Apple tried to silence victim of exploding iPod? | iLounge News


Apple tried to silence victim of exploding iPod?


Apple made an attempt to silence an 11-year-old girl and her father after her iPod exploded, the Times reports. Ken Stanborough of Liverpool, U.K., dropped his daughter Ellie’s iPod touch sometime last month, which caused it to make a “hissing noise.” “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour,” Stanborough said. He claims he then 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.” Stanborough contacted both Apple and Argos, the retailer where he purchased the device, and ended up reaching an Apple executive on the phone after being passed around several departments. Following that conversation, Apple sent a letter denying liability but offering a refund — in exchange for silence.

The letter specified that Stanborough, in accepting the money, 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.” Stanborough refused to sign the 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,” he said. “We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back.”

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Good for them for not signing that paper.

Posted by Ryan on August 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM (CDT)


To be fair to Apple, that’s pretty much boilerplate stuff with any settlement.

Posted by urbanslaughter on August 3, 2009 at 10:46 AM (CDT)


Right, standard procedure to offer a refund with strings attached.  This wasn’t settlement of a lawsuit, they only asked for a refund. Be fair to Apple? - what a joke!
I always find it amusing to see how few people comment on articles that are negative to Apple, especially if it appears clear that they are truly deserving…

Posted by WhoCare? on August 3, 2009 at 10:55 AM (CDT)


Is it just or have we now reached the stage where apple have spent time acting like some totalitarian dictatorship than they ever did making cool products that were a step above the rest? Their endless quest for control of the press, their developers and their customers has left me eyeing up the walkman range for my next player.

Posted by Fanman on August 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM (CDT)


Or is it that we have just reached such a point in our litigious society that a company needs to protect itself in everything it does…even giving a refund.  Also with the internet being what it is, even an extremely rare incident like this (the exploding iPod, not the resulting cover-up attempts) gets thrown around the world and causes hysteria and unwarranted fear of the same thing happening to the next person.

Posted by TosaDeac on August 3, 2009 at 3:12 PM (CDT)


I. The “boilerplate stuff with any settlement” is inapplicable here. Apple was apparently going to offer nothing more than a refund, not cash remuneration, for a defective product. This was not an effort to get a civil case dismissed, but an indisputably poor attempt to choke off whatever bad publicity might result from this incident.

II. Refunds require the consumer, generally, to provide only two things, and that’s the defective device and the explanation for its failing. To ask a consumer to respect a gag order is absurd and completely out of line with the expectations and assumptions in a free economy. I do not have to execute a confidentiality agreement with Kroger when I get rotten eggs from the store and attempt to return them.

III. It is ludicrous to blame “litigious society” for an incident of this sort. Apple has a very seasoned legal department and knows when its exposure to litigation needs to be observed. This is a situation where a consumer with a faulty product simply wanted a refund, and Apple responded with an unjustifiably paranoid demand for a clamped tongue. And instead of blindly targeting a “litigious society,” let’s heed the numerous and potentially dangerous product failures/recalls over the years. As highly regarded as Apple may be, the company is but one manufacturing or design flaw away from being the next Firestone—they have to be absolutely cautious when disseminating product.

IV. In keeping with my comments in III above, this incident is another bit of tarnish on Apple’s once-pristine public image. This was clearly not a well thought out “Band-Aid” by the legal department—it would’ve been so simple to just hand this young lady another $300 iPod and apologize for a bizarre anomaly, but instead, denying liability and demanding silence appears insulting and outlandish. And perception will equal reality in due time, so these episodes will begin to look less like isolated incidents and more like pattern behavior.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on August 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM (CDT)


i think that its completely there fault as in the text it says that it made a hissing noise when he DROPPED it
so i dont even think they deserve a refund unless they have a warranty and are still covered .2nd generation ipod touches ftw!

Posted by zach on November 22, 2010 at 12:43 PM (CST)

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