Apple Tries To Hush Owners of Exploding iPod

By  |  Monday, August 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

ipod-fire-1.jpgIn true Apple fashion, the company has reportedly attempted–and failed–to hush the owners of an defective iPod that ended up exploding in England. Acording to The Times, the only way the Stanboroughs would get a full refund was if they agreed to sign a settlement form.

On it, the form specified that if the family would talk, it would open them up to possible legal action by Apple. Obviously since The Times is reporting on it, they didn’t accept Apple’s terms.

While the Stanboroughs apparently may have some culpability here–the iPod touch in question was dropped shortly before it reportedly exploded–it’s still a little worrisome. There are a lot of us out there who have done the same thing.

This is only the latest reported incident of pressure by Apple to keep folks with defective iPods quiet. Last month, the company did all it could to prevent KIRO reporter Amy Clancy from investigating fire incidents involving the company’s ubiquitous music device.

Documents obtained by Clancy indicate Apple knew about issues with its players and overheating as early as 2005–even though they were telling people complaining years later that it was the “first time” they ever heard of such a problem.

It is believed that the iPod’s lithium-ion batteries may be the source of the problem. But with 175 million iPods sold, how do you go about recalling the devices if it was necessary? That could be a daunting task.

 
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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Josh Says:

    “…with 175 million iPods sold, how do you go about recalling the devices if it was necessary? That could be a daunting task.”

    You would recall them much in the same way that Dell and Apple have recalled devices with bad lithium-ion batteries in the past: announce the affected model numbers and create a recall program. Exploding batteries in electronic devices is really nothing new, and any device with a lithium ion battery could potentially explode if damaged. I think the real WTF here is that Apple requested a confidentiality agreement in order to provide the customer with a refund.

  2. AJ Says:

    @Josh,

    Can Apple store employees remove the “non-removable” batteries? I suppose Apple could have a program where customers take their iPod Touch to the Apple Store and get the battery swapped there.

  3. Ed Oswald Says:

    Josh – actually these agreements appear to be pretty common from what my research is showing me – a lot of companies seem to want to sweep problems under the rug. AJ – from my understanding, no. they are sealed into the device.

  4. Steven Fisher Says:

    I don’t know about the spin that’s been put on this. Let’s say you drop an Acer laptop computer and it breaks. Is the manufacturer going to replace it under warranty? How about a Zune?

    The difference here is that the battery was damaged in the fall. Apple offered a refund BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO INSPECT THE UNIT. And because they didn’t want people thinking dropping an iPod might lead to a warranty, they ASKED that the owner not talk about the experience.

    Frankly, it seems pretty @#$%ing reasonable to me. And, as noted, the family decided not to take Apple up on the offer.

  5. Catherine Says:

    Steven’s points largely cover it, but I’d add that, in the UK, legal rights to a refund on the sale of goods (as opposed to damages/ex-gratia payments etc) are with the retailer, which was a third party retailer in this case, and the rights wouldn’t cover this sort of situation. These people are most likely complaining to/about Apple because the retailer refused a refund as they had damaged the iPod before the battery blew.

    It’s fairly normal to require an agreement when paying out on a no-liability basis and not just to sweep problems under the rug – it means that it’s harder to find out what a manufacturer might pay you to go away if you complain.

  6. make ipod safe Says:

    Time to stop the rumors and tell the world: ipod are safe top use or not, while talking in the iphone you can lose your head or not

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