Microsoft's Authorised Device Resellers (ADR) won't have to do any of the legwork in the recall process for potentially millions of Surface power cords, the vendor has confirmed.
As exclusively revealed by CRN sister publication Channelnomics Europe earlier this week, the vendor is issuing a voluntary recall of AC power cords for all Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 devices sold in North America before 15 March 2015, or 15 July 2015 in the rest of the world. The recall was issued following "consultation with safety regulators" in light of fears that the power supplies could overheat and pose a fire risk when the cord was "sharply or repeatedly bent... [or] tightly wrapped".
Microsoft yesterday issued full instructions of how customers should go about obtaining a replacement. Firstly, users are urged to safely and legally discard their existing cord, and order a replacement - even if they cannot see or otherwise detect any damage. Affected customers are then instructed to fill in an online form, after which Microsoft aims to have delivered them a new power cord within four to six working days.
All consumers are told to deal with Microsoft directly - even if they bought their device from a retailer. Business customers needing to place a bulk order must telephone Microsoft to arrange replacement, rather than simply filling in the online form. But the vendor indicated to Channelnomics Europe that it will also be managing these orders directly.
"All customer AC power cord replacements are being managed by Microsoft via www.surface.com/powercord. The programme handles those who need to place a bulk order - such as businesses - as well as individual users," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
The issue of whether Microsoft would handle the recall process directly or ask resellers and retailers to supply customers with replacement cords is one that the channel and its clients alike have harboured concerns about since news of the recall broke.
One commenter on CRN said: "I hope for my own sanity that Microsoft man up and manage the recall themselves. If they force customers back to the reseller from where they purchased the device, then that is an issue."
Partners we spoke to confirmed that their only instruction from the vendor thus far has been to point customers towards the website containing details of who is eligible to obtain a replacement, and how they can go about it.
Customers can order as many replacement cords as they have devices, and no proof of damage is needed. The recently released Surface Book laptop and Surface Pro 4 tablet are completely unaffected by the recall, as are all earlier-generation devices sold after the stipulated dates. The consumer-targeted Surface RT and its successors are also exempt, as are any and all devices with DC, rather than AC, power supplies. Microsoft further clarified that the trade-in scheme applies only to the power supply and not to the tablet itself.
Customers that do not replace their power cord will not void their warranty, nor will this process affect users' Microsoft Complete Accident Protection.
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