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Sony VAIO Users Get Burned, Sony Recalls 440,000 units

Sony has released an official statement informing customers that the company has issued a recall of the VIAO TZ following a reported 200 instances of users’ laptops overheating, with 15 of those occurring in the US and one user suffering minor burns.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission issued a release today detailing the problem, which will see 74,000 VAIOs in the U.S. recalled, with a reported 440,000 machines worldwide. Problems with VIAO TZs overheating were initially reported in Japan and spread to the U.S. and UK shortly after.

Models affected include the following TZ series:
- VGN-TZ100 series
- VGN-TZ200 series
- VGN-TZ300 series
- VGN-TZ2000 series

In the past Sony has had problems and complaints about the batteries in machines overheating. We’re not sure if it’s a good thing that this problem isn’t related to the battery or if it’s a cause for further concern but either way, according to Sony UK, the units in question are generating excessive heat around the DC jack inlet as well as the frame of the display, which is sometimes melting the plastic.

Mike Abary, senior VP of Sony’s VAIO division, had only to say, "The issue involves a small number of units which may overheat due to a wiring problem. ... The satisfaction of our customers is our number one concern, and we will work diligently to ensure that your VAIO notebook is in top working order. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support in this matter."

Further investigation revealed that the overheating flaw is caused by "irregularly placed wires near the hinge, or a dislodged screw inside the hinge, may create a short circuit, causing localized overheating."

If you have a VAIO TZ, don’t panic just yet. The problem seems to be isolated to any machines sold between May 2007 and July 2008 and even then, not all all units are affected. TZ owners are advised to visit Sony’s support site to input notebook product code and serial number for an instant check if the unit is within the affected range.

Should the notebook require a recall, Sony said that it would provide at no charge an inspection and, if necessary, on-site repair. Alternatively, users can also ship their notebooks to a service center.