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Monday, February 6, 2012

Apple Replaces Swollen MacBook Pro 17" Battery With New

Three summers ago the removable battery in my 17" MacBook Pro swelled. Although it is hard to be sure, the cause may have been that it was left for a couple days in a vehicle in temperatures at the very top end of the scale for summertime temperatures in the American southwest. Finding myself in New York City soon thereafter, I went to the iconic Apple Store there with my battery to demand a new one. The first store employee who spoke with me turned me down outright. When I pressed the issue, she sent me up the famous glass stairs to the Genius Bar, where a genius turned me down. Undeterred, I finally dropped the magic word: lawsuit. No, I did not threaten to sue, nor would I have done so, I merely stated "Although this individual battery is not a part of any of your recalls, I know there have been many lawsuits over this batter..." The Genius briefly conferred with the store manager, and I was given a brand new battery.

Lo these thirty months later, that battery also swelled up! The symptom of impending explosion was familiar: the mouse button became weak, soft, and shallow. Unlike last time, this battery had never been subjected to extreme heat, either hot or cold -- and that makes me question whether the heat was the cause of the previous battery's swelling.

In any case, today I took the battery to the Apple Store in Madison, WI. Upon entering the store, the employees near the door asked how they could help, and I showed them the swollen battery. He called it "bulge", which is apparently their preferred nomenclature. Also, the key words are "safety issue", as in "My Apple-branded battery has swollen, which I feel is a safety issue." He used those words, which I dutifully repeated back to him. Without me even having to ask, he immediately took me to a shelf with new batteries on it and gave me one. He kept the old battery, and the new packaging (as had the employee three years ago). This employee gave me a boilerplate admonishment about buying AppleCare, but I have done quite well without AppleCare on my current Mac. It is those low-quality iPods which need to be insured.

So if you experience swelling in your battery (lasting more than four hours), go to an Apple Store and politely demand a new one.

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