Siemens phone recall could fall on deaf ears

Electronic manufacturer Siemens has pulled 4,000 mobile handsets from Australian retail shelves over concerns they could cause hearing damage.The problem affects Siemens M65- and C65-series phones.

Electronic manufacturer Siemens has pulled 4,000 mobile handsets from Australian retail shelves over concerns they could cause hearing damage.

The problem affects Siemens M65- and C65-series phones. The handsets' software contains a glitch that causes its low-battery shutdown melody to sound at the highest available volume setting.

Siemens public affairs manager, Brad Voss, today said that if someone were holding the phone close to their ear at the time of the alert they "might get a bit of a fright". However, he later conceded that the recall was the prompted by concerns that the alert could cause hearing damage.

"In extreme circumstances -- depending on a person's hearing sensitivity -- we can't rule out that there might be a risk of that," said Voss.

Siemens today said it was yet to receive any legal claims against it for hearing damage in connection with the use of the phones.

Voss said the problem was found during testing at the company's German laboratory. However he was unable to explain why the company chose to undertake the testing.

The company was today still attempting to determine if the phones complied with Australia's sound emission safety standards.

The company currently estimates that 250 Australian consumers have purchased the phones, which have only been on sale locally for the last three weeks. All 4,000 of the phones to be recalled will require software upgrades.

Vodafone has chosen to call customers that purchased the handsets from its stores directly. Optus and Telstra customers will be contacted via SMS.

Siemens was not the only technology manufacturer doing the recall rounds over the last few days

IBM Australia was recalling a power adapter used with its ThinkPad iSeries, sSeries and 390 and 240 -series laptop computers.

According to information published on the Australian federal government's product recall site, the units have an overheating problem that causes their casings to melt and circuit boards to char.

Consumers that own the units have been warned not to leave them plugged into mains power unattended.

IBM will be supplying customers with replacement units free of charge.

The Australian government has also advised consumers who believe that the have one of these faulty units to call 131 426 between 9 am and 7 pm (EST) Monday to Friday and select option 1.

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