The unit is being shipped to me from Miami while I'm in Berkeley so I have a few days to do some preliminary research on the topic. From what she says, it sounds like the device will not turn on or charge.
I'll do the usual remedies like reconnecting the battery cable and cold boot options, but I'd like some insight if it's possible at all for the device to boot directly from the USB fed power connection without the battery inserted. That is, without any modification to the unit (soldering, etc) just the battery taken out.
If that's the case, I would be able to determine whether just a simple aftermarket battery purchase would be enough.