Apple tries gagging orders for exploding iPods

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Apple tries gagging orders for exploding iPods

Threatens to sue child if she talked about problems.

Apple has attempted to gag owners of exploding iPods who apply for a refund.

The situation came to light after 11 year old Ellie Stanborough was given in iPod Touch, which developed a serious battery problem.

“It made a hissing noise,” her father told the Times.

“I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. 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 two contacted Apple to get a refund for the faulty hardware but were told they would only receive compensation, without admitting liability, if they signed a gagging order that would prevent them from discussing the exploding iPod with anyone. If they did the company would have the right to sue them for damages.

“I thought it was a very disturbing letter,” said Mr Stanborough, who refused to sign it.

“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,”

The case comes as increasing numbers of reports are emerging of problems with the iPod's lithium batteries. The Japanese government has issued a warning on the matter and Apple currently faces a legal suit in Ohio after an iPod allegedly exploded in an Ohio child's pocket.

Apple will no doubt be looking to avoid the costs of a battery recall, similar to that which had to be carried out by the company and many others over exploding laptop batteries. In 2006 Apple had to recall 1.8 million laptop batteries over similar problems but with over 170 million iPods sold so far the costs of a recall could be staggering.

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