Apple accused of lowering cone of silence over iPod flame out
Wanna refund? Take the vow of silence
Apple has been accused of attempting to gag a traumatised iPod user, whose player burst into flames and tried to go into orbit.
According to The Times, Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool, complained to the firm after his daughter's iPod self-combusted shortly after being dropped.
“It made a hissing noise,” Stanborough said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”.
Stanborough, clearly guessing something was up, hurled the MP3 player out of his back door. “Within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air,” he said.
Stanborough contacted Apple, and Argos which supplied the device.
Eventually, he claims, Apple wrote to him offering a refund, but denying liability, if the Stanboroughs agreed to a perpetual vow of silence.
"You will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential”, the letter told Stanborough, with any verbal slippages resulting in "Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties”.
Stanborough told The Times that the vow of silence amounted to a "life sentence" on his family.
“If we inadvertently did say anything, no matter what, they would take litigation against us. I thought that was absolutely appalling."
Last month an iPod was suspected of being behind the fiery destruction of a Saab. Last year a spate of iPod fireballs put the fear into Japan. In 2007, an Atlanta airport worker blamed his iPod nano for a fire which singed him from his pants to his chest region, and exposed him to being mistaken for a suicide bomber.
The Stanborough case is all the more disturbing for the rogue music player's 10 foot leap into the air, suggesting the world's favourite music player now thinks it's some kind of Wagner playing killer drone.
UK consumer law normally makes it the responsibility of the retailer to replace or repair a faulty product, although there could be a dispute in this case over whether the drop was a contributing factor. We haven't heard of tech vendors imposing confidentiality clauses in return for a refund - but then again, we wouldn't if they did.
According to The Times, an Apple spokesman said that, as the company had not looked at the Stanboroughs’ damaged iPod, it could not comment. Argos also refused to comment.
We asked Apple if it was lowering its famed cone of silence over UK consumers. A spokesperson told us they didn't think the firm was commenting on the issue. ®
And, they allow these things on planes?
...while you can't take more than 4 oz of toothpaste?
This is why I never walk around with a laptop in "sleep mode" in a closed backpack like I have seen many others do.
I would like to sincerely apologize to the United Kingdom, British Citizens, and Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith herewith:
As common citizen of the former Colonies of the Americas, I extend my humble apologies for the export to your lands of the common malady of our lands, THE JOY OF VICTIMHOOD. Our people find, nay, SEEK OUT opportunities to become victims so that we may blame our misfortunes and frailties on others, that we may feel better about ourselves. It is with great sorrow to find that this PLAGUE has made it to your shores. Alas, that the Island's populace is not immune to such tomfoolery! We humbly pray your forgiveness.
Note: Though I am an American Citizen, I have dear respect for the Queen of England. This was meant in no way to impair or diminish Her image.
"Do you seriously expect that it should be the norm to expect a dropped MP3 player to catch fire?"
But they don't! I've dropped mine many times.
Many years ago I witnessed an exploding electrolytic capacitor go straight through the ceiling of the workshop, it would have gone a lot farther than 10 feet if the ceiling had not been in the way. The "explosion" was caused by the capacitor "gassing" internally until the pressure blew the aluminium can off.
With the ipod all the battery had to do was produce gas pressurising the ipod casing until it ruptured turning the ipod into an irocket.