Ask Our Experts: Are Third-Party Batteries Safe?

I have found several sources on the Net selling notebook battery replacements. How do these third-party firms sell vendor-branded batteries, and is it safe to buy from them?

William Sympson, FPO, AE (Area Europe)

Associate Editor Danny Allen responds: The notebook manufacturers we spoke with unsurprisingly recommended that you buy batteries either directly from them or through authorized resellers. The common reasoning is that while third-party batteries may appear to meet the correct size and electrical specifications, the quality and construction can't be guaranteed. A third-party battery could void your notebook's warranty--and, if faulty, might even damage it. Start out by determining if a retailer is truly authorized to sell branded parts, and cross-check its listed part codes against those on the vendor's Web site.

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