Sony secretly wrote to its UK channel partners earlier this week warning them that the company planned to recall some Vaio TZ-series laptops, The Register has learned.
The firm, which was forced to recall 440,000 Vaio notebooks worldwide because of wiring faults that could cause overheating, asked its Blighty resellers to “keep the information confidential” until 4 September.
In an official statement to customers yesterday, Sony said there had been “no reported incidents of this potential issue in products sold in the UK to date” before adding that “a product recall is not required”.
Instead, it put the onus on customers to go to a website set up to manage the wiring blunder where they could check whether their Vaio TZ notebook might be part of the faulty batch. Sony also offered punters a “free inspection and rework where applicable”.
However, Sony - which is shy about using the word “recall” - is in fact in the process of bringing back channel stock and “reworking” affected Vaio models, which sounds a lot like a recall to us.
Sony dealers were told: “We are voluntarily initiating an inspection and rework programme for any of these TZ models that you currently have in stock which are in a sealed box condition. For unboxed stock we are working on a process that will be communicated on Monday 8 September.”
The company told resellers that it hopes for "a maximum of two weeks turn around time to get the products from collection to return".
Unsurprisingly Sony hasn’t revealed how many laptops in the UK have been affected by the cock-up, but the fact that it wrote to channel players seems to suggest that the problem is much more widespread than it’s publicly letting on.
We asked Sony if it could tell us more about the problem, but all it was prepared to offer us was yesterday’s increasingly stale-smelling customer statement. ®