HP is recalling 15,700 laptop batteries after reports that they overheated, causing minor property damage and, in one instance, a minor burn injury, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said yesterday.

The batteries were manufactured in China during early January 2005 and have barcode labels that start with "L3". The batteries were used with several HP notebook models, including the HP Pavillion, HP Compaq and Compaq Presario product series, the commission said.

"Consumers should stop using the 'L3' coded batteries immediately and contact HP to determine if the specific battery is one of the ones being recalled and, if it is, receive a free replacement battery," the commission said. Of the 15,700 batteries being recalled by HP, around 4,100 belong to users in the US. No numbers are available yet for Europe or the UK. We'll bring them to you as soon as the information is released.

HP said in a statement: "customer service and safety is a top priority for HP. Therefore, the company has announced a voluntary recall of third-party battery packs for use with certain models of notebook computers. The battery packs have the potential to overheat and damage the notebook. The notebook computers will still function under A/C power as designed until a replacement battery pack is installed.

"HP fully stands behind the products it makes and has taken a proactive approach to this situation to ensure the safety of our customers and the integrity and quality of our products."

More information about the battery recall is available on HP's website.

A statement from the consumer commission is here.