Howard handles phone fire

Nadege Valcin of Queens has a beef with Motorola. Her phone froze last month, so she tried to remove the battery and restart the phone. That turned out to be a big mistake.

“It just started to spark," she said. "It caught on fire and I dropped it on the floor because of the flames.”

Nadege lost phone contacts and irreplaceable photos. And she needs a phone for her business Chase & Papi. She’s an event planner for dogs!

Anyway, Nadege, who goes by “Desh,” wasn’t happy with the way Motorola responded to her complaint about the fire.

“They were very nonchalant about the fact I could have gotten hurt,” Desh told us. “They wanted me to send in this phone and then they would send me a loaner phone. And if they felt that I was responsible for it, then I would be charged for the loaner phone. And their other option was I send them this phone and I pay warranty to get another phone, but it would be refurbished.”

She thought she was being accused of causing the fire. And she says she had a previous problem with a Motorola phone that didn’t work properly. The company sent her a replacement, but it was a refurbished replacement for what had been a phone she bought new.

So, she was a little annoyed with the company and contacted us. We got in touch with Motorola. The company’s representative sent us an email saying Desh had “ignored the warnings” contained in the phone guidebook not to remove the battery and likely punctured it causing the fire. (See full email below).

But the company made a one-time gesture of goodwill. It sent Desh a brand new phone to resolve this.

“A Moto D-4. This is what I had before, but this is brand new rather than the refurbished phone that I had before," she said. "And I’m just happy to now have a phone in my hand.”

And we’re happy she has it, too.


Complete statement from Motorola:

We take this issue very seriously, and consumer safety is of utmost importance to us. While this is an isolated event, we are following our standard protocol for exceptional events.

Our customer service team offers a free loaner phone while we analyze any products which have experienced an exceptional event. Upon conclusion of the analysis, we take the appropriate action based on the results.

We note that the particular phone in question has an embedded battery that is not designed to be removed by consumers, however this customer ignored the warnings and removed the battery, likely puncturing the battery. In this case, the customer refused to send in the product and our offer of a loaner phone. We are happy to work with her on a replacement phone should she be interested in continuing dialogue with us.

Motorola informs customers that products with embedded batteries should only be removed by a Motorola approved service center, or other trained professionals for safety. Motorola batteries are tested in our own labs, in addition to official certification which is performed at third party labs, consistent with industry practice. The internal testing provides an additional level beyond industry standards. Additionally, we work directly with our suppliers to ensure manufacturing testing, materials, and design consistently produce high quality batteries.