Media Coverage

MacBook Catches Fire; Faulty Battery to Blame

2016-10-13

Purchasing aftermarket batteries or other parts is less expensive than high quality OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture) parts…and they work the same, right? False. There are dangers replacing electronic parts with cheaper alternatives. Installing these lesser quality parts can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage. 

A man from Tampa, FL found this out the hard way. A faulty aftermarket battery caused his MacBook to literally go up in smoke. The owner was lucky to be around when the incident occurred and was able to remove the burning computer from his home without serious damage or injury. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of his MacBook.

You get what you pay for in these instances. OEM parts are more expensive because of superior quality and reliability of the materials used during manufacturing. Most OEM parts have 90-Day to 1-Year Warranties, which covers defects or flaws in materials. A lot of aftermarket parts only cover defects for 30-Days...if you're lucky. Think of it this way; if you owned an Aston Martin and needed to replace a part, would you replace a part with some knockoff? Or would you take it to the dealership for a genuine Aston Martin part?

When you invest in any computer you must be conscious of the fact that over time something is going to need to be replaced or upgraded. Wear and tear on computers is normal, and so is replacing parts. When the time comes, spend the extra money for quality and assurance. You will end up saving in the long run.

 

Original Story by NBC News Channel 8 Tampa, FL

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gil Sanderford got the shock of his life recently as he sat down to do some work at his dining room table. Sanderford was on his computer when it happened.

 

As the Tampa consultant was working on his laptop, his MacBook sat just a few inches away. It was charging and turned off at the time. Seconds later, it began hissing. Then, sparks began to fly. Within 30 seconds, Sanderford’s house was filled with smoke.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life. All I knew was that I had to grab it, try to get more door locked outside as fast as possible,” he told News Channel 8

 

He grabbed the computer with thick, white smoke pouring out of it and got his wife and children outside as fast as he could. As Sanderford rushed out the door, some of the plastic stuck to his fingertips. His laptop had caught fire right in front of him.

“Sparks started flying out from underneath the computer,” he said.

 

After he took the computer outside, Sanderford began examining the MacBook. He realized the fire seemed to begin with the battery, a product he purchased at a Batteries Plus on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa.

“From what I understand, Batteries Plus has these manufactured as Rayovac batteries; that’s what they told me,” Sanderford said.

 

He took his MacBook to the technicians at iHospital on Fowler Avenue near the University of South Florida. They told him that the replacement battery had overheated.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Apple expert Tom Goldscheck said.

 

Then, they offered this advice. “You never want to buy aftermarket batteries for them. A lithium ion battery can literally explode at any time. You’re causing your computer or phone to be a ticking time bomb,” Goldscheck said.

 

“Batteries Plus Bulbs always puts the safety of its customers first and, as such, we take this matter very seriously. We are in direct contact with the customer; however, without having access to the home, the affected MacBook, the charger and the battery, we have no way to further assess or comment on the specifics of this incident,” Batteries Plus told News Channel 8.

 

Sanderford confirmed with News Channel 8 he is working with Batteries Plus to get a new computer. “It’s scary. It’s really scary. I’m just glad I was home when this happened. I know my house could have caught on fire,” he said.