Amazon’s property-surveillance company Ring has “recalled” hundreds of thousands of its namesake doorbell video cameras after some caught fire and people were burned. The company said there’s only a risk if the wrong screws were used for installation.
“Ring has received 85 incident reports of incorrect doorbell screws installed, with 23 of those doorbells igniting, resulting in minor property damage,” the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an advisory. “The firm has received eight reports of minor burns.”
Ring said in its own advisory that if the doorbell is installed correctly, “there is no risk to consumers or potential hazard.”
Though classified by Ring and the commission as a “recall,” the problem with the 2nd Generation devices, model number 5UM5E5, should be addressed via re-installation, the company and commission said. “You do not need to return your device,” Ring said. “Simply follow the revised instructions.” Those instructions are available for download on Ring’s website. The instructions note that “if you use the wrong screws to secure the Video Doorbell, you could damage the battery during installation, create a fire hazard, and be seriously injured.”
Ring owners should not use any screws other than those included with the product, the company warned.
About 350,000 second-generation Ring Video Doorbells sold in the U.S. are affected, the commission said. The devices have a blue ring at the front and come in two colors: “satin nickel” (black and silver) and “venetian bronze” (black and bronze),” the commission said.
Only devices with certain serial numbers pose a fire and burn risk, Ring said, adding that the number is on the back of the device and on the original packaging. Owners of Ring devices can find out if their doorbell is included in the recall by entering the serial number at http://support.ring.com/ring-2nd-gen-recall. Consumers can also contact the company’s customer-support department, Ring said.
The hugely popular Ring devices are beloved by police departments, providing video footage of crimes such as break-ins and porch piracy, as well as from nearby crime scenes. San Jose police last year joined hundreds of other departments, including Santa Clara’s, in adopting the Ring “Neighbors” app that helps them get video from residents.
But civil-liberties advocates have raised flags over the technology. Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, told this news organization last year that Ring devices and the Neighbors app are replacing old-fashioned investigative methods like having officers knock on doors. “They have made it incredibly easy to hit a button, get a push notification that says police would like your footage, click this button to comply,” Guariglia said. “It cuts back on the public being able to see and ask questions of their civic employees when it comes to why they need this footage. When they come to your door, you can ask that question.”