Are Apple trying to gag owners of exploding iPods?

3 August 2009

Your iPhone might turn into this

A father claims that Apple have tried to buy his silence after he tried to seek a refund when his daughter’s iPod exploded after he dropped it.

Ken Stanborough told The Times: “It made a hissing noise. I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. He then chucked 11-year old Ellie’s iPod Touch into the garden.

He added: “Within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air”.

After speaking to various representatives from Apple and Argos (where he bought the iPod), Ken received a letter from Apple denying liability and offering him a refund, but only if they signed a settlement form that left them open to legal action if they ever discussed the case in the future.

The letter said that he would get a refund if “[you] agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, and that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”. Naturally, Ken refused to sign, describing the letter’s contents as “very disturbing.”

The story is the latest in an increasing list of stories featuring overheating and exploding iPods – which begs this question: is it only worth using an iPod if you have a fire extinguisher to hand and are accompanied by a lawyer?

TOPICS:   Gadgets

26 comments

  • Mike e.
    To be honest BW, what disturbs me more is that an 11 year has an iPod touch! Spoilt little shit!
  • Marcus S.
    I'd be a little more disturbed if anyone over the age of 12 wanted to use an ipod (excluding gen5.5 and lower that have been rockboxed). Stick to what you are good at Apple (OSX).
  • Duaine D.
    Why does everyone seem to take it upon themselves to become some sort of customer champion these days? Apple offered him a refund, no one was hurt - take it.
  • Degeneratemoo
    Because if there is a problem with iphones then people should speak out. I remember the watchdog feature about exploding nokia batteries a couple of years ago, Nokia wanted to keep everything low key, just putting a very quiet notice on their website where no-one saw it. It wasn't until people got injured that they actually started being a little bit more public about it. We take for granted that these things are safe and will work as they should do and unless people who have problems speak out, we'll never know any different.
  • Pedegg
    Jesus apple are arseholes
  • Mike e.
    Thing is, Touches have been out yonks, no one has reported any exploding, so if Apple haven't changed the inards in any way, why the fuck, should Touch owners be worried?
  • Jeffrey A.
    Duaine, because what would have happened if the child put it back in their pocket, for it to blow up taking a chunk out of their leg? Or even if it exploded in their hand, and blew upwards into their face? I don't think anyone is questioning them offering a refund (which they're legally obliged to do anyway!). They are questioning Apple trying to keep a potentially life threatening defect quiet which people should be made aware of incase it alters their decision on whether to buy it or not. I personally would not buy a product that commonly exploded. Nevermind it being overpriced frappachino inducing crap from Apple.
  • Jeffrey A.
    Oh, and off topic, I agree with Mike, spoilt little bastard. I was lucky to get new socks at that age.
  • V L.
    Got a copy of this letter have we or is this just a lie?
  • Andy D.
    Dear Lenin. It's a lie. A big, fuck-off lie. I expect Apple will be preparing lawsuits for ourselves and The Times right now.
  • Zain
    I like how the father 'chucked' the ipod touch in the garden.
  • Mick T.
    Sounds like Apple are trying to affect his statuatory rights by suggesting he can't have a refund unless he signs the NDA. Time to speak to a solicitor me thinks.
  • Terrence D.
    I remember when my walkman blew up in 89 it was that big it blew up half of Grimsby. Then again Sony paid out the £88... it went someway towards easing the pain of my lost limbs.
  • Junkyard
    Me too Zain. Otherwise it would have exploded in his hand!!!!! :-O
  • Justin
    All told though, it was DROPPED. Anything can happen under impact. In a way, I'm impressed Apple were willing to replace it. Apple has been both good and bad to me in the past. I had an iPod that puffed up like a pop-corn kernel when charging - replaced without issue. Got a work MacBook Pro whose battery did the same thing and they said, "Get stuffed, out of warranty". So you can't win, even if you have a fire hazard. I do hate this cagey attitude of companies though. Apple is one, Sony is another. With Sony a recall is never a recall, it's "Your product MAY have a fault covered by warranty. If however it isn't we'll charge you £100 for evaluation and then a repair fee.". They continued "As an act of good faith we've decided not to charge you for the repair". I asked what they'd repaired and whether it was due to the recall, and they refused to tell me. Work that one out. Some companies really suck. Best customer experience I've had is Amazon. They send replacements before you've returned the broken thing, never quibble on a refund and genuinely act concerned. If the Touch was bought through Amazon I bet they'd refund / replace before you could blink. Avoid the ones that don't.
  • kerry
    my son (was 9 at time) got an itouch at xmas because they were only £130 for a 16gb he asked for a nano which was 110 at time for 8gb so who in their righht mind is gonna go buy the smallest one to save a tenner?? not me thats for sure he uses it every single day!!! all u idiots who r saying spoilt bastards is unessecary things have changed from when u only got apples and pears in a stocking! i work hard to give my kids things they would like!!!
  • Paloma
    A friend of mine had a nano that randomly burst into flames recently whilst charging. Luckily it was while she was in the room, God knows what damage it could have done if she hadn't seen it and dealt with it so quickly. On her first visit to the local apple shop, she was offered only sympathy and 10% off a new purchase!! Luckily she went back, armed with numerous press reports of the same happening elsewhere and a copy of the sale of goods act and lo and behold, she has a new ipod!
  • Stu
    Don't worry about it Andy. He's the sort of [email protected] that I've just been reading about on HUKD - they don't believe any of the deals unless someone posts the receipt, a picture of the product and orders the item on their behalf. I think most of us take this post @ face value!
  • Apple I.
    [...] Nie jest to jedyny przypadek pożaru, czy samego przegrzewania się urządzeń Apple. W Japonii iPod Nano jest na liście urządzeń, które stanowią zagrożenie pożarowe. O zapalaniu się urządzeń pisało kilku blogerów, a w USA matka poparzonego chłopca złożyła pozew przeciw Apple. Zazwyczaj problemem są przegrzewające baterie litowo-jonowe. [bitterwallet.com] [...]
  • Bratters
    To be fair, this is the first time i have heared of such an instance with Apple .. Its not like they have to release a statement about the 'dangers' .. cos cumon, if ur ipod touch started frothing at the holes and sizzling you wouldnt think 'oh well apple havnt said its a sign of danger so ill just hold on to it tightly and all will be well!' Who is to say the first drop followed by thowing it didnt cause the problem? Hmmm
  • Brian
    Hi, my name is Brian. If i placed one of these devices in my trousers, and it exploded & damaged my 12inch tackle, can i make Apple give me another 12" replacement dong (cock)?
  • AppleFanboy
    Apple have a good care record, but are so dopey on replacements... this is the funniest, I recently bought 2 apple macs for our design office, one had pink pixels on the screen and the second one was OK, they said they would replace it within 28 days once returned, I explained it was a design department and it was crucial to our work. They offered to do a swap, however they replaced the order and sent them to my home address (2 new macs) and came to the office and picked up the faulty one. so basically I now have 3 shiny macs, the best is yet to come, for some reason the system was showing a pick up only and not a replacement, and because they hadn't heard from me they gave me a refund of my faulty mac, so now I have 3 shiny macs and only paid for one.... it turns out that they have 2 customer care systems, during the day its Ireland, in the evening you can speak to Apple in america who can also control UK customer purchases... so US had arranged my swap UK was waiting for the swap and they didn't communicate it at all between the 2 and so UK gave me the Refund and US gave me the swap. Brilliant, but one of many I've heard from other Apple Mac Users...
  • Jase
    A little off-topic but... Didn't some of the old Xbox's have a problem with melting? Xbox's made before a certain date could potentially melt and cause a fire if left on for prolonged periods of time...I remember getting a letter from them before a special plug got shipped to me (it had a circuit-breaker component). I suppose this was a little easier to fix though, the apparent issue with the iPod Touch is all internal so there's nothing Apple could do to fix it apart from issue a re-call (like that would happen!).
  • Best M.
    [...] Are Apple trying to gag owners of exploding iPods? | BitterWallet [...]
  • Me
    I've been using apple products for years, various ipods, laptops, desktops, etc. If something packed up, I took it along to an apple shop and it was tested and replaced right there on the spot. Does make you wonder though, would it have exploded if it hadn't been "chucked" into the garden?? Slag em off all you like but imho, you get what you pay for and with apple that's a quality, reliable piece of kit and excellent customer service.
  • Mike e.
    Is that you Kerry Katona? Whining about us acalling you little shit a spoilt bastard? £110 for a Christmas present!? FOR FUCKS SAKE! Bet that was just a stocking filler! You need to teach your child some values about how sometimes, they can't get what they want all the time, obviously, values 'you' haven't aquired.

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