Duracell batteries ruined my voice recorder

Submitted: Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 11:56
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Two Duracell AA batteries leaked and ruined my Sony Voice Recorder.

Trying to contact someone in Duracell proved difficult. No one in Australia. Those at the American address on the battery told me to go away. Some Duracell call centre in Asia told me to email them photos of the recorder, batteries and packaging then when I did they said it had nothing to do with them as the batteries were brought into Australia via a "parallel importer". They wouldn't explain what a "parallel importer" was and wouldn't respond to further emails.

Coles wanted nothing to do with me because I hadn't kept the receipt. Who keeps receipts for batteries guaranteed for seven years, the print on the receipts dissolves.

Every time I see a Duracell ad my teeth clench.
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:01

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:01
Mick - A "parallel" importer is a company that purchases a certain product with a "brand name" on it, from countries that are outside "official" brand-name company importing structures, and then sells it in Australia.
Thus, Duracell would have "official" company-backed distributors in Australia that source their battery supplies from officially-approved factories.
This "officially-approved sources" control is a more of a stunt designed to improve company profits than anything else - but of course, they will claim it's all to do with "quality control", which is often a furphy.

The parallel importer will source supplies from factories and distributors in "unapproved" countries, typically such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillipines, thus bypassing the official company importing network.
This makes the company angry as it cuts into their local sales. They will state that the quality of parallel imports is unknown, and could be suspect.

This is a very debatable point, as the factories in the above-mentioned countries are still producing the company product with their name on it.
However, it is possible that the parallel imports are of a lower quality, that the factories in those countries may still have QC problems, and the inhabitants of those countries may have lower expectations of quality levels.

The bottom line is that it pays to keep receipts for anything that comes with a warranty, for as long as the warranty lasts, and even longer.

If you have purchased a "parallel import" product, then the company quite likely has an "out" in their warranty wording, that releases them from warranty claims.
The fine print in their warranty wording would show up this angle - and if it does, then there really is nothing you can do, apart from lodge a claim with the retailer of the product.
However, no longer having the receipt means you haven't got a leg to stand on with the retailer.

In addition, you may find that the warranty, if supported, limits the company to replacing just the batteries, and they refuse to accept any liability for any other collateral damage caused by faulty batteries. This is a common warranty clause.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:56

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 13:56
Yes disappointing, they say on the battery leak proof, but I have seen many devices damaged by leaking Duracell batteries.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:00

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:00
Ron more the point is that you are asking the official local distributor to warrant a product that they did not sell or profit from in the first place
Fair enough in my book
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 10:14

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 10:14
In this day and age who knows where batteries are comming from.

In the past the australian market was dominated by two dry cell battery brands duracell and Eveready.......

The supermarkets where always the majority volume sellers of batteries and it was and still is near impossible for anybody to get a decent deal on duracell or energiser in this country appart from the major supermarkets.

These days there are SOME generic products that are every bit as good as the two major players, particularly in the AA and AAA products that represent the majority volume in the market.

Both players have sold "industrial batteries" branded "not for retail sale"...... but the only reason they are cheaper wholesale than they could be purchased in the supermarkets, is that they are not blister packed.......they are the same product with a different paint job.

There are also a couple of other brands that have previoulsy not had a great deal of volume in the market such as Varta and Panasonic showing up in certain chains.

Considering the two major supermarket chains would have by far the majority volume in the dry cell battery market....they would have enormous leverage under threat of supporting one of the other world brands...and may have indeed bypassed the local distributer.

All the batteries I buy come are paralell import thru one of my wholesalers..and at well below the cost, that I could possibly manage thru the "authorised distributer chain".

The duracell 9 volts that I get are clearly branded as US product and the paint job differs from those seen in the supermarkets.

The wholesaler I use, used to bring in their own branded batteries, which where everybit as good as the major brands...these days they are supplying panasonic and duracell at similar prices.
It is my guess that dropping parelell import restrictions has allowed them to do this.

If the major supermarkets have back doored the local distributer...I am not surprised they may be a bit narky...they will be left with nothing more than the scraps of the market.


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Reply By: TomH - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 14:59

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 14:59
How long had the batteries been in the recorder.

Have seen this happen when batteries have been in equipment for a considerable time.

Like when something has been forgotten about and pulled out 6 months later
AnswerID: 542795

Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 15:44

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 15:44
Yes and the fine print on batteries or their packaging says that if not being used for any length of time the battery should be removed from the appliance.

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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 18:05

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 18:05
I have seen the results of them leaking when the device is in daily use, device working ok suddenly stops working you open up the battery compartment and the battery contacts are corroded and there's crystals on the battery terminals. Or the device is still working and you find the batteries have been leaking and corroding the terminals.

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Reply By: Slow one - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:56

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:56
I hate durocell batteries as I was made redundant by them. Bloody batteries and vibrators.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 18:20

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 18:20
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Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 19:27

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 19:27
Go to the shop, buy some new batteries, get a receipt for the new ones, wait a week, then submit a claim using the new receipt.

AnswerID: 542810

Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 20:10

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 20:10
That's naughty! But if OP bought the batteries from Coles, surely they are not dealing with parallel importers!

Of course, ANY battery will leak if allowed to sit in hot conditions for months, or in super cold conditions for months, or even "normal" temperatures for months on end! Could be that you have only yourself to blame?
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Reply By: Mick T3 - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 22:43

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 22:43
Yes, I should have gone and bought some new batteries then taken them back later. The batteries themselves are identical.

What was wrong with my thinking not to have thought of that?

Since then I got angry and smashed the record and the batteries. (Not logical, but it got it out of my mind).

Thanks, everyone for your good information and advice.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:37

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:37
regardless of the brand or type of dry cell battery...they will all leak after they go flat.

If you leave batteries in a device, let them go flat and they leak...you have no one to blame but yourself.

This is the duracell battery guarantee wording from their web site

Duracell battery guarantee

Guarantee: If not completely satisfied with your Duracell battery product, call 1-800-551-2355 (9:00AM – 5:00PM EST). Duracell guarantees its batteries against defects in materials and workmanship. Should any device be damaged due to a battery defect, we will repair or replace it at our option. Leaking battery and damaged device must be provided as proof of claim. Duracell may deny claims of damage caused by misuse or modification of the batteries or device.

We encourage you to recycle packaging as well.

As part of our commitment to preserve the environment, we use only nontoxic inks in our packaging and the card portion of our package is made from 55% recycled material. The plastic portion is made with 30% recycled plastic. The battery “can” is made with 40% recycled steel to reduce environmental impact while still maintaining strength.

the important words are

"Duracell guarantees its batteries against defects in materials and workmanship."

"be damaged due to a battery defect"

If the batteries where left in the device for an excessive period of time...that is clearly misuse and not due to a defect in materials or workmanship...or due to a battery defect.

AnswerID: 542857

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:41

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:41
Propper use of batteries would be in line with the manufacturer recomendations which are

To find out how to get the best performance out of your Duracell batteries, as well as how to properly recycle or dispose of them when they've been depleted, follow the easy battery care and disposal tips below.

Tips for proper battery care and use

Use the correct size and type of battery specified by the manufacturer of your device.

Keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a rough cloth each time you replace batteries.

Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months.

Remove batteries from equipment while it is being powered by household (AC) current.

Make sure that you insert batteries into your device properly, with the + (plus) and – (minus) terminals aligned correctly. CAUTION: Some equipment using more than three batteries may appear to work properly even if one battery is inserted incorrectly.

Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Do not refrigerate Duracell batteries; this will not make them last longer.

Extreme temperatures reduce battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places.

Do not attempt to recharge a battery unless the battery specifically is marked “rechargeable.”

Some dead batteries and batteries that are exposed to extremely high temperatures may leak. A crystalline structure may begin to form on the outside of the battery.

SO...did you comply with the above.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:47

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:47
"At our option". What a cop-out. I could drive a Mack truck through that clause.
It means they reserve the right to refuse all claims for collateral damage. It means you would have bugger-all chance of getting your damaged item replaced.
"Operator misuse" is the standard excuse they use.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:58

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 23:58
Read the whole sentence..."repair or replace at our option"..is a standard consumer law phrase....no you could not drive a truck thru that one.

The one you can drive a truck thu is

Damage due to a battery defect.

and you could drive a ocean liner thru

Duracell may deny claims of damage caused by misuse or modification of the batteries or device.

So in basic tems the written guarantee give no more rights than standard australin consumer law.

AND most importantly......if you left the batteries in the device...they went flat and leaked......its your fault.

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Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 01:23

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 01:23
I wouldn't worry about it if he got a replacement voice recorder he probably would have smashed it anyway and the issue was the batteries makes ya wonder.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 09:25

Friday, Dec 12, 2014 at 09:25
I have heard of people getting things replaced by battery companies.......but never actually seen or touched a device that has been replaced.

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Follow Up By: Mick T3 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:20

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:20
The Voice Recorder was ruined when I smashed it. I got tired of having a dud device sitting around. It was junk.

As to the batteries going flat then leaking, they are guaranteed for seven years and in journalism one uses voice recorders at short notice so to expect a person to remove the batteries after each use is probably unreasonable, certainly impractical.

As to heat getting to them that is an issue we all face. Kept under cover in a hot car is impossible to avoid if you're travelling on the Tanami Road in summer. But my problem was that it happened in a house, out of the sun, in a city.

Whatever, the corporate attitude of Duracell was deplorable. Simply wasting my time and stringing me along.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:45

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:45
Perhaps that 7 years is being misunderstood
They may have a 7year shelf life, but once they start to be used ,the outer metal casing starts being consummed [part of the chemical reaction that produce the electricity]
As the battery become flatter more & more casing is consumed
IF left in the device for long periods in that condition the corrosion continues, until pin holes develop which then leak electrolyte
Best to always take the batterries out of ANY device if it is not intended to be used for some time...
THe higher the current demand for the battery type, the more casing consumed
Alwats use the correct battery for the device.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:33

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:33
If someone depends on battery powered equipment for their livelihood......like I do.....one is wise to replace the batteries regularly regardless of need.

Last year I would have gone thru somewhere in the reigon of 200 AA and AAA batteries.
Some devices go thu batteries quite quickly....I have test equipment that will flatten 8 x AA batteries in the matter of 2 hours.
Other items like remote controlls will often take years to flatten their batteries.....I carry a bag of arround 40 remote controls.

My hand made cable checker I have got over 5 years out of a 9 volt alkaline battery.....but I have twice had to replace the battery including the battery clip because it was all a corroded mass...no matter I designed this machine to tolerate battery leakage with minimal damage.

Let me tell you if you leave batteries in a device long enough they WILL leak......Guaranteed.

I own something around $5000 worth of battery powered equipment.....battery neglect is simply not an option.

Mostly I change all the batteries in the arround 20 small pieces of test equipment I carry every year without fail in January.

Sometimes that just is not enough.

A lot of modern devices do not have a positivie acting power switch......they have some sort of soft power switch....as a result they continuoulsy apply a small drain on batteries.
Once a battery is near flat it may leak...and in a matter of months.

The batteries in my digital vernier calipers will not last a month without use if left in the instrument.

I can not tell you how many times I have had to repair or write off equipment someone has put away with the batteries still inside.

It is a fact of life that batteries will leak if they and the equipment they are in is neglected.

I replace batteries in radio microphones before every important show...regardless of condition.....I know broadcast users who as a matter of routine replace batteries half way thru a day knowing their batteries should run 8 hours in that radio mic product if left on continuously.

If you have a device that must be ready and you depend on it......you are a fool if you do not replace the batteries regularly.

I would have thaught a journalist would have had the comprehension skills and the street smarts to understand the limitations of a guarantee.

AND what the phrase " defects in materials and workmanship" meant.

This case is not a case of defects in materials and workmanship...it is clearly a case of equipment neglect.


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Reply By: Kelpie D - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:07

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:07
Hi Mick,

If you feel insulted and offended and degraded by some of the other members comments, you should use the "alert moderator" button and complain.

You do not mis-understand
You are not a fool
It is not your fault
Your occupation does not require you to "know better"
AnswerID: 542944

Follow Up By: Kelpie D - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:22

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:22
Oh, and you might find this article helpful


It explains exactly what causes batteries to leak.
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Follow Up By: Mick T3 - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 23:24

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 23:24
That is alright, Kelpie D.

The Bantam is a professional and doesn't tolerate amateurs well, but wouldn't make a great diplomat.

He has provided some very good information so I appreciate this.

Not sure I'd like to be stuck in the middle of the Great Sandy Desert with The Bantam though.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 00:01

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 00:01
Cannot post them, BUT, many smiles!

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Follow Up By: Kelpie D - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 09:56

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 09:56
Can't help you there Mick T3,

Maybe in your next life you might opt for an apprenticeship instead of a university degree in journalism. Or maybe you could get a job as a journo for a science or electrical magazine.

I wont go near the desert...just to be on the safe side :)
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Reply By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 07:29

Monday, Dec 15, 2014 at 07:29
Hi Mick, if it is of any use,

I have been using and maintaining significant quantities rechargable batteries for well over 25 years. (Talking AA & AAA "NiCad" and "NiMH").

I will not buy a Duracell rechargable battery either. They become "unpredictable" (ie how long they hold a charge) sooner than other brands. They do leak more than others as well.
I have managed to repair some devices thus damaged but now avoid the problem altogether. Sifting through the battery's on the market I have noticed a few things....

I know how incestuous the manufacturing and branding regime is. Certain branded rechargable AA camera batteries I still own could have been made anywhere - Old Kodak and Nikon ones still work fine 12+ years down the track. I suspect the Kodaks were made in the USA.

One brand of NiCads are still working after 25 years (old Tandys) they have never leaked and sit (now hard wired into) an old Black and Decker hand Vaccum cleaner which gets a charge every few years just to see if it still works. I don't know if that recipe is still used and you can still buy that sort of quality anymore......

I seem to get a better run out of Energisers than most other commercial brands. Varta have improved in quality but after a bad experience when they first appeared on the market I have not used enough of them to give an informed opinion. However the Dick Smith Brand seems to be the pick of the bunch in the NiMH class despite their lower mA rating. (DSE And Tandy are now merged anyway)

May be worth going down the rechargable path if you haven't already ......... At least this may save you some time experimenting with brands....

Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
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Reply By: Mick T3 - Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 21:10

Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 21:10
Thanks everyone for your help.

I've now realised that most electrical items we buy come with a hidden price of requiring new knowledge to be learnt to use and maintain them.

Maybe a nice holiday would be a holiday from buying stuff.

AnswerID: 543098

Follow Up By: Kelpie D - Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 22:34

Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 at 22:34
Well, you did have a choice...You could have bettered yourself by doing an apprenticeship and becoming a professional. But no, you had to better Australia by going off to university and becoming a journalist ;)

How selfless of you !

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