Ken Stanborough, 47, was among the
victims of an exploding iPod and legal ploys by Apple. Mr.
Stansborough bought an iPod Touch for his 11-year-old daughter.
When holding the iPod one warm day last month, it began to overheat.
He states, "It made a hissing noise. I could feel it
getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour."
father resorted to playing hot potato with the iPhone, tossing it
outside. He reports that "within 30 seconds there was a
pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air."
contacted Apple, hoping for an apology, or at least a refund.
After speaking with several departments, he spoke to an Apple
executive on the telephone, however, they wouldn't promise him a
refund. According to the Times Online, he instead
received a letter offering him a refund only
if he signed some very restrictive legal terms.
agreed to reimburse the £162 he paid at UK retailer Argos, but
demanded that he "agree that you will keep the terms and
existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential."
Violation of this gag-order, according to Apple, "may result in
Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the
defaulting persons or parties."
Infuriated at the
outrageous response, Mr. Stansborough, who works in electronics
security, refused and never got his refund. He states, "I
thought it was a very disturbing letter. They’re putting a
life sentence on myself, my daughter and Ellie’s mum, not to say
anything to anyone. If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter
what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was
absolutely appalling. We didn’t ask for compensation, we just
asked for our money back."
An Apple spokesperson said
they could not comment on their case as they had not yet seen the
iPod. Apple's second generation Nanos were known to
infrequently overheat, catch fire, or otherwise explode. That
problem appears to have reappeared in the current
iPod Touch/iPhone. In South Korea some iPods are being
recalled for overheating. The Japanese government recently
issued a warning about iPods potentially overheating. And in
Ohio Apple is being sued by the mother of a child whose iPod Touch
reportedly exploded, burning his leg.