Apple Accused Of Exploding iPod Cover-up

Dennis Faas's picture

A British newspaper claims Apple ordered a customer whose iPod exploded to keep quiet about it. The Times says the company refused to refund the customer unless they signed a confidentiality agreement.

Ken Stanborough one day found his daughter's iPod overheating to the point when he could no longer hold it. He threw it from his back door and within 30 seconds it exploded and flew "10 feet in the air."

He contacted both the retailer where he bought the device, Argos, and Apple itself. Eventually he received a letter from Apple offering him a full refund but denying any liability. The letter noted that he must sign it and keep both the content and the existence of the letter secret; not doing so might "result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties."

Mr. Stanborough refused to sign the letter and took his case to the media. (Source:

Incident 'Sparks' Legal Debate

Several commentators have claimed Apple has no legal standing to demand such a deal as Mr. Stanborough is simply receiving a refund rather than compensation.

However, this may not be the case: under British consumer law, a refund for faulty goods should come from the retailer, not the manufacturer. The manufacturer would normally only pay out for damage caused by a faulty product, so Apple's letter and offer may have been intended as a pre-emptive settlement against any court action.

Apple told the British media it was unable to comment further on the case without examining the iPod.

More Cases of the Exploding iPod Uncovered

The incident follows a report by a Seattle TV station last week that used freedom of information laws to uncover files held by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; Apple lawyers had attempted to block this process.

The files revealed that 15 people in the United States have complained of iPods exploding or catching fire. The commission had concluded that 15 incidents among 175 million iPods were not enough to warrant further action. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet