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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Sony laptops in electric shock risk
Sony Vaio
The Vaio series of laptops are popular with consumers
About 18,000 Vaio laptops are being recalled by electronics giant Sony because of the risk of an electric shock to users.

The problem is with faulty modems, which means that people could receive a shock when making a phone call and using the Vaio at the same time.

Most of the laptops affected by the technical glitch are in Japan, with a further 3,000 in the US and 2,000 in Europe.

Sony estimates the recall will cost $4.2m, (2.8m), although analysts said it is not serious enough to harm the company's image.

The Japanese company is the the world's sixth-largest seller of personal computers.

In the past year, it has sold more than 3.1 million Vaio laptops across the world.

Free repairs

The Vaio laptop affected is a popular model called the FR series, or FRV in the US. It has a large screen and sells for around $1,500 (1,000).

Sony has had a number of recalls including mobile phones
Masahiro Ono, analyst
A Sony spokesperson said there had been fewer than 10 complaints and no reported injuries from the faulty modems.

The recall affects 13,000 machines in Japan, with the remainder in the US and Europe. Sony said the faulty laptops would be repaired for free.

The costs of the recall have yet to be finalised but news of the technical problem has already hit Sony shares. They fell by 2.3% on the Nikkei stock exchange in Tokyo.

Despite the dip in the share price, analysts do not believe the problem with the Vaios will affect Sony's earnings.

However they warn that any more recalls could dent the company's reputation.

"Sony has had a number of recalls including mobile phones," said Credit Suisse First Boston Japan analyst, Masahiro Ono.

"It's a shame because PC sales have been going well this year after a slump last year."

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