Going through a third-party retailer when purchasing replacements for your tech gadgets is often enticing to consumers. They are usually cheaper, can be delivered to your door, and — it was just discovered — highly flammable.
Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) announced that it is recalling 5,100 MacBook Pro lithium ion batteries due to a fire risk after receiving reports of 13 batteries catching on fire, leaving one customer with a serious leg burn.
“After receiving reports from customers of these lithium ion batteries overheating when charging, we believe the right thing to do is to contact our customers and ask them to return the product for replacement or for a Best Buy gift card,” Best Buy told Gizmodo. “While we are only one of many companies that may have sold these batteries, we feel they are a potential fire and burn hazard and want to keep our customers safe.”
The black and white ATG lithium ion replacement batteries were sold online or shipped to its customers through the Geek Squad service from September 2008 through June 2012, according to Gizmodo.
CNET reports that lithium ion batteries have a tendency to overheat and become flammable, leading to a couple very dangerous incidents in the last few years. In February a man was severely burned when his Samsung mobile device set on fire in his pants pocket. Additionally, in 2009, a man was killed after his phone exploded, severing his neck artery.
The tough times keep getting tougher for Best Buy, which has struggled to compete with online retailers such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Earlier this year the retailing giant laid off 400 people at its Richfield, Minnesota headquarters.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, in a twisted way this could actually be some good news for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Third-party retailers steal a lot of business away from the tech giant by offering replacement products on the cheap. This negative publicity could convince consumers to go with the more expensive, yet safer option of buying directly from the manufacturer.