Microsoft is charging Surface Pro 3 customers to fix defective Simplo batteries

If you have a Simplo (not LGC) battery, you may be asked to spend $500 or more to fix Microsoft's problem

Microsoft charges Surface Pro 3 customers to fix defective Simplo batteries

An ongoing problem with a specific kind of Surface Pro 3 battery has customers up in arms. So far, Microsoft hasn't even acknowledged the problem. But what appears to be a defective battery -- the Simplo battery, as opposed to the LGC battery -- has driven some folks to spend $500 or more to fix something that isn't their fault.

On May 11, Kridsada Thanabulpong posted a detailed complaint on the Microsoft Answers forum:

I've been using Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for a year, and shortly after the warranty expired I noticed my Surface Pro 3 can only last about 1-2 hours after a full charge… Talk with Microsoft via chat support and they insist this was a software problem and reinstalled the driver and asked me to wait few days to see if things improve. Not only it didn't improved, but now my Surface can only last 30 minutes.

Microsoft's response was less than helpful. Kridsada finally concluded:

Thank you for your suggestion to talk to Assisted Support. Unfortunately, their suggestion even after all this is to do the out of warranty exchange ($560 in my local currency) which is just sad. I loved the machine the moment I tried it in the store, and paperweight-when-not-plugged-in definitely wasn't what I expected it to be in a year after purchase.

Now he has to plug in his Surface Pro 3 or it won't even start. Nudge the power cord, and the tablet shuts down.

There are many additional complaints on that Answers thread: this one, this, this, this, and several others. Microsoft MVP Ian Dixon has picked up the problem on his TheDigitalLifestyle blog.

Microsoft's response is effectively: "Tough luck, you're out of warranty and it's going to cost you $500 to replace the battery."

This isn't the same battery life complaint many people had with the Surface Pro 3, and it isn't linked to faulty sleep states. It appears to be specific to the Simplo brand battery that shipped with some Surface Pro 3s. The LGC battery in other Surface Pro 3s does not exhibit the same problem.

It's time for Microsoft to own up to its problems -- admit that it shipped faulty batteries and offer to fix the problem free -- before a consumer-friendly Attorney General steps in. Those who were coerced into paying $500 or $600 to fix the battery should see what recourse they have in the courts.

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