right battery” and then refused to take the battery back and refund her money. She was told they don’t take back opened battery packages.
Heavens, another Macbook has exploded. Apple is sending him a new one. [Appeltell]
Reader Dave has an issue with Circuit City’s battery packaging. I ordered some batteries on sale from Circuit City, recently. When they arrived, the package made insane amounts of noise.
Another of AT&T’s big metal cable boxes placed on people’s lawns has exploded. The system’s lithium-metal-polymer batteries are the culprit, prompting AT&T to replace 17,000 of them. Four of the U-Verse cabinets have exploded since the program began.
Cadmium batteries are cheap and safe to use, but hazardous to manufacture. They’ll save you money—about $1.50 for the average cadmium-powered toy, says the Wall Street Journal.
Because some have been known to spontaneously combust, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is banning some lithium batteries from your checked-in luggage. In the spring, a laptop battery related fire erupted in the overhead compartment of a Jetblue flight, and on an American Airlines flight from Argentina, prompting the DOT to issue a warning about packing spare batteries. Lithium batteries are commonly used in laptops and cellphones. However, the rules mainly apply to professionals and/or people who travel with spare batteries. For the most part, batteries installed in the electronic device are fine. Inside, a handy chart to tell you what’s been banned.