Hewlett-Packard will pay a civil penalty of $425,000 for failing to report immediately to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that certain lithium-ion battery packs contained a defect and could overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard.
In agreeing to the settlement, HP denies the CPSC allegations, or that HP violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.
Staff at the CPSC alleges that by September 2007, HP knew of about 22 incidents associated with the lithium-ion battery packs, at least two of which resulted in injuries to consumers. In addition, between March and April 2007, HP conducted a study, obtaining more information about the lithium-ion battery packs, CPSC staff alleges. HP did not notify the CPSC about the incidents or the study until July 2008. By that time, CPSC staff alleges that HP was aware of at least 31 incidents involving the faulty battery packs.
In October 2008, HP and CPSC announced the recall of about 32,000 lithium-ion battery packs. The battery packs were shipped with new HP Notebook computers, sold as accessories or provided as spare parts for various HP models.
Under federal law, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must report to the CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information that a product has a defect, which could create a risk of injury or death, or fails to comply with safety regulations enforced by the CPSC.