Apple politely threatens family who asked a refund for iPod flaming

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, August 3, 2009

apple iPod touch blastThough they talk about consumer satisfaction as if its their highest priority, though they promise to give you 100% money back if anything goes wrong, Apple of all companies, showed the true corporate blood when pushed to the wall. To come straight to the point, Apple attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gagging order after the child’s iPod music player exploded and the family sought a refund from the company. Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool observed overheating from her daughter’s (11) iPod Touch last month. Mr Stanborough said 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”.

After this scary incident, they got back in touch with Apple and politely asked for a refund which resulted in something very unusual. As he told to Times,

Apple sent a letter to Mr Stanborough denying liability but offering a refund.

The letter also stated that, in accepting the money, Mr Stanborough was to “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”.

What’s more scary is, with this news on the account we are getting reactions from people who have suffered the same fate but couldn’t think of retaliating.

As Times also states here,

An American reporter obtained 800 pages of documentation on the cases from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) following a Freedom of Information Act request in that country. However, she was unable to get hold of the documents for months after “Apple’s lawyers filed exemption after exemption”.

Just to refresh your memory a bit, in March, a mother in Ohio began court proceedings against Apple, after her son’s iPod Touch allegedly exploded in his pocket, burning his leg. And there are many. You probably have heard about  flaming iPods that gizmodo covered a few days back.

Let’s not gather evidences after evidences but try to understand the real message. Apple sells millions of products a year and even 10 of them exploding may not be something worth accusing them for. But what’s bad is the way they have handled the situation and almost threatened the family who wanted nothing but a refund. May be there is a word for such things, bureaucracy. We can live in the glory of consumer satisfaction but the real point is, it has happened to a sane person living in one of the advanced countries in the world and from one of the most popular product companies we have ever seen. Spare a thought, can you?

March 17, 2010: 7:41 am

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