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EU turns beady eye on flaming iPod menace

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Updated The European Commission has reportedly launched an investigation into the outbreak of flaming iPhones and iPods which has apparently raged across Europe this summer.

According to the EU Observer the Commission's Industry and Enterprise tentacle has requested information from both the company and member countries.

The commission is reacting to such reports as that of Britain's Ken Stanborough, whose daughter's iPod allegedly made a hissing noise, before heating up and spewing out vapour. When Stanborough threw the menace out of his back door, he claimed, “there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air”.

Similar, stories have emerged in France, where, reports claim, an exploding iPhone sent shards of glass into a teenager's eye just last week. Days before that case, an iPod allegedly performed a similar self-immolation. A Dutch man claimed his car was torched by a rogue iPod in July.

Apple has been accused of attempting to hush up such incidents, with Stanborough claiming the firm tried to get him to take a vow of silence on the whole affair in return for a refund.

Such an approach would be atypical for the tech industry, and would seem to be out of line with UK consumer law, and run counter to the EU's reporting mechanism for faulty products, Rapex.

The EU told EU Observer that it had requested information from the UK and France as well as Apple. He added it had not received any information via Rapex, and said it was too early to say what action, if any, might follow.

We called Apple to confirm whether it was aware of the EU action and of the cases concerned. It said it would get back to us. Maybe.

An EU spokesperson told us this afternoon: "Apple have come back to us today. They consider that these are isolated incidents and that there is not a general problem."

The spokesperson added: "For the cases which have been reported in the media, Apple are trying to get more information on the details of the incidents and will do tests as necessary to investigate the possible cause. This is as part of the normal process to follow up customer problems and complaints."®

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