Apple tried to silence family over exploding iPod

According to a report by The Times, Apple attempted to silence a father and his daughter after the child's iPod exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.

Ken Stanborough said "It made a hissing noise. I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour". As a precaution, he threw the device out of his back door, where "within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air". He contacted Apple and Argos, where he had bought the device for £162. After speaking to an Apple executive on the telephone, Apple sent a letter to Mr Stanborough denying liability but offering a refund if he signed a confidentiality agreement, agreeing not to disclose any information about the incident.

Part of the letter said "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". Mr. Stanborough found the letter appalling and refused to signed it.

This isn't the first time this has happened; an investigation by KIRO TV found that "an alarming number of Apple brand iPod MP3 players have suddenly burst into flames and smoke, injuring people and damaging property". It took reporter Amy Clancy more than seven months to get documents concerning the issue from the Consumer Product Safety Commission because Apple's lawyers kept filing exemptions. In the end, the CPSC released more than 800 pages which reveal a number of iPods suddenly busting into flames. The documents showed 15 "burn and fire-related incidents" that iPod owners blamed on the device.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Bing continuing to grow, gaining market share slowly

Next Story

DFI Lanparty UT X58-T3eH8 and JR X58-T3H6 X58 mobos review


View more comments

Quikboy said,
Another reason why I'm going to avoid Apple products when I can.

I know, this has never ever happened to anyone else but Apple. Does anyone else find this a little suspicious? Are Apple trying to kill us, one by one. Is this an insidious plot to destroy all people with good taste?

this is big problem with big and huge companies. they have faults and they try to keep the noise quit by telling people that they must sign really shady stuff much less a crime against ones' consumer rights. shame on any company that tries to do this.

Have Apple forgotten peoples legal rights?

They might get away with crap like this in the states but in the UK it's very different.

This is blackmail as far as I'm concerned.

i am glad that he did not sign anything that crap apple sent him as they should accept responsability for the products they make and if they cannot honor it then seriously apple should be forced out of business, if a company makes a product and assuming you use it for what it's intended for and something happens then it's the companies fault and should either do a full refund or a product replacement or give the customer a few choices on how to rectify the situation without question and this is just another example of why i avoid apple products like the plaque.

Just upsets me to see how easily some dismissed my concerns with the last case that was reported. It was with a young boy in the other case, and I can only be thankful that the iPod didn't explode in a literal manner as it did here. It merely caught fire in his pocket.

As I stated back then, companies are responsible for their product in its entirety, and should be punished for using defective and/or components that are of poor quality. People shouldn't have to worry about being injured, much less their home catching fire or something just because they bought an mp3 player or something.

Wow, this is really scary. I mean, they want someone to sign a confidentiality agreement for a $ 200 refund?? That's just outrageous... There should be a legal minimum settlement to warrant a confidentiality agreement even coming into play.

Tbh, when you've sold 208,000,000 iPods (as of April 2008, Wikipedia) and 15 (reported) have exploded I think you're doing reasonably well... That's roughly a 0.00000007% explosion rate.

Yeah, but compare that to the 400 zunes sold, none have ever exploded (i mean that fact that the users keep them locked up inside there basement with themselves), none have ever exploded. that is a 0.0% explosion rate.

Cue the posts about how all the neowins bought 500 just for themselves.

"In the end, the CPSC released more than 800 pages which suddenly burst into flames."

Note to self, don't skim over a sentence, can result in unintended "wtfs!!" :p

Oh and typo in the article (busting) now that I really pay attention.

For all the people saying "I'm scared of my iPod/iPhone" etc...

I guess you should stay awake 24/7 because ANY appliance/electrical outlet in your house/car could blow/start a fire at ANY time.

Better get those energy drinks lined up!

It's not unusual for any legal settlement to be accompanied by an NDA, have you ever read the terms of any of MS numerous legal settlements? Right, you haven't. More senstaionalist headlines from Neowin.

But it is different to a NDA, a NDA is a real contract that put some obligation to one or both part of the contract, while the CLUF is just a warranty policy + liability statement.

I think people should approach those stories with caution. Reminds me of those Wii stories of people breaking their TV with their Wii controller. But when you taken the time to look at some of the pictures the damage to the TV was not logical.

I don't say those stories are false. But some of the pictures seem excessive to me. I had a TV remote batteries burning on me. It did hurt but it was not even close to the pictures posted here.

2x AAA batteries that are in a TV remote doesn't even come close to the power in a LiPo cell.
I once accidentaly shorted a fully charged 11V LiPo battery, and with a huge jolt the contacts almost welded themself together from the heat of the current and the battery catched fire.

Search for LiPo Fire or Explosion on youtube, those things should be treated with respect.

Commenting is disabled on this article.