Recently, several airlines have banned passengers from bringing certain Apple MacBook Pro models onboard planes as either hand baggage or inside checked bags. The underlying reason is that the batteries in the recalled laptop computers can overheat, posing a fire hazard.
I was reminded of this when I went to check a reservation on the Singapore Airlines website.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro sold between September 2015 and February 2017 is the affected model. This article on Business Insider is keeping up on all the airlines who have banned the computer. If you have this model of computer, here’s Apple’s website giving instructions on how to get it repaired for free.
This isn’t the first time airlines have taken action to prevent a certain electronic product onboard airplanes. How can we forget the highly publicized problems with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?
So this begs me to ask the question, how can you find out if your electronic products, such as computers, smartphones or even headphones, are a subject of a manufacturer recall?
Everyone is familiar with recalls regarding automobiles. However, it’s somewhat easier to contact customers about problems with their car because you have to give your contact information to the dealer when buying the car to register the title. Auto companies will, at a minimum, send a letter to everyone they think owns a specific model of car to let them know of safety problems. But that doesn’t apply to personal electronic items. If your computer or smartphone might burst into flames, it’s up to you to make sure you’re notified.
The easiest way to make sure you’re on the contact list is to register your product after your purchase. You know, the card in the box that asks you to fill out your personal information, or the website that asks way too many questions. While this is a great way for a company to collect all of your info and send you spam about their new products, it’s also a way to let them know which products you own, just in case one of them is recalled.
If you’re like me, you totally ignore these opportunities. If you do, how can you find out about recalls? Any consumer product that is recalled in the U.S. is listed on the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website. You can search by company or product. A quick search for Apple found the MacBook Pro recall.
If you can’t be bothered to learn that website, just go to www.recalls.gov which gives links to all recall websites in the US including autos, food and consumer products.
If you want to search for a specific company, here are links to the manufacturers of the most popular computers and smartphones in the US:
Apple Exchange and Repair Extension programs
Samsung (has no dedicated page for product recalls so you have to start here)
LG lists all their product notices at this website
Lenovo product recalls (including IBM and Motorola) are listed at this website
HP product recalls can be found on their website
Dell product safety recalls can be found here
Acer alerts and recalls
While any major recalls on consumer products often become headline news, it’s still up to you to make sure your purchases aren’t involved. Registering your purchases will help to protect you but if you’re lazy like the rest of us, checking the CPSC website or the manufacturers’ support page is your next best way to make sure you don’t need to bring your electronics in for repair before traveling.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary