APC Recalls Pair of Backup Power Products

American Power Conversion (APC) is voluntarily recalling two popular models of its back-up uninterruptible power supply products — the Back-UPS CS 350 and the Back-UPS CS 500. More than 2.1 million units of the affected products have been sold worldwide. Approximately 900,000 of the devices were sold in the United States, primarily for small office and home office use.

APC tested the products and determined that in limited circumstances the units could fail, causing potential overheating that may melt the outer casing, which poses a potential fire hazard. APC is working in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide consumers with a free replacement unit.

APC has received eight reports worldwide of units overheating resulting in the melting of the unit’s outer casing, six incidents occurred in the United States. None of the reported incidents resulted in personal injury to date, but minor property damage was caused in three instances.

The affected units were manufactured between November 2000 and December 2002. The units were sold primarily through computer and electrical distribution, catalog and retail outlets worldwide.

Replacement Process

To determine if your UPS is one of the units included the recall, simply locate the model number and serial number sticker on the bottom of your APC Back-UPS CS. Check to make sure the model number listed on the sticker is the BK350 or the BK500 (left)..

Consumers with affected units can identify them by the model markings on the front of the unit and by the serial numbers located on the bottom of the unit. Any unit with an “R” at the end of a serial number is not part of the recall. Only units with serial numbers having the first six characters in the following ranges are affected: AB0048 through AB0251, BB0104 through BB0251, and JB0125 through JB0251.

If you own one of the recalled products, APC recommends that you immediately stop using the UPS unit by turning off all connected equipment, turning the UPS unit off, and then unplugging the unit from the electrical outlet.

You can register online to receive an equivalent replacement unit for free or call (866) 272-7359. In North America, APC expects to ship replacement units within a week of receiving the request for a replacement.

Tops In UPS

This is the first recall in APC’s 22-year history. APC has already implemented design changes to prevent replacement products from overheating. The company estimates that the product recalls will cost between $15 and $25 million. According to Kiplinger.com, APC derives about 80 percent of its annuals sales from its uninterruptible power and surge suppressor products. APC reported worldwide sales totaling more than $1.4 billion in 2001.

Rodger B. Dowdell, Jr., APC president and chief executive officer, is confident that the company will recover from the recall.

“We remain highly confident in the overall safety and reliability of all of our products, and have been working diligently to ensure that this action results in a minimum inconvenience to our customers and channel partners,” Dowdell said.

Founded in 1981, APC is a leading provider of global, end-to-end AC and DC-based power products and services, including surge suppressors, uninterruptible power supplies, power conditioning equipment, and related software.

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