Smartphone

At least one million Verizon customers need to return this faulty device before it catches fire

As more and more children and adults had to rely on their home internet solutions for educational and work purposes at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year, the demand for affordable and reliable mobile hotspot devices sold by the largest US wireless service providers undoubtedly exploded (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, at least 15 Verizon customers were seriously “inconvenienced” by one such low-cost gadget, which proved anything but reliable when it overheated, causing six known cases of fire damage to “bedding or flooring”, and more worryingly, two instances of “minor burn injuries.”

2.5 million devices recalled, 1 million+ still in use

Unsurprisingly, all that havoc ultimately led to the total recall of every single Ellipsis Jetpack sold in Verizon stores nationwide, as well as “other stores and to school districts nationwide” in addition to the carrier’s official website from April 2017 through March 2021.
That’s a pretty long window of time, so obviously, we’re talking about a relatively high number of mobile hotspots Big Red is trying to recoup before anyone else is harmed.

 

For what it’s worth, the mobile network operator claimsonly a little over one million devices of the “about” 2.5 million units that are technically being recalled should actually still be in use.

That… doesn’t make the situation considerably less worrisome, of course, although it’s certainly somewhat encouraging that Verizon has received just 15 overheating reports to date.

What you need to do if you own a potentially dangerous hotspot

The next step to safety is to visit this recall-dedicated webpage here and make sure you’re eligible for an exchange by checking your IMEI number. That’s if you’ve purchased any of the aforementioned devices yourself, mind you, with company employees and parents of students who’ve received the mobile hotspot from their workplace or school respectively encouraged to contact said institutions instead of Verizon.

If everything goes smoothly and you’re indeed the unfortunate owner of a faulty Jetpack, Big Red should be able to give you (either directly or through your employer or school) an Orbic Speed device at no charge (duh!) without requiring you to jump through too many hoops.

What to do if you can’t ditch your Ellipsis Jetpack right away

If you absolutely need to continue using your hazardous mobile hotspot (hopefully, for a short period of time), you’re strongly advised to install the two over-the-air software updates currently delivered by Verizon and leave the device powered on while it is plugged in.

When not in use, your perilous Jetpack should be switched off, unplugged from its power source, and buried six feet underground securely stored. Although the actual cause of the overheating issue remains unknown, Big Red believes these precautions will at least reduce the risk of seeing your trusty old mobile hotspot device spontaneously combust.

In case you’re wondering, the two aforementioned software updates will make it easy to find your unit’s identifying number, aka IMEI, by automatically displaying that on the hotspot’s scrolling screen while also preventing the device from charging when powered on and plugged in.

Clearly, Verizon is taking this potential PR disaster extremely seriously, so while it’s never pleasant when these things happen, especially to more than a million people, it’s at least refreshing to see a massive corporation putting safety ahead of profits… for a second or two.


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