HP to Pay Penalty for Not Immediately Reporting Battery Hazard

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has agreed to pay a $425,000 penalty for failing to immediately report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that their lithium-ion battery packs posed a burn hazard to consumers.

The CPSC alleges that by September 2007 Hewlett-Packard knew of 22 separate incidents of a battery pack overheating, two of which caused injuries.
Federal law requires that all manufacturers, distributors, and retailers report to the CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information about products that are defective or hazardous to the consumer. Even though Hewlett-Packard allegedly knew about the safety issues with their battery packs they failed to report them to the CPSC.

Between March and April 2007, HP conducted a study on their battery packs. Yet, the CPSC alleges that HP failed to notify them about the study or the battery packs overheating until July 2008. By then HP allegedly knew about 31 incidents of the battery packs overheating.

HP and the CPSC announced a recall of 32,000 lithium-ion battery packs in October 2008. The notebook computers that HP sold contained the defective battery packs, which were also sold separately at stores and online retailers.

By agreeing to the settlement, HP denies the CPSC’s allegations.