The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nokia blames counterfeits
- Few originals among batteries that blew up: Company

New Delhi, Sept. 3: Nokia has blamed most of the recent cellphone explosions in India on counterfeit batteries.

Only a few of the exploding batteries were originals, says the company which has offered to replace batteries from a BL-5C batch after about 100 of them overheated while being recharged.

Nokia sources added that the company, at its headquarters in Finland, can forensically ascertain the authenticity of a battery from photographs of the broken parts after an explosion.

Officials from the company’s Gurgaon office yesterday took pictures of the exploded battery (BL-D3) and the Nokia 2100 phone of Calcuttan Kishori Saha. The pictures will be sent to Finland and if the phone’s accessories are found to be original and faulty, the company will replace the phone or pay compensation.

Most of the batteries Nokia has so far received in India for replacement are either counterfeit or from phones that had been tampered with, said D. Shivakumar, vice-president and managing director, Nokia India.

“No explosions have been reported from any other part of the world, while only 100 incidents of battery overheating have been found globally,” Shivkumar said.

“We urge consumers to use genuine and original Nokia batteries and accessories, like mobile phone chargers, to ensure safety, performance and warranty coverage.”

The Indian Cellular Association, too, said that more that 75 per cent of replacement batteries bought by Indian cellphone users are fakes. The counterfeit battery market is believed to be worth Rs 4.5 crore.

“Counterfeits are manufactured in extremely poor conditions and lack safety mechanisms,” said Panjak Mohindroo, ICA president.

Nokia has advised consumers to keep their batteries dry, use cellphone chargers indoors and never leave a recharged battery connected to a charger.

A company official said: “Retailers are in a key position to make sure that only safe and high-quality batteries are sold to consumers, and Nokia has local teams to help retailers identify reliable sources for original Nokia batteries. In addition, Nokia continues to undertake aggressive legal measures to prevent counterfeit batteries coming to the market.”

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