Press Release
August 16, 2007

Consumer safety crucial - Villar

"Consumer safety is crucial and must be urgently ensured," stressed Senate President Manny Villar as he called on the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Telecommunications Commission to implement measures to enable holders of defective Nokia BL-5C mobile phone batteries to get immediate replacement.

This came in the wake of complaints aired by consumers about the "tedious" process of securing such replacements which involves the encoding of specific labels asked by the Nokia website followed by more queries, the final settlement of which is a promise to send the complainant the replacement battery all the way from Finland.

A complainant who suffered injuries after her battery exploded expressed that the process is grossly unfair to ordinary Filipinos like drivers and helpers who have no access to or skill in computers.

"Replacement must be immediate so as not to further put in peril the lives and limbs and properties of our end users," the Senate President underscored.

He cited that in the Philippines where ordinary masses own cellular phones and would skip their meals to be able to buy loads, most cannot afford to buy a replacement battery outright.

"The failure to secure a replacement battery immediately from Nokia will leave poor users no choice but to continue using their defective batteries despite known risks," Villar, who filed a bill on consumer safety, lamented.

"I am, therefore, asking the National Telecommunications Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry to step in and address this matter now in upholding the Consumer Safety Act," he said.

Villar also called on Nokia and private telecommunication companies to exercise corporate social responsibility and accord priority to the safety of consumers in helping facilitate the replacement of the said batteries.

Nokia BL-5C batteries manufactured by Matsushita Co. between December 2005 and November 2006 were found to be defective as they are at risk of exploding while being charged, leading to their recall by Nokia.

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