Dell this week recalled 4.1 million laptop PC batteries, considered the biggest product-safety recall ever in the computer industry, because they presented a risk of catching on fire.
Some Dell customers say the company did a good job of handling the recall, and that they expect to be only minimally inconvenienced.
"I was very impressed with how well Dell handled the situation," says Chris Cahalin, network manager at Papa Ginos, a pizza chain based in Dedham, Mass.
Cahalin says he received notification of the recall the night of Aug. 14 and "had an opportunity to advise my team how to handle this." He says Dell provided him simple, detailed instructions on how to return affected batteries. Cahalin was expecting to receive replacement batteries for several machines within 20 days; he says he had already received four by Friday, Aug. 18.
"I was expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised by how much preparation Dell had done in order to make this as simple as possible and how very few [of our laptops] were impacted," he says.
Meanwhile, Ed Klein, CIO of Royal Resorts, says that of the Mexico-based resort operators 35 Dell notebooks, so far only one that requires battery replacement. "For us, it is not a big deal, and Dell is handling it well," he says.
But others are facing logistics problems in light of the massive recall. The U.S. Army, for example, will have to replace batteries for 150,000 Dell computers around the globe, according to a report in Federal Computer Week. Representatives of the Armys Enterprise Information Systems unit did not respond to Baselines requests for more information.