My V4899 B&D Dustbuster is about 2 years old, and doesn't get an enormous amount of use. Even so, the battery in it is at the stage where it provides full power for maybe 30 seconds and then goes feeble, feebler, feebler and so on.
I discovered that getting the battery replaced was going to cost rather more than getting a replacement unit (when including VAT and P&P etc), because it's an engineers job to replace the batteries which are (I kid you not) soldered to the motor assembly! How environmentally friendly is that? 0 out of 10 for B&D
A further 0 out of 10 for them because, when I contacted them to ask if they DO have a newer product with user replaceable batteries, they replied that they don't! That therefore includes this model too. (BTW you'll find their range of handheld Vacs on their web site just a couple of clicks away from the proud statement from their CEO that says how hugely environmentally friendly their products are). It maybe that their recent merger with Stanley Tools will bring a little 21st century thinking into their designs. Let's hope so.
So anyway, now, I am looking for a Hand vac that has a user-replaceable battery. I'd advise you to do the same, unless you want to be buying again and junking a perfectly good vac, with just a duff battery in a couple of years.
There you go, a cleaner review that hasn't used the word "sucks" - doh!