Owner of Exploding iPod Touch Asserts Apple Asked for Gag Order

Reports of iPods with battery issues have been around for years. Reports have ranged from iPods catching fire to batteries exploding. This is just another example of such an incident, but in this case the family involved says that Apple wanted to them to sign a gag order in order to get a refund.

According to the Times Online, Ken Stanborough, 47, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod touch last month.
“It made a hissing noise. I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. 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”.
The hissing, the delayed reaction, and the throwing of the iPod touch, reminds us of a grenade, to be honest, but we digress ...

Photo via Times Online

At any rate, Stanborough contacted Apple and Argos, where he purchased the iPod touch for £162. After being given the run-around, he eventually spoke to an Apple representative, who sent him a letter denying liability but offering a refund, if ...

If Stanborough signed an agreement which stated that he and his family would "keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential.” The letter also stated that any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties.”

In other words, if they publicized this issue, Apple could sue. Since the family is publicizing the issue, obviously Ken Stanborough did not sign the agreement.
“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.

“We didn’t ask for compensation, we just asked for our money back.”
Last month, an investigation by local TV station KIRO-TV used a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to there existed more than 800 pages of information on such incidents, including 15 burn and fire-related incidents blamed by iPod owners on their devices.

These devices all use rechargeable batteries which have been blamed for fires in laptops in the past, but no public recall of iPods over battery issues has ever taken place, though Nokia issued a massive recall of cell phone batteries (similar to iPod batteries in terms of technology) in 2007.