There is nothing more vexing than a product that needs to be recalled. Consumers, manufacturers, and investors can agree that it is a predicament filled with major losses. Just think about it: a product recall may mean that products are either contaminated with toxic chemicals which accidentally found its way there, or that they are faulty enough to cause serious injuries or even death.
In this list, we will explore some of the biggest tech recalls made of all time. These caused serious injuries, property damage which costs millions, and terrifying incidents you would not want to happen to you.
Sony Batteries installed in Dell Laptops
More than 4 million Dell laptops were recalled in 2006 when the lithium-ion batteries made by Sony overheated and became a fire hazard. At that time, there had been six incidents in which the batteries overheated and caused property damage. However, that all changes when Thomas Forqueran’s Dell notebook caught fire and ignited ammunition in the glove box and then the gas tank.
Since the batteries were from Sony, they bore majority of the grunt, costing between $200 and $400 million for the recalls.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
One of the most recent major recalls in this list comes courtesy of Samsung. It cost the tech company $5.3 billion in recalling 2.5 million units when their high-end Galaxy Note 7 started bursting in flames. Samsung was forced to discontinue the flagship line when the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission received 92 reports of the mobile overheating within the first two months of its release.
They released the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 the year after, which fortunately received good reviews and sales.
From 2016 to 2017, about 520,100 hoverboards were recalled because the scooters became serious fire hazards. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported incidents of the battery packs overheating, some of which caught fire and even exploded which caused serious burns and property damage.
Depending on the brand of your hoverboard, consumers can get a full refund, a replacement, or a store credit in exchange for the faulty scooters.
Amazon Basics Branded External Power Bank
Amazon recalled 260,000 units from six models of their power bank when they received reports of overheating or igniting. According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, there were 53 reports of the device causing chemical burns, and property damage due to fire and smoke.
The chargers have a capacity of 2,000 to 16,100 mAh used to power up phones and tablets. The recalls affected power banks sold in the Amazon website, pop-stores, and bookstores from December 2014 to July 2017.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 suffered what was called the Red Ring of Death, which cost Microsoft about $1 billion in repairs and unit replacements. Former Xbox head Robbie Bach said that it was a flaw borne from putting design over engineering. Bach described the design-first approach by saying, “We started with design at the front of the process, and we said, ‘This has to be designed with a designer’s sensibility.’ So the enclosure work we did was done relatively early. Not locked in stone, but we have a shell under which we want to fit. So then the engineering team goes and puts things in the shell.”
The Red Ring of Death is a hardware issue which caused a number of consoles to shut down and stop working. It would flash three bright red rings in the front panel, and it will not turn back on again.
Product recalls are a nightmare for everyone involved
Recalls do not just hurt a company’s brand reputation or the investors expected return, it harms the public when it should otherwise be safe to consume. When it comes to major product recalls, you might find that most of them are from the automotive industry since in the first quarter of this year alone, there have been more than 88,000 recalls already from seven manufacturers.
But as you can see, coming up in its heels is the tech industry. This just shows that for the manufacturer’s side, testing rigorously and being transparent with the results is important. For us consumers, it pays to read gadget specifications and reviews before purchasing items.