iPod Nano Explodes While Charging

Reader D’s first-gen iPod Nano was chugging power from his PC’s USB port when suddenly he saw it “explode open and start shooting sparks and spewing smoke.” Pictures inside, along with Apple’s response.

Dale sent us his lengthy missive to Steve Jobs:

I am writing this in regards to an issue I have had with an iPod nano, first generation. I have included the relevant pictures of my iPod after this incident and links to related issues.

I had plugged the iPod in to charge on Saturday August 16, 2008. I was using the USB cable that came with the iPod and charging via the USB port on my PC. After being plugged in for somewhere between 5-10 minutes I heard a sizzling sound. I looked down on the iPod just in time to see it explode open and start shooting sparks and spewing smoke. I managed to unhook the iPod from my computer’s USB port immediately. I had noticed that a small fire had started on the table I had the laptop and the iPod sitting on, and I managed to extinguish those flames quickly before any apparent damage could be done to my laptop. Unlike in other cases, I’ve read about, my iPod continued to spew smoke and spit sparks while throwing out some kind of sooty substance from the inside of the iPod for several minutes after removing the cable from the computer. I moved the still spitting iPod from the table and placed it on a book case across the room. I noticed that while doing this, the iPod was still extraordinarily hot to the touch.

I immediately called up the apple tech support line while I opened a window to clear the smoke out of my apartment. After weeding through their electronic menu, I was put on hold for around 15 minutes. This gave me some time to calm down, and after telling the representative that my iPod nano exploded, I was transferred directly to the customer support supervisor at the time. His extension is X86702. He walked me through a 20 minute survey regarding the issue before putting me on hold again to contact the “engineers”. After this, he informed me that he did not get through, but would hear back from them that evening for certain. I was also informed that Apple would replace my iPod regardless at this point even though it’s older. I have to take a few moments to commend him as he seemed to genuinely want to help me. I had asked what I could do to get a replacement iPod ASAP. I was told to go to the nearest apple store and they should be able to replace it. I also asked if it was ok to make an appointment for that evening, and I was told it would be fine as we should have heard back from the “engineers” by then.

After waiting several hours and not hearing back from the supervisor, I attempted to contact him at the extension and number I was given. This was transferred directly to his voicemail and I did not hear back from him that night. I had then traveled to the local apple store in Pittsburgh, PA to see what could be done about the iPod. Here I was told that “it’s been submitted as a request to the ‘engineers’ and can’t be handled”. The support tech at the Genius Bar seemed genuinely concerned and opened a separate case file to see if he could do anything to help me out. He found out that all he could do was submit it to the engineers who would NOT be in until monday. At this point, I became overly frustrated that the original tech had led me to believe this issue could have been sorted out that day. Also I do not think I’m being unreasonable by asking a company to replace the iPod with a different iPod product, as I could easily have been hurt or injured by the one that had malfunctioned!

I had asked the tech if there’s any way he can replace it as the guy on the phone had told me that the local store could swap it out. He then went into the office to confer with the manager and the GM via phone. He returned to tell me that they can NOT exchange the iPod, and can only escalate the claim to the “engineers”. At which point, I became upset that, once again, the original tech was wrong that this could be handled on-site at the local apple store. I once again asked if they could do anything as I’m overly frustrated with the service I’m receiving; I was told that the iPod would be replaced regardless. At this point, the tech went back to the office to confer once again with the manager.

The manager comes out with the tech shortly after and explains to me that no one at apple has EVER heard of this happening (although, I have found articles that counter this), and that she did not believe there was anything that she could do. She asked me to “do her a favor” and wait until monday night (EST) to handle this matter. I informed her that I understand that she’s stuck in a hard situation, but I was promised by someone in the support that this could be handled at a local store, and that the iPod would be replaced. She walks back into the back room, and shortly returns with a phone number. She calls up the GM and puts him on the phone with me. At this point, I want to commend the in-store staff as they seemed concerned about this issue and really wanted to make it right. I really do not wish to paint the store employees in a bad way as they had really tried to help me. The GM is, of course, another issue.

The GM gets on the phone and tells me who he is and he’s sorry to hear this. He goes on to inform me that they CAN NOT and WILL NOT give me another iPod. He mentions that this has to go to the engineers first before he will even CONSIDER dealing with the issue. I mention that I have read the reports of this happening before, and that there are numerous instances. He scoffs at this and implies that this is a completely unusual occurrence and no one he knows of has heard of it.

I mention to him that the guy at tech support had told me this can be replaced at the local store. Once again, he says that NOTHING will be done until the engineers look at the iPod, and until he talks with them on monday. I ask why that is, and he says “to make sure there are no safety issues or concerns.” I asked what were the issues regarding the safety, to which he replied “there are numerous things that could probably cause this”. I asked him to name a few, and was met with “the list is too long to mention.” I found this odd, as he had told me before he had never heard of this issue, yet could think of a long list of things that could cause an iPod to explode and catch fire.

I continued to ask what the safety issue would be if he just replaced the iPod. To which he said “it could be the cables”. I told him that the tech support on the phone informed me that i should not use those cables, and that they would be replaced when the iPod is. The GM informs me that they DO NOT replace cables. I continued to say, but, if he was to replace the iPod and the cables, that it would eliminate any safety risk. He assured me that was not the case. I then informed him that it sounds like he was accusing me of intentionally doing this to my iPod. He claimed he wasn’t, but I pointed out that if you replace any and all apple hardware involved, there’s no safety issue, UNLESS the issue is with my existing hardware that’s not apple. he informed me that that was not the case. I informed him that if this was due to a defective iPod, replacing the iPod eliminates the safety issue. He told me that it might not be that case. To which I asked, what exactly safety issue there was if the fault was NOT with apple software. He repeated that they need to look over the iPod to determine any safety issues before even considering replacing the iPod. I became very frustrated at this point that he was trying to use double speak in order to make excuses and push the blame onto me.

At this point I offered to leave the faulty iPod with the apple store to send off to the engineers as needed, but that I wanted my iPod replaced as I was promised by the tech on the phone. The GM informs me that the tech was in no way, shape, or form allowed to make that guarantee to me. At this point, and I am ashamed to say, I lost my temper with the GM. I told him that I was not pleased at all with this service since I was promised that the iPod would be replaced, and yet it was not going to be. The GM informed me that he wasn’t even sure if it NEEDED to be replaced let alone if apple WOULD replace it. After this turn, my language became peppered with profanity. The GM continued on to tell me that he’s not going to do anything about the issue, and that I could sit there all night and tell him how he should handle it, but it is NOT now he will handle it.

In other words, the GM wanted to take up more of my time in order to try and push the blame on me for the iPod breaking, completely negate anything I was told originally by tech support, and try to get me out of their store as quickly as he could without doing anything to resolve the issue.

After reading another issue or two, it appears as though apple is now saying that even if it is a faulty piece of equipment and does damage to other objects or people, that it is NOT their responsibility to replace it unless you have a current warranty. I had not picked up the extended warranty due to the fact that, at the time, I had not received word of any issues. Now, I am fully regretting that decision as I’m sure that they would not allow me to take out a warranty now to cover the issue. This upsets me as they have made a precedent to replace products, even out of warranty, if the issue is due to a severe product malfunction such as this.

After this, I can fully say that I am not pleased at all with how this issue has been handled by apple. I have been informed of an email address within the Apple company, and I plan on sending a copy of this email, along with the pictures to that address also. From the various stories I have read, of which I have included links, it has been made clear that this is NOT an isolated incident as Apple would have me believe. I do not feel that Apple has been doing a sufficient job of resolving this matter in any way, shape, or form. Based on the other reports, I do not have much hope that this matter will be resolved in any timely fashion, that my iPod will be replaced, that I will be compensated for anything, that I will get an apology for their tech support making claims that they were not permitted to, or for the store obviously not being on the same page as tech support. Frankly, in my search for information regarding the iPod, I’ve found other reports that claim this type of fault for other issues. This ranges from problems with computers, to mp3 players, and even to censoring comments and forum posts regarding bugs with their products. By bringing this up, I hope to make it known that these type of issues appear to be common with apple. Like other manufacturers, they sometimes produce faulty products, however, they seem to want to protect their corporate image and pockets more than make up for their faulty product. In this case, it was a known issue with this model of iPod and the company did not seem to make any motions to address the issue. I hope that by making this public, people may be able to avoid this issue happening with their own electronics, and that they may be prepared for what they would have to deal with in the process of attempting to resolve the issue. While Apple may produce numerous ad campaigns that make them seem almost invincible, their products are like any others: buyer beware.

The fiery Nano:

Dale’s burnt desk:

The pictures look awfully similar to other iPods that have spontaneously combusted.

This iPod exploded yesterday and we don’t see the harm in giving Apple a day to sort out what went wrong. Still, we’re not sure how the engineers can do much without the physical unit, and it would seem wise for the Apple store to have an unspoken policy of ‘Return Exploded iPod, Get 1 Free!’

Update: Apple agreed to replace the iPod.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Triborough says:

    It is the weekend. Always wait until the business week starts.

  2. After reading the story, I only find fault with one thing. The original rep said that the store would replace the iPod after the engineers had rendered their verdict. The OP then goes on and on saying the rep said he could get it replaced. Even the people at the store say that the engineers need to investigate further. It seems that they are all following the same policy. I can see where the engineers would want to get involved first. If it is the OP’s computer, and they give him another iPod, the same thing could happen, which could have dangerous results. I am sorry this happened to the OP, and do not think it was his fault. But I think to err on the side of caution is the best thing. Apple records their calls to the best of my knowledge, so anything said can more than likely be reviewed. If my iPod went up, I would be more than willing to wait a few days to make sure it was the iPod vs. my computer that made it go boom, just to make sure my other devices that I plug in are safe.

  3. That’s pretty damning evidence. And I’m shocked at how the Apple Store GM handled things. Admittedly, the OP shouldn’t have resorted to profanity, but I can understand how anger can escalate in the situation like that.

    I’m curious how the Apple apologists will spin this one.

  4. theBIG says:

    I do not doubt that Apple will replace this ipod. They just replaced my Macbook Pro – and it was over 1 year out of warranty!

    Apple is generally very good about customer service. It seems to me that because it is the weekend, the correct people could not be reached, but come Monday it will be taken care of.

  5. For the record: Dale’s complaint to Mr. Jobs is 2,152 words long.

    2,152 words long.

    This complaint could have been written in three paragraphs. Example:

    Dear Mr. Jobs,

    I am attaching a photo of my iPod nNano which exploded.

    I am disconcerted that Apple has refused to replace this product because it is no longer under warranty. I would understand if the product simply ceased to function, but after such a dangerous incident, I believe Apple should examine this product and offer to replace it.

    Sincerely,
    Dale

    Dale’s information

  6. GeoffinAround says:

    His desk is a treasure chest?

  7. djanes1 says:

    This article does seem a bit premature. Surely you can’t expect a new iPod the day of your old one catching fire… otherwise every pyro that wants to upgrade would do this intentionally. It would be more interesting to see how the service bureaucracy will work in this case, rather than reading a temper tantrum by someone that will be sans iPod for a little while.

  8. Fly Girl says:

    @GeoffinAround: Haha, I thought the exact same thing… “That’s not a ‘desk,’ that’s a TREASURE CHEST!”

    Also, to the OP: Dude, wait ’til Monday. It’ll be okay. I promise.

    (…And if it not okay after Monday, that’s the appropriate time to fire off the manifesto.)

  9. Zak13 says:

    I just got a call regarding the iPod from someone at Apple. They do not feel that this issue was handled properly. They apologized for what I dealt with on the front with the GM, and that the tech on the phone should not have agreed to what he did (a memo is supposed to go out regarding it on Monday).

    They have scheduled an appointment for me to meet with someone at the local apple store tomorrow to take the iPod in. While they do feel it should be sent in for capture, that it should be replaced at the same time. I’ve been told that they will have a replacement in store for me tomorrow and that they’ll check up on this issue in the week.

    Right now, it’s appearing that most of the trouble stems from the tech not knowing what he could or could not agree to, and the GM not wanting to do anything about it. That part bothered me in that it felt as though apple was trying to blame me for the issue and not take responsibility for a malfunction that seems to take place in that model of iPod.

    I should know more tomorrow depending on how the issue is handled.

  10. Zak13 says:

    @djanes1: As for expecting it to be replaced day of, the tech on the phone had told me that, yes, since there were stores open, I should be able to take it in and have it replaced and that something would be worked out regarding the capture of the iPod.

  11. GeoffinAround says:

    Alright, for real now. This is a serious issue, & weekend or not, what if the OP had left his place while the iPod was charging? Apple is pretty lucky that they don’t have to deal with something exponentially more severe, like a room full of scorched possessions, or a residential fire.

    On a lighter note, I have an issue with my iPod as well. It is 5th gen. 40-gig, & it no longer loads up. It began freezing some time ago, but often after a reset it would work again… hasn’t worked in a couple months now. Does this mean it’s just kaput, or will Apple do some repairs or replace it with some equivalent?

  12. Televiper says:

    Looking like a battery issue.

    A policy that immediately replaces “Exploded” devices is a bad one. I bet I can get the same result rigging up a power supply that simply runs at a higher voltage.

  13. Parting says:

    @twophrasebark: Yes, I think the consumer’s anger comes from the fact that the ipod wasn’t replaced on weekend.

    It’s also very possible that the chain reaction was caused by physical or liquid damage, aka. ”misuse”. Plus, it’s not under warranty any more. In this case, the consumer blames first rep for an honest mistake. He could have mentioned the mistake politely, on Monday, and get some bonus goody, for additional inconvenience of driving to the store.

    I don’t like rude people. Unless it’s death or life situation.

    I would write a letter like yours, and wait for couple of days :) Maybe even get a goody with the replacement.

  14. TheDude06 says:

    Lithium ion batteries are explosive. (check youtube, some fantastic videos). They have many safety systems in place that are very very good, but no matter, still explosive. Why they let them on airplanes is a mystery.

    I believe this is why they ended up making the tesla out of lots and lots of small cells. can you imagine what a 200lb battery could do?

  15. metalrules24 says:

    @djanes1:

    First of all, it would have been pretty obvious had this person set his iPod on fire as the damage would likely be more on the outside of the device rather than on the inside. Any idiot can tell an internal malfunction from site rather than some pyromanic setting their iPod on fire.

    Second, I wouldn’t say that it was a “temper tantrum” but a frustrated customer who had been given 3 conflicting stories about the process of returning his iPod. How would you feel if you were accussed of ruining the iPod just to get a free one?

  16. redwall_hp says:

    it appears as though apple is now saying that even if it is a faulty piece of equipment and does damage to other objects or people, that it is NOT their responsibility to replace it unless you have a current warranty.

    Well, they aren’t obligated to replace it, are they? If you’re not under warranty…

  17. seismic007 says:

    @ludwigk: I had planned to write a comment similar to this before I had logged in to Consumerist and saw this one posted. Holy Cow, an iPod is not a life or death piece of electronic equipment. A pacemaker, a respirator, an iron lung–yes, I would demand immediate satisfaction. A luxury item for listening to music (that is out of warranty, no less)–have a little considerate patience, and you might get some satisfaction. This is nothing more than an example of our societal self-centeredness and some real narcissistic behavior. IMHO, this guy should suffer without music for a couple weeks and think about his behavior.

  18. Rachacha says:

    @redwall_hp: They are under no obligatiion to replace it…unless it is shown that it is a systemic problem and there was either a design flaw or a manufacturing defect that caused the battery to catostrophically fail rather than an isolated incedent.

    I would recommend to the original poster that he submit a record of the incident to the CPSC [www.cpsc.gov] . Products can fail and cease to function, but anytime there is an explosion or flames that exit the product, it fails every safety standard. As I have seen other nanos with similar problems, it does not seem like this is an isolated incedent.

  19. krispykrink says:

    Dale is being way too impatient and needs to slow the frack down.

    When my 1st Gen nano died it took Apple a few days to arrange for and send me a box to send it in to them. After I sent it in it took a few more days until I got a call asking me to pick a color for my new current Gen replacement nano, which they shipped overnight to me. All in all, about 2 weeks.

    Slow down, be patient and they’ll take care of it. Also, stick with only 1 form of support. Call-in or in-store, not both! This only slows things down and adds confusion. Personally, I recommend call-in only as retail employees on average don’t give a damn about you or the product after they’ve taken your money.

  20. msbask says:

    That was the longest letter I (never) tried to read. Did anyone actually get all the way through.

    All I got was his ipod caught fire and how he’s pissed because it wasn’t replaced within 24 hours?

    Super-long letter and ridiculous expectations.

    No. Just no.

  21. djanes1 says:

    @Zak13: When I was a little kid I got a comic book that my parents deemed too mature for me and took it away. They said I could have it back when I was old enough, i.e. 16. Once I turned 16 I asked for the comic book and they told me they had assumed I would forget about it and had thrown it away years ago. Sometimes in life you don’t get everything promised, even when it is the same person doing the promising. In your case, there is a phone rep who was telling you what you wanted to here on one side. On the other side is a store GM who isn’t going to take a hit on his bottom line every time somebody comes in with a melty iPod and a story about a magical phone rep who promised instant gratification. Shizz happens. Be thankful you were around when the iPod caught fire!

  22. Zak13 says:

    @ludwigk: I went to the store that night because I was told that it could be resolved in store. Whether or not that was true was something I was not made aware of. I was calm and polite to the employees in the store that I dealt with, along with tech support. I only became belligerent once the GM attempted to blame the issue on me and refused to consider the issue as serious.

    As for intending to make a “big stink”, no, I just wanted this issue to be resolved and handled. When you have a GM pretty much scoffing at the fact that their company’s product had this type of destructive malfunction, are you just supposed to say “thank you sir, it’s my fault” (as he implied) and walk away?

    My intent for sending this email along was to inform Apple of the manner in which their service treated me, and the fact that I was given two different stories within the same company. Did I think that they would replace anything or remedy the situation after yesterday? No. I’ve heard numerous good stories about support from Apple, and the first call seemed to be in line with that. It was only after the GM seemed to act as if it was a “non-issue” that I became upset. I only wanted to get this matter into the light and inform someone, at some level that mattered, the type of service I was given for this type of problem.

    As for why the message was as long, as has been commented on before, I’ve always been told that when dealing with any kind of support line, to make the entire issue known in as much detail as possible.

    As I stated in the email, I also agree that I should not have become belligerent as I did. I do feel I was wrong in that sense, but I also don’t feel that the GM intended to try and resolve the issue in any way other than to just get me to leave the store.

  23. bossco says:

    Sure a lot about nothing. Yeah sure they’ll replace it. Sometimes electronics die. Glad nobody was hurt. What a long long letter..;.

  24. 6a says:

    If that letter was an audiobook, would it fit on said nano?

  25. tc4b says:

    @ludwigk: @seismic007:

    So, you guys don’t think Apple should stand behind their merchandise? Even when they (over the phone) SAID they would? Seems like you guys think the appropriate attutude for corporations to customers would be “If it’s not life or death, screw you. We’ll get to it when we get to it. Or, possibly not. You’ll live.”

  26. FHJay says:

    I also find it odd that the person says they have a precedent of replacing iPods, therefore, they will hopefully replace his. If Apple never replaced any iPod, would that make this situation any better?

    Besides that, I’m in agreement that the OP should’ve waited before throwing a fit. The person on the phone did say that it would be replaced, but once it became apparent that the GM wasn’t going to do it, he should have left. Standing there and continuing just makes him seem argumentative, especially since a few minutes into the conversation it was obvious the manager wasn’t going to replace it.

  27. Tijil says:

    I would suggest also notifying the CPSC:

    [www.cpsc.gov]

    This gets the feds on the case (not individually, usually, but as part of a larger analysis) and if Apple is also notified that the CPSC has been notified, they will possibly notate their records.

    SOMETIMES letting a company know that the proper state and federal folks have been involved sparks their interest in resolving the matter…

    Good luck!

  28. SabyneWired says:

    For everyone who’s complaining about his “making a big stink” about the issue, obviously you’ve never had someone scoff at you and talk down to you like you’re a child. Believe me, when someone’s blaming you for something you had no control over, you’re likely going to get a bit angry. Especially if you feel as though you’re getting the run-around from folks like it seems the OP did. That GM reminds me of some managers I’ve had the misfortune to work under, and I really wonder why someone who’s that eager to blame a customer for something out of their control is even in that sort of position in a retail store. Especially one like Apple, where they’re known for decent-to-great service.

    It’s bad enough when someone catastrophically melts down and dies when you’re using it as usual. To have someone talk down to you and treat you like a little kid because they don’t want to be arsed to help you in inexcusable.

  29. angelcake88 says:

    @Rachacha- “…unless it is shown that it is a systemic problem and there was either a design flaw or a manufacturing defect that caused the battery to catostrophically fail rather than an isolated incedent.”

    I have an Ipod Mini that has a serious flaw. It was just after the short warranty lapsed. The battery just went dead. I had to pay to get it ‘fixed’. Instead they sent me another Mini with the same design flaw. None of those batterys worked after a certain point. Usually three or four recharges. They couldn’t be charged and if they could, they didn’t hold a charge more than 2 hours max. And when I called them a second time, telling them that since they obviously know of the flaw since the Mini was no longer made, they should replace the Mini with whatever the new better working model was. That this product was clearly a lemon. They refused, wanted me to pay more money for another Mini, I refused to pay more money into this pit and I’m left with, after all is said and done, a $300 coaster. Apple stinks and you’d have to pay me to buy another of their products.

    Overpriced, overhyped crap.

    Good luck to the OP. Sansa makes a pretty good product if you’re not happy with how Apple handles this.

  30. missdona says:

    @twophrasebark: Seriously.

    I’m surprised a Nano holds enough music for Dale

  31. My favorite thing to do on Lithium Ion battery explosion stories is post this video of a controlled battery fire.

    Yes, Apple should replace it. And they will, because the propensity of Li-Ion batteries to burst into a toxic inferno is a pretty serious defect. Apple (and every other manufacturer who uses Li-Ion) is just afraid of the day when an iPod burns down a house.

  32. ShadowFalls says:

    @Zak13:

    You may or may not have been told certain things, which sometimes people mix things up. Even so, would it be completely unreasonable for you to wait till Monday? I don’t think so, if they give you crap at that point, then you have reason to be upset.

    Some people don’t like to risk their jobs on a daily basis by not following strict policies.

    This is more of a mess from someone being unreasonable and not able to be patient. If they told you that you had to ship it to them, would you have done that? Or been upset there too?

    If you could possibly agree to that, you would certainly not see it for awhile, much longer than just waiting to the next weekday.

  33. Altdotweb says:

    Some of the exploding nanos were charged with faulty charging cables.

    What cable was the OP using?

  34. TheJinManCan says:

    Wow. You’re all quick to dismiss this one.

    The thing caught FIRE. Whether it’s under warranty or not, this thing should not have done that… period.

    A quick call to a rep, and the rep says “YEP, walk in and replace it”, well, I’d freakin’ do it, too.

    The only thing I see wrong with what he did was flip out at the GM. But still, really? No sympathy for this guy? If your keyboard would catch on fire right now, no big deal then?

    Only thing I will agree with all of this is that he had to calm the heck down.

  35. Zak13 says:

    @Altdotweb: I was using the cables that came with the iPod originally.

  36. buckeye17 says:

    LOL, he’s pretty dumb if he really thinks Steve Jobs will read that essay of his.

  37. MyPetFly says:

    iExplode… (product and OP?)

  38. Mercurywaxing says:

    It was handled poorly by the company reps. That was the problem. So much of customer service is good communication.

    If the warranty is out they don’t have to replace it but a credit on the purchase of a new one would have been about right, in my estimation.

  39. sean77 says:

    Steve Jobs’ response: tl;dr

  40. Altdotweb says:

    @Zak13:

    Make sure that you bring that cable with the unit if you take it into the store for inspection.

  41. bobpence says:

    As a (non-Apple) engineer, my first concern in a case like this would not be about replacing the damaged product — no problem — but about prematurely accepting responsibility because of the other things that could be damaged in such an explosion.

    I like nothing more than being magnanimous after determining something is the end user’s fault by still taking care of them, and it seems Apple would likely do the same if the explosion was due to a faulty port on the customer’s end of things. But this leaves two possibilities:

    1) It could happen again, with worse results. I don’t want the customer to get hurt.

    2) I/we would be held responsible for other damage in the first or in subsequent events. I don’t want to get hurt.

  42. norubiT says:

    this does not change anything for me, you can always expect a lithium ion battery to malfunction after a certain amount of time, they do have a short life and 1st gen nanos have been out a while. i’m sure in 5 yrs give or take my Zune will malfunction in some way.

    I hate Apple anyways but this is interesting to see how the service reps try to spin things, a large chunk of Apple’s customers are tech knowledge-less/lacking people and probably believe Apple is a perfect company, Apple wants to keep it that way as would any company with a reputation like that.

  43. norubiT says:

    @buckeye17: where in the essay did you see Steve Jobs? the Op simply says he obtained “an email address” Consumerist editors were the ones that put the part about Steve in the article.

  44. rolla says:

    i would email Steve with the story and pics.

  45. krunk4ever says:

    @tc4b: No one’s claimed that Apple shouldn’t stand behind their products. However, people who actually read the article should’ve figured out all this is about an impatient consumer demanding instant gratification and when not give instant gratification, he threw a temper tantrum.

    No one is saying he won’t be getting or shouldn’t be getting a replacement (though after reading his tantrum, I’m actually leaning towards teaching him a lesson). This is just about a guy who can’t wait 2 days to get a replacement.

    Sure he was promised he’d be able to get it replaced same day… ON THE CONDITION THE ENGINEERS GET BACK TO THEM. The engineers DID NOT get back and hence the case is still open to investigation.

    @iMike: I agree, this is a “bad consumer”

  46. krunk4ever says:

    It looks like my original comment wasn’t posted…

    Everything was fine up till the point when OP (Zak13) kept on insisting he should get the replacement tonight.

    Here’s how I see the story:

    Sure, the supervisor may have promised that if the engineers got back to him, he would be able to replace the iPod that night, but the fact is the engineers apparently don’t work on weekends. A mistake on the supervisor’s part yes, but can we really blame him for not knowing exactly what hours the engineers work, especially if it’s not related to his department?

    Fine, he didn’t get a call back, he went to the store instead. Customer support over there tried to help, but unfortunately, the only thing they can do is wait for the engineers to get back to them.

    OP tries to escalate and see if this issue can be resolved earlier. I don’t blame him, he’s already wasted time talking on the phone and driving to the store. Lets see what the manager has to say. Manager tells him that he can’t really do anything for him at this time and like the previous responses, he has to wait till he hears back from the engineers.

    Here’s when the OP has crossed the line, and gives all us consumers a bad name:

    At this point, the OP keeps prodding for a weakness. He keeps asking why he can’t get a replacement today. The answer is quite clear and repeated multiple times: WE HAVE NOT HEARD BACK FROM THE ENGINEERS.

    Unsatisfied with that answer, he keeps asking the same question while repeating he was “promised” that he could get a replacement tonight, while so easily forgetting to mention the “condition”.

    Trying to get him to come back on Monday evening, the manager makes up a generic excuse: Concern with your safety, we can not give you a replacement yet. Armed with this reason filled with holes, the OP tries to attack along this line asking what safety concerns, etc.

    At this point, all the employees and GM have been extremely patient in dealing with this customer, who won’t take come back on Monday for an answer. So the GM continues to try to convince the OP to come back on Monday by repeating the same stuff over and over again. The OP takes this as belittling him and trying to push blame onto him, and the GM denies that’s what he’s trying to do. Is it NOT obivious what he’s trying to do when he says, “We can keep going back and forth, but nothing can be done till Monday.” At this point, I believe the OP flips out.

    In conclusion, I honestly commend the GM for withholding himself and not kicking the OP out of the store for wasting everyone’s time.

  47. yikz says:

    If you own a car, and your car burned up, do you think you can call Detroit or Tokyo to notify them and then run down to the car dealer and pick up your replacement? How about on a Saturday? What do you think the car dealer is going to say? He’s going to laugh at you for being stupid.
    Actually, he will probably laugh at you as soon as you leave the dealer. In the meantime, he’ll probably tell you to call your insurance agent. The insurance company will get you a loaner car.

    Speaking of insurance… do you have homeowners’ insurance? Call your insurance agent and give them the same treatment that you gave the Apple store! I’d like to hear how that conversation turns out.

    You had an iPod burn up. Refurbished, that iPod is worth about $80. Apple doesn’t have to give you a brand new iPod. And frankly, they don’t have to give you a damn thing. I don’t care how many articles you find that corroborate your story, you need to prove that the iPod is faulty. What if the power output from your laptop is faulty? What if your cable is bad? Have you talked to your laptop manufacturer? Can you live without an iPod? Or do you need to drive down to the Apple store and creat a ruckus every day until you get your way?

  48. @yikz: wow YOU BEAT ME TO THE PUNCH!

    In all seriousness… I wouldn’t of created a rumble in the Apple store Bronx until they didn’t follow thru on their end. Most certainly, if I had been under the impression that driving to the store that night would of provided me with a new iPod, I’d jump on the deal. But, unfortunately, someone gave you some sh*tty advice. It happens.

    I usually give a company a couple of days to remedy the problem. An iPod is fun stuff, but not something you can’t live without. And if it is — way bigger problems on the OP’s hands. I’m sure he wanted his new one in his hands quickly so no take-backsies from the company. But, once again, sh*t happens.

    Sorry, OP. I’d be pissed, too. Thank god it wasn’t worse.

  49. “I’ve always been told that when dealing with any kind of support line, to make the entire issue known in as much detail as possible.”

    Zak, the best complaint letters are short, polite and to the point. In the first paragraph, the reader should immediately learn why you are writing. As you can see in the example I wrote, anyone reading would immediately know your iPod Nano exploded in the first sentence. And that is about 99 percent of what they need to know.

    No one these days has time to read a letter which is 8 double-spaced typed pages (your letter). I advise people to never, ever, ever, write a letter that is more than one standard type written page (250 words). I even recommend half that amount.

    Unfortunately, Consumerist has not done a better job of pointing out when complaint letters are good, bad or somewhere in between.

    I’m glad you got your issue resolved.

  50. Coles_Law says:

    “Can you explain what you were doing before the iPod exploded?”

    “Well, yes, I was just uploading the best of Smash Mouth and it…”

    “Well, that explains it then.”

  51. ironchef says:

    Lithium ion batteries will burst into flames if the battery is breached, wet, or damaged. It’s something to consider when trying to find the root cause.

  52. SeanOHara says:

    @GeoffinAround: That’s not a treasure chest; it’s a steamer trunk. They’re extremely useful pieces of furniture since they’re the right size for coffee tables, end tables, and can be turned on end as stands. Very useful for Christmas decorations.

  53. smrtypants44 says:

    @yikz:
    Your comparison is rather absurd. A car dealership is essentially a franchise, so they have no liability for design flaws on a vehicle. The apple store is directly owned by apple and all of the employees in the store are employed by apple so therefore they are liable (being Apple) for any design flaws.

  54. coren says:

    @norubiT: Right, and they said it was the letter he sent to Steve Jobs. Why would we assume he didn’t send it to Jobs if Consumerist says he did?

  55. coren says:

    OP, I understand your frustration with being told one thing at one end, and another at the other end. I certainly can’t fault you at being upset over the potential hazard presented here. But I think that you’ve got a case where you’re overlooking two important things.

    1) The GM isn’t the person you talked to on the phone (and apparently is a dick). He didn’t promise anything, and the phone rep isn’t there to live up to his promise

    2) This is dangerous, I think you’d agree. So what happens if you get another iPod and it happens again? But this time you’re not home? Or hell, you’re in another room on the phone, or taking a shower, or something and you don’t notice. Making sure this isn’t going to happen again should be priority one. Can you live without your iPod for a few days in order to make that happen?

  56. sammysam says:

    Going to have to say that I’m more than a little disappointed that Consumerist didn’t hold off on posting this until Monday evening.

    This would’ve given Apple REASONABLE time to get the issue looked at and attended to.

    I can understand the OP’s frustration, but posting something like this before the company has a reasonable amount of time to look into it, is a bad call.

    From what I can tell, the phone rep made a mistake – IT HAPPENS.

    The GM may not have communicated effectively with the OP; however, he was in the right. Customer should have waited until Monday. Let’s be honest people lie about stuff like this all the time. I know someone who hooked their cell phone up to a car battery to get it replaced under warranty. Stupid people ruin it for everyone. Waiting an extra day or two for people to properly look into this is perfectly acceptable.

    BLAH!

  57. PDX909 says:

    Oh enough with this little diva already, I got tired of him/her after 4 lines of his whinging.

  58. danwarne says:

    I personally think they should not only replace Dale’s iPod but his treasure chest as well.

  59. RodAox says:

    I also found pictures of unicorns on the internet, that does not make them real.

    I will also blame the OP in this instance, there was a simple miscommunication then the people did what they had to do following procedure which seems reasonable.

    They want the engineers to be involved in this situation to make sure that this type of thing will not happen to other Nano 1st gen users or see what has caused it. Considering that he had no warranty and apple was kind enough to take him for his word in a reasonable time frame “We will get back to you on Monday” at least he should have waited until then…

    @coren: OP if you are around please reread important thing #2

  60. ltx says:

    @bobjr94: Go buy a new one? You have to be kidding. Assuming he didn’t cause it, the iPod EXPLODED and started a fire. It could have burned down his house if he went to grab a drink while it was charging. You don’t just forget about something that could have caused damage and injury because of a manufacturing defect. This is something that you could sue for, had he not prevented damage from occurring.

  61. transiit says:

    This strikes me as an unfortunate extreme.

    While I understand the concern of the poster with respect to his beloved ipod catching fire, the rest of the story squarely lands in my pet peeves in the category of over-developed sense of entitlement.

    Hopefully, the exploding ipod is a relatively isolated incident, and I really don’t see the harm in the apple CSRs wanting to escalate it to an engineering issue. That seems pretty responsible to me, regardless of whether or not it’s within the warranty period.

    But, the simple truth of it is, as has been suggested by many of the other comments, the engineering staff might not be around on the weekends. I’m sorry for your precious loss, but the truth is that the world might not fit your schedule, and you might just have to wait until monday to get more information.

    I would never wish for anyone to be in a car accident, but I am rather curious how long this person would wait for resolution of a claim.

  62. Kevino says:

    Wait until the weekend is over and you’ll have a replacement. Simple as that.

  63. macslut says:

    “After weeding through their electronic menu, I was put on hold for around 15 minutes. This gave me some time to calm down, and after telling the representative that my iPod nano exploded, I was transferred directly to the customer support supervisor at the time. His extension is X86702. He walked me through a 20 minute survey regarding the issue before putting me on hold again to contact the “engineers”.”

    This is the starting point as to why so many people here, and on Digg don’t sympathize or empathize with you. It peaks somewhere between the time where you eventually mention that your iPod is not under warranty and where you get upset that Apple won’t replace your iPod with a new one on the weekend without having engineers inspect it first.

    Sorry, but this is all your account of things. There are many signs here that if presented with the other side, we’d get a different story.

    As someone who ran one of the largest Apple service centers and always got great reviews and customer satisfaction reports, let me say that you’d be much better off just focusing on the facts.

    You have an out of warranty iPod.

    Your iPod malfunctioned.

    It may have malfunctioned due to abuse or misuse, and cause can’t be determined until engineers examine it.

    Without the cause being determined, it’s a bad idea to replace the unit.

    Despite being out of warranty, Apple is considering replacing it anyway.

    On this last point, consider yourself lucky. Apple is under no obligation to do this. Be nice. Be patient. Hope that the replace it.

  64. Doormouse says:

    The management structure of an Apple store (including region/district) consists of ex-gap/banana republic managers; they are so concerned with their monthly goals that they’ll do anything to keep a return off of their books.
    When dealing with them over the phone always have them give you a ref. number before you head into a store for a replacement. Store management will kowtow to Apple Support, or anyone they can attribute the loss to.

  65. w2ed says:

    There is only one question I would raise on this, the one that baffles me: If the tech offered to replace your iPod, why would he need to confer wth the engineers and call you back? That’s stupid and bass ackwards (You know the words, people!), not to mention counterproductive.

    IF they were going to replace the iPod, they would need to have the engineers look at it first – which, if they were gone for the weekend, would mean that you should have waited.

    I’ve heard the stories of Apple replacing out-of-warranty products for similarly “weird” cases such as this. (Yes, I consider Spontaneous combustion weird, even if it has happened previously.) The thing is, so have a lot of others in the same ways I have – through through legitimate magazines and websites – and not all of them are honest, hard-working people who want their products fixed/replaced. Some people will go through great trouble to get something illegitimately.

    I’m not calling you dishonest. I think one of two things happened. Either you misheard what they said (unless you’re Agent Smith, a program plugged into a machine, or Unless you have a recording – which would probably be illegal unless you notified them that you were recording them, is definitely possible), or they made an error on their end (which, since you sound like you were talking to a human being, would also be possible.)

    WHERE I DO SEE FAULT is in what I feel was you rushing. There definitely would have been the possibility of you being screwed over, but I think you trying to force their hands pushed you in the wrong direction. This action of putting it up on the web and claiming they screwed you over kinda doesn’t help out much, either.

    I can’t give an exact source for where I’ve seen it, but there are a number of different mags I read, in case you do want to search: Mac|Life (and what it formerly was, MacAddict), MaximumPC, MacWorld, and CPU. What I can tell you is that, warranty or no, Apple has been reported to have replaced (or offer to) products for weird cases. And, what I am certain, is that in most of these cases, the customer worked WITH Apple, not with what he thought he heard.

    Best of luck with that free Nano.

  66. thespyder1125 says:

    Honestly, I work for a customer service call center, and it’s customers like this that piss me off, customers who think that just because they need something, it can magically pop out of the company’s ass. I do sympathize with the customer on the whole, the rep told me this, side, but other then that, honestly, the people who can handle it is closed. that’s a matter of fact thing, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. The rep made a mistake, and gave you information that stalls you ONE F***ING DAY!!! do you honestly need your ipod that badly that you can’t wait one day to talk to the people that can handle these sorts of things? I could understand if it was some sort of subscription you were paying for, but it’s an ipod. you buy it once, you’re done!

  67. crankymediaguy says:

    This story is giving me deja vu. Just this week, I, too, was misinformed by an Apple CSR that a problem I was having with an iPod (Touch model) would be handled at the Apple Store, only to find out that they can’t do anything about it.

    When I got home from my pointless trip to the Apple Store, I tried to find a relevant email address on Apple’s website to post my complaint to. I couldn’t, so I sent the following snail mail letter to Apple HQ. It should be self-explanatory.

    Dear Apple:

    I must report a very unsatisfactory experience with your company today. A few weeks ago, my wife and I purchased an iPod Touch. A few days after the purchase, I called Apple Customer Service to ask a question.

    While I had the CSR on the line, I inquired about getting an upgrade to 2.0. I explained that where I live on the Oregon coast, high-speed Internet is NOT available (neither the cable company nor phone company will wire this area for it.) I asked if an Apple Store could install it for me. The CSR assured me that, yes, an Apple Store would be happy to do that for me while I waited.

    Today, my wife and I made time for a trip to the Apple Store in Tigard, Or. When I arrived there, I was informed by a very pleasant associate that it was NOT possible for the store to install 2.0, that it had to be done via my desktop Mac at home and my iTunes account. When I explained about us not having high-speed access, he went to the back room to ask a tech if there was some alternate way for me to get the update. When he came back, he informed me that, no, there was no other way. I left the store no better off than when I arrived.

    As a result of your CSR giving me incorrect information, my wife and I made a completely unnecessary trip to Tigard (89.2 miles each way, according to my GPS unit), wasting the better part of our day and several gallons of gas.

    Needless to say, this was not a satisfactory experience with Apple Customer Service. I would still like to be able to obtain the upgrade, although I’m at a loss to figure out how this can be accomplished. As you will understand, I’m reluctant to make another 180-mile round trip to Tigard, especially when it seems it would get me nowhere.

    What help can you offer me to resolve this problem?

    Yours,
    [name, address and phone number redacted]

    I’m curious to see what response, if any, I get from Apple Central.

  68. zigziggityzoo says:

    I don’t think he deserves to have it replaced. Apple could, at THEIR option, replace it as a COURTESY, but I don’t think it’s deserved at this point. It’s two generations outdated, well out of warranty.

    Obviously, they’re not designed to explode/self destruct a la inspector gadget, but even so, this is like complaining that the transmission on your car crapped out two years after the warranty expired. Yeah, it sucks, but don’t expect GM to come running with a brand new car to replace it.

    I’m not blaming the OP, but I think he’s a whiny punk.

  69. Meathamper says:

    Not cool…just buy an iPhone.

  70. PierreDunlop says:

    The OP does have a point, that his iPod exploded, but outside of that,
    his manifesto, written on a weekend, shows he demanded way too much
    for an old piece of equipment. As he even said, it’s a 1st gen iPod
    Nano, which is over a year old. The sparks and stuff that happened,
    while it could be faulty manufacture, could also be because of prior
    abuses done to the iPod before. The item is no longer under warranty,
    so Apple does not guarantee that the product will work. The sparks /
    exploding thing is very scary, but thats electronics- stuff like that
    happens. And for a electrical spark to start a fire on the desk, that
    means it was placed near something that can burn (and hard wood does
    not just burn from sparks)…

    While the GM might have been rude, he’s right; He has protocols to
    follow, and he was following them. The OP kept on insisting that
    “someone” on the phone said it would be replaced today, hence it must,
    yet unless that information was communicated down to the store, I
    don’t see how the OP can expect the GM to take his word for it that
    “someone” on the phone at tech support said it would be OK. The reason
    the OP thought that the GM was being a jerk was because simply, the GM
    was not saying what the OP wanted to hear.

    And as for “numerous” occasions of this happening, iPod are made in
    the millions, and I think percentage wise, they are still pretty safe.
    And if you try to reach Apple on a weekday (like all major
    businesses), you can get a lot more done faster.

  71. EYESONLY says:

    @sammysam: “Going to have to say that I’m more than a little disappointed that Consumerist didn’t hold off on posting this until Monday evening.

    “This would’ve given Apple REASONABLE time to get the issue looked at and attended to.”

    WORD!! Posting this immediately does seem a bit premature.

  72. rychdom says:

    1) What ever happened to saying “long story short”?

    2) Those squiggly lines underneath your opus indicate spelling and grammatical errors. In the very least, proof-read your tantrum before you post it online for all to pick apart.

    3) It was out of warranty.

    4) You may have been able to wear the GM down if you had just kept up your ignorant whining. Why’d you give up so easily?

    5) Sarcasm

  73. meefer says:

    Wow, that is pretty piss poor service.

    The one time I had an issue which wasn’t my fault (apple tech misinformed me over the phone about return policy) the guy IMMEDIATELY apologized and gave me store credit as return, no cash. Not a big deal.

    But then again, it wasn’t the weekend.

  74. matt314159 says:

    I’m still dizzy from all the OP’s spin. Let’s distill some of the facts:
    1- Out of warranty ipod went snap, crackle, pop, sizzle.
    2- Agent on the phone said that IF he heard back from the engineers in time, it could be handled the same day.
    3- OP was given a consistent answer from all apple employees involved…we’ll replace it–as soon as the engineers take a look at it.

    I feel for the op, but I don’t think it would have been unreasonable to wait a certain period. Even if it was a week, two weeks, a month…I had a pair of noise-cancelling headphones I sent in for an in-warranty repair, and it was 3 weeks before i got the new set back. And they were WITHIN their warranty period. And I was happy!

    Take two Valium and call back on Monday.

  75. Con Seannery says:

    It warms my heart to see a dead Apple product, thank you Consumerist, for setting the tone for my day.

  76. Con Seannery says:

    @Con Seannery: Yes, I know this was posted yesterday, but still good to see in the morning.

  77. ChelseaCosta says:

    Wow. That certainly is a rant!

    I can understand how upsetting it must be to have an iPod explode on
    you, but as it was the 1st Gen iPod it was pretty damn old.

    That is not to say the owner is at fault.

    The original agent who advised the iPod could be replaced clearly did
    not know what he was talking about as he provided a promise without
    going through the proper steps. That caused a snowball effect of all
    things that went wrong.

    The GM of the Retail Store to be ashamed of himself, bottom line. To
    try to push blame onto a customer without getting the facts first is
    simple unacceptable. He should go back to being a Sales Agent and
    work his way back up.

    Personally I feel that in a case such as this the iPod should be
    replaced regardless of the fact that it was out of warranty for a
    number of years as it could have caused some serious harm.

    I would like to know the outcome of this story for it one-sided at the
    moment.
    Although seemingly objective, the driving force behind the 2000+ words
    (point rested) is emotionally driven.

    Please do post an update to this story.

  78. AshleyKeen says:

    Has the OP ever heard of an executive summary? I’m not one to empathize with CSRs, but the recipient of that missive deserves my sympathies! This is one case where a picture truly would have been worth 1000 words.

  79. chenry says:

    If I don’t have time to read this dissertation, what chance is there that Steve has time?

  80. Jesse says:

    They should have a one page limit for consumer submitted stories.

  81. stupidjerk says:

    good to see apple products are still spontaneously exploding on a regular basis, i was starting to worry that they had addressed the issue and started selling reliable products…

    btw, has anyone heard how the fire started at the apple office building yet?

  82. tedyc03 says:

    @stupidjerk: I think Milton Waddams lost a stapler or something over there…

    The customer has a great reason to complain. An exploding product is a terrible thing. Apple should move heaven and earth for this guy. I just don’t expect them to move it on Saturday.

    Warning to all Consumerists: if you start using the EECB as a first line, not a last line of defense, it won’t work. Busy executives like Steve Jobs don’t have time for diatribes sent on weekends right after the incident. The EECB is effective because the stories are usually so horrific that any executive would step in. I really think that this wasn’t that case.

  83. mariospants says:

    WAAY too long and boring to read through the entire story (this isn’t a murder case, you don’t have to be exhaustive, buddy). The one thing that irks me about the OP’s attitude is his impatience. The nano isn’t cheap, so expecting a replacement tout suit is acceptable, but having to wait a whole weekend to find out if they’ll replace an out-of-warranty product? He should have held tight. IF he hadn’t heard anything by let’s say Tuesday, THEN a letter to Steve Jobs would have possibly been warranted.

    I’ll bet the OP was looking forward to a shiny new nano with more memory and presumed that being belligerent would speed that process along.

  84. AdvocatesDevil says:

    Ww, dd, hw mch pp dd y hv n yr dpr t thrw tht knd f tmpr tntrm? Chll t. nd myb try wrtng nvl nxt tm. Ths stry ws wy t shrt cnsdr wht thrll rd t ws!

  85. btdown says:

    P snds lk typcl ppl fnby dchbg…nly hrs wht h wnts t hr rgrdlss f rlty. Hw pmps t thnk yr nt wld b rplcd n th spt wtht thm hvng chnc t d sm rsrch/nvstgtn.

  86. bobjr94 says:

    Tht lttr s lk smthng lwyr wld wrt nd fl fr crt cs. ts wy t lng. S t blw p, g by nw n.

  87. djsyndrome says:

    “I have to take a few moments to commend him as he seemed to genuinely want to help me.”

    Yes and no. Apple protocol is to immediately forward any ‘safety issue’ where there is product damage, property damage or injury immediately to a Tier 2 support specialist. Once there the customer is run through a carefully prepared (by Apple Legal!) script and is treated with gloves crafted from the finest silk.

    We on the front lines were educated continuously about this, even though I never once received a safety call in my year there.

  88. r.hinojosa says:

    Not to sound cliche, but patience is a virtue. Do you really need your ipod that second? Just wait for Monday.

  89. Televiper says:

    You know, that “burn mark” looks a like a soot mark and will probably come off with a bit of rubbing alcohol.

  90. Ausoleil says:

    Executives in large companies are bombarded constantly by letters, memos, phone calls, vox mail, emails, subordinates, analysts, bla bla bla.

    In other words, generally speaking, their attention spans are pretty short. CEOs by nature are strategic big picture guys and only want the pertinent facts. If you are going to write the CEO of pretty much any multi-billion dollar multi-national, keep it short, to the point and reasonable.

  91. madanthony says:

    One thing I’m curious about is if the Nano was still on it’s original battery. I had the same iPod Nano – a black Gen 1 – and the battery barely held a charge after about 2 years of moderate use (probably 1.5 hours a day, 5 days a week).

    I wonder if the OP had replaced it with a 3rd party battery, and that’s what exploded.

  92. That’s what happens when you upload too much 80s hair metal into your iPod.

  93. TideGuy says:

    Why does everyone have the “I need it now!” attitude. It’s an iPod not a pacemaker. Be patient, Apple is doing you a favor by replacing it if it isn’t under warrenty. I’ll give you that there should be a set policy and better communication regarding what can be offered and when but if you started cursing at me then my reaction would be, “No iPod for you!”

  94. Haxd says:

    In 2006, this same thing happened to me, although I managed to unplug it when it started smoking, rather than leave it in to blow up.

    I took it to the local Apple Reseller and they told me to pretty much shove it up my ass, because it was ‘scratched’ (this was back when the whole, cosmetic damage = voided warranty was in vogue).

    So I called Apple, they sent me a return box, which they promptly sent back to me, iPod in original condition, they didn’t even open it to check the components!

    Letters sent to Apple in Cork, Ireland (closest head office back then) and never received a response, emailed Apple, no response. It was the first thing I bought when I started my job (I was 18) and it was such a kick in the face, no one believing me, and no one listening.

    The only way I have ever received any sort of customer service from Apple is to email the executive customer service team (sjobs@apple.com) and that was because my Power Supply on my Macbook actually blew up and caused fire damage to my desk. Apple graciously replaced it and apologized for almost killing my family, but I’m wondering that the only way to get Apple’s attention is to just leave their products to explode, and just take the chance of whether you get killed or not.

  95. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    “ARrgh, Apple, ye iPod burnt me booty, er me desk! Gimmee a new iPod or ye gonna walk thee plank!”

    I am sorry OP. Looks like you left out some info.
    -how old is the Nano?
    -what condition is the cable? I no see it in the picks.
    -what kinda pc (I see a laptop)?

    The engineer would clarify whether this device was defective (ok to replace) or abused (cable, short, voltage from other device…). Until then, you are just a consumer that is saying Apple’s product is bad, gimmee a new one.

    This doesn’t just Apply to Apple. Yes, some companies can be generous and replace. But why do you think Apple’s stock is so high and why they profit off Hardware sales???

  96. zonk7ate9 says:

    @GeoffinAround: That’s exactly what I was going to say. This could have been much worse had the OP not been next to his iPod when it exploded. Apple should be tripping over itself to give him a replacement.

  97. ugly says:

    I think if I were Steve Jobs I’d read through this letter like so:

    1) CSR on the phone appeased customer and offered solution pending approval of engineers, check.

    2) CSR at store found correct case in computer, noted that it was pending approval of engineers, check.

    3) CSR at store investigated alternative solution by opening new case, check.

    4) Customer escalated via store chain, where GM informed customer that nothing could be done until Monday. Check.

    5) Customer became belligerent and demanded satisfaction immediately, GM held ground and treated customer calmly and asked the customer to come back Monday, check.

    My take on it is:
    This site is a tremendous resource for us consumers to communicate issues about companies and how they treat us. Clearly this counts as such communication, however in this case there’s clearly more to the story. We all know you catch more flies with honey, and you definitely get better service with smiles.

    The company in question was in the process of resolving the consumers complaint, and the consumer just wasn’t happy with the speed. The company bent over and attempted via various other channels to assist the consumer, and still the consumer lost their cool. This is a fine example of a company doing what they could, and should, and a customer taking the stance of “Customer is always right, no matter what”.

    I think the consumer was just overly anxious and needs to settle down and be more patient next time. They were told that an engineer needed to look at it, and that perhaps they’d have looked by the time they made it to the store, but oh well, tough beans they didn’t look that quickly. Get over it.

    To all of you that say “Apple was going above and beyond” I somewhat agree, but I certainly don’t think that a good corporate citizen does the minimum required by law. They should, and do more than that.

  98. HogwartsAlum says:

    Somebody stole my 1st gen iPod. I hope this happened to them, whoever they are. Or their fingers drop off.

    It looks like all the exploding ones were being charged at a computer. Would that make a difference? I charge my 2nd gen one with a thingy that goes into a regular electrical outlet. The iPod sits on my stove and zaps up just fine. However, it’s annoying that whenever I synch it, it drains the battery.

  99. pileofmonkeycrap says:

    I’m not reading that ridiculously long letter. If your picture is worth 1000 words – then keep the letter brief!

  100. CubsPride says:

    Glad to see blaming the OP is alive and well…Oh I get it, that rule must not apply when you upset the apple fanboys. You all would be at the gates of Microsoft demanding engineers be there 24/7 to answer this guy if this was a zune issue.

  101. kbarrett says:

    @TheDude06: Not all Lithium battery chemistries are explosive.

    The big offender is LiCo batteries … if they get hot enough to breach the casing, they burn wildly once Oxygen gets inside.

    LiFePO4 is dead safe, but more expensive and slightly heavier than LiCo. General Motors is currently having the folks at A123 systems make 12V batts for them, basically stacks of A123 3.3V2.3Ah cells ( each a little larger than a “D” cell ) inside a case that is shaped like the old Saturn hybrid 12V case.

    I think if Apple really wanted to fix this, they would go to a LiFePO4 prismatic gel-cell, and just accept the slightly greater weight per Amp-hour tradeoff. An added benefit would be that you get more charge cycles as well ( twice was many as with LiCo ).

  102. BrianDaBrain says:

    Um, so, yeah. What? Ok, I work in customer service, at a cable company, and I always try to make sure people are happy with the service I am able to provide them. But sometimes, this just doesn’t work. For example, a customer calls in and has some issue with the service that cannot be resolved over the phone, so I must schedule a technician to go out to the home and investigate. The customer wants credit now, but I cannot give credit until the technician has resolved the issue. The customer gets upset. “I don’t want to wait until tomorrow for my credit”. [insert appropriate amounts of swearing and foot stamping and phone throwing here]

    Same thing applies here. The OP didn’t want to wait until Monday (OMG… MONDAY) for a resolution. It seems to me (and apparently most of the other commentors as well) that the CSR you spoke with over the phone said “We can replace it today if we here back from the engineers” but you heard only “We can replace it today”. When you were told that the CSR had no place to guarantee that the iPod would be replaced the same day without engineers being there, you should have realized that either you or the CSR had made a mistake and dropped it.

    I think you should be happy that they are even considering replacing your out-of-warranty iPod. Stop demanding immediate resolution and deal with the fact that you most likely won’t have had to shell out the cash to buy another one.

    This is the kind of thing that’ll make companies like Apple stop reading EECBs and hose over the rest of us (with VALID complaints) in the process.

  103. BrianDaBrain says:

    @CubsPride: Who buys Zunes? For the record, I generally hate blame the OP posts, but this is one circumstance where I feel it is warrented, if only because it devalues the EECB process for people with valid complaints… such as complaints that aren’t going to be solved any other way as opposed to complaints that will be resolved once the weekend is over.

  104. whitjm5 says:

    Instead of getting in a huff, just go buy the superior Zune and forget about it. I own both and my iPod sets my desk drawer. Poor Apple. :(

  105. ShubhadaCanthus says:

    I was a Mac Genius for years, and I worked for AppleCare for years
    before that. This story astounds me.

    Forget about the phone agent; honestly, he was Exactly Right, and he
    didn’t promise anything he shouldn’t have. The retail chain completely
    and utterly dropped the ball on this, and it’s issues like this that
    are why I left. The Mac Geniuses are more in league with AppleCare;
    they follow AppleCare’s policies, they use AppleCare’s systems, they
    are in effect local AppleCare agents. However, they are lead, managed,
    organized, and otherwise warped by Retail management that has exactly
    Zero clue about how AppleCare does business. As such, they wind up
    leading the Geniuses astray from their own prescribed policies.

    Apple has had a long standing policy regarding safety issues; it
    changes very little over time. The phone agent appears to have done
    his job to a T, and what he promised the customer is what the Retail
    store should have delivered. End of story. The Genius was unaware, and
    management (including the GM) just lead them further and further astray.

  106. beetlebug62 says:

    I did not see where that laptop had a label that said, “iPod capable”! I mean, it’s Vista capable, but clearly not iPod capable.
    ;)

  107. Parting says:

    @djns1: xctly wrds ws lkng fr ”tmpr tntrm”. Thnks.

  108. ludwigk says:

    @Zk13: ‘m blmng th cstmr bg tm n ths n. Y cldn’t wt tll Mndy fr mr dtls? Srsly? lng wth swrng nd bcmng bllgrnt, dd y cnsdr stmpng yr ft nd cryng? t’s n Pd, nt yr dlyss mchn, r hrt mdctn.

    Y dn’t knw nythng bt cnsmr lctrncs, wht cnsttts cmmn flr, r ny cl wht “knwn ss” mght mn, nd t shws. f crs, y wnt t rs s bg stnk s y cn, bt t jst mks y cm ff s tht mch mr chldsh t ppl wh r knwldgbl n ths rs, nd tht mch hrdr t hlp y.

  109. iMike says:

    Pls dd “bd cnsmr” tg.

  110. SuperSally says:

    At the Apple Store in Cincinnati they replaced my iPod nano with a brand new one just because they didn’t like the way it was heating up when charged. I brought it in b/c I couldn’t get it to turn on and was hoping they could fix it, and left with a brand spanking new one.

  111. mythago says:

    @CubsPride: Believe it or not, it is possible to believe BOTH that Apple’s customer service is subpar AND to believe that in this case, the OP took a legitimate complaint and made an ass of himself with it. It’s not like they said he would have to wait six weeks to get his Nano repaired.

    And really, swearing at the CSRs is just stupid.

  112. k1ckstand says:

    tl;dr.

    n th tm t tk y t wrt ths nvll y cld hv gttn rplcmnt, sld t n By nd bght rl md plyr.

    Scks bt yr dsk, thgh. dg th stmr-trnk wrk srfc.

  113. kyle4 says:

    Is this a first gen Nano issue because everytime I read/see/hear about this it’s always happened to a first gen Nano.

    I hope Apple replaces your iPod, because what happened sucks.

  114. allquckedup says:

    The OP was expecting too much from Apple in a short amount of time on a weekend. The phone tech support implied something he shouldn’t, but did state that the engineers needed to look at the issue before you can resolved it which was also the statement of the GM. I believe he took the GM inability to take legal responsibility for something that apple needed to investigate as blame. Apple is usually very good at replacing obviously defective products you just need to give them a little time. Do you blame people for not working on weekends.

    In the end, its just a frustrated person not giving the company time to give the obvious answer which the GM is not trully authorized to give with a phone tech implying something he’s not authorized to imply. I blame a instant on society that expects immediate results because they have immediate answers.

    At least its a happily ever after right.

  115. chonnes says:

    So you have a problem with a 3 year-old iPod, whose warranty had expired 2 years prior and Apple wants to replace it after they allow their engineers to investigate and you have enough of a problem with that to create an issue? You were obviously trying to weasel a brand new 3rd Gen iPod since the Apple stores only sell 3rd Gen iPods anyway. Technically, Apple had absolutely no liability to replace your old iPod. They offered to replace it if you could be patient enough to let it go through the engineering department, yet you decide to be a little brat about it.

    The only problem with this entire situation is you not accepting a replacement for your 3 year-old iPod under the terms that Apple had laid out, especially when they were under no obligation to do so.

  116. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Everyone, remember the comment code; blaming the poster is not OK and is, frankly, completely out of hand here. Keep the discussion on topic and rule-abiding!

    @CubsPride: If you have a beef, how about emailing me to take action (moderator@gmail.com)? Leave your flip comments out of comment threads.

    @pileofmonkeycrap: Posting the equivalent of “TLDR” is useless spam. Don’t comment again unless you have something relevant to say.

  117. cptskippy says:

    While that sucks I think the OP was a little too impatient, made the issue a bigger deal than it needed to be and put everyone in compromising positions. The outcome was all foreshadowed by the last sentence in the 3rd paragraph.

    I also asked if it was ok to make an appointment for that evening, and I was told it would be fine as we should have heard back from the “engineers” by then.

    It was conveyed to me in that 3rd paragraph that the engineer’s say-so was needed to go ahead with the replacement. It was clear in the last sentence that receiving a replacement in-store that night was contingent on the engineer’s response. The OP never got the response, thus the OP shouldn’t have expected to get a replacement.

    Did the OP have the right to be upset that the rep didn’t call back? Yes. Did that warrant harassing the Apple Store staff and GM with expletives? No.

    I think some fault belongs on the rep for not calling back but the majority goes to the OP for being impatient and not waiting to hear from his technical contact before storming off to the store to demand a replacement. Additionally once it was explained to the OP in the store that there was nothing to be done without an engineer’s approval, the same story conveyed by the rep on the phone incidentally, the OP still insisted that an exception and replacement should be granted.

  118. ne1butu says:

    Apple is very good at replacing defective items that are new to the market without any fuss at all. They replaced my two day old iPhone without any unnecessary aggravation. However for items that are older, I would not expect that same kind of accommodation. It is much more severe when items catch fire. These claims should be taken more seriously by Apple, and I would expect that a higher level of due-diligence before handing out new replacements of old hardware. I’m sure they’ve seen many bogus claims, mistreated equipment, and some staged defects. To automatically hand out replacement iPods to anyone that walks into an Apple store in a huff isn’t a realistic expectation of a customer, and it would not be a good business practice by Apple. But after the engineers have a chance to review the damage, the customer should be provided something within a reasonable amount of time. In my experience, Apple has been very good at this.

  119. ars_workerbee2 says:

    So, recap.

    Dude’s iPod freaks out.
    Dude calls AppleCare, its the weekend, the issue is escalated, he is told it will be replaced.
    Dude goes into Apple Store, the same day, and flips his shit since they say it has to be escalated before they can replace it.
    Dude write giant email to Steve.

    Its a freakin’ iPod. Yes, its an issue that is asploded and could have caused more problems. That doesn’t mean it should get the ZOMGWTFWHOASTEPRIGHTOVERHERESIR VIP treatment. He needs/needed to calm down.

    And its nice to see that the censorship that’s ok for anti-censorship people to use, championed by that ultimate hypocrite from Boing Boing has made its way to Consumerist. Way to be condescending and pandering, thanks. Almost as awesome as how my first account was disabled, without warning or explanation, even after inquiring about it.

    There’s a reason the Consumerist isn’t in my RSS reader anymore, and its equal parts free airtime to blowhards like this douchebag, and the same clever mods who think “disemvowelling” is a good idea.

  120. AI says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: I understand the policy Roz and we should always try to give the OP the benefit of the doubt, as this is the Consumerist, but not every OP is correct, and sometimes being helpful means letting the OP know that they are expecting too much from a company. As long as they are told this politely, it shouldn’t be against policy.

  121. Maatc says:

    Should´ve opened the letter with: “Hey, John Mayer here…”

  122. fsna says:

    It looks to me like your battery was overcharged or overheated. The Lithium ion polymer cell may have swollen and gone into thermal runaway and thats why it was still hot and smoking after you unplugged it. Laptop companies actually performed recalls when this happened with their batteries… though thats much more powerful batteries and those are in steel cans so more explosive. Could be the effect rather than cause though.

  123. mermaidshoes says:

    looks like he’s a windows user. that explains everything.

  124. metalrules24 says:

    @mermaidshoes:

    that doesn’t explain everything. Millions of people consistently use iPods with Windows software and their devices don’t spontaneously combust. Honestly, I use my 1 generation nano with Windows Vista and have never had any problems beyond having to eject the iPod using iTunes rather than Windows. La di freakin dah! Not really too much of a hassle if you’re already using iTunes. Don’t criticize others just because they use Windows. Not everyone can afford to replace their computer and OS to switch to Apple, and honestly I like the range of devices I can use with my Dell. With apple you are more limited with accessories and software.

    So don’t blame Windows for the problem. If iPods weren’t compatible with Windows I doubt Apple would market them as such. Perhaps you’re just another Apple fanboy whose elitist attitude gets in the way of your own common sense.

  125. jiminator says:

    in theory if the motherboard was setup incorrectly with a usb connector plugged into a firewire header then yes, that could easily fry an ipod. virtually all motherboards come with this warning. impossible to say if that would be the case, although the port would not function for usb.

  126. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I blame terrorists.

  127. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oh, alright, I’ll make a serious post. Sheesh.

    The iPod fried. Probably an internal short or resistance in the battery….there’s a lot of energy stored in that really tiny battery, so I’m actually surprised (and thankful) that this type of thing doesn’t actually happen more often. I would have been a little freaked out too, although it didn’t exactly explode and destroy his apartment…but sparks and fire would have been enough for me.

    Apple should obviously replace the iPod. Even if it’s out of warranty, it would still be a graceful gesture, considering their product could have burned down the OP’s apartment. Their customer service over the phone sounds like it sucked, and it sounds like they were rude…but on the other hand, the OP admitted he lost his temper and his conversation began to be “peppered by profanity”, so I can picture a heated exchange between telephone tech support and the OP, who by his own admission, was pissed off and freaking out. I don’t know why the tech and GM accused him of doing something that would have caused the thing to burst into flames.

    I can see Apple wanting to do a post-mortem on the charred remains, and I didn’t see exactly how old the unit was in the post (maybe I missed that), but I would hope that they would at least make some kind of goodwill gesture (if it’s out of warranty)…or replace it with no questions asked (if it’s in warranty). I consider Apple to be a premium brand, and I would expect service to match.

  128. engfish says:

    Japan is reporting Nano fires–that’s the product, not the size of the overheating batteries:

    [news.yahoo.com]

  129. k122n says:

    three cases of nano’s overheating in japan: [news.yahoo.com]

  130. metalrules24 says:

    @jiminator:

    The USB port does still work. I know this person.

  131. theycallmetak says:

    If anyone’s still reading:

    Apple fessing up to problem, will replace exploded 1st Gen Nanos

    [news.cnet.com]

    I’m not saying what happened or didn’t happen but all the hate is disturbing. Apparently there were more people there to actually witness the incident than just the OP.

    Ipods are perfect or at least perfect enough that they don’t explode.

    The OP is a scammer or a piece of scum for trying to get a new product to replace his defective one.

    Since the warranty expired OP had no right to expect anything from Apple, not even when it started a fire.

    OP is too greedy, trying to get a replacement that day (despite the fact that that’s what he was told)

    Am I missing something? I have a hard time believing anyone here would just chill out and relax after having a piece of hardware spontaneously combust on their desk.

  132. ackerrj says:

    Apple states it will replace all Ipod Nanos of this generation that have this problem.

    [arstechnica.com]

    Congrats: You have successfully saved anyones ass.

    Apple let this go a little too far, because it might destroy all that consumer good will generated by the expensive mac vs pc ads.

    Really stupid of them to let it get this far.

    PS: I am typing this on an IMac and we have an IPhone 3g…

    We would like to think apple is more responsive and in our personal experience they have been.

  133. This may have something to do with this:

    [www.reuters.com]

    Overheated iPod nano caused fires

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s trade ministry said on Tuesday that three fires had been caused by overheating Apple iPod nanos, which it said could be due to a battery defect.

    No one was injured in the three fires involving the music players made by Apple Inc but the government said in a statement Apple had reported two other cases where people had suffered minor burns.

    Apple officials were not immediately available for comment but the ministry said the firm had said a possible defect in iPod nano battery cells could have caused them to overheat.

    The trade ministry said iPod nanos with known overheating incidents were sold in Japan between September 2005 and September 2006.

    A semi-governmental body specializing in product safety will look into the cause of the incidents in cooperation with Apple, a trade ministry official said.

    “We are not in the position to speculate on the outcome of the investigation. But after several incidents like these, it would be appropriate for Apple to take some measures to raise the public’s awareness,” the official said.

    (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by David Fogarty)

  134. Dyscord says:

    That GM is way too rude. And given that it’s the pittsburgh area doesn’t surprise me much. I’ve had trouble with that apple store when my ibook drive stopped working within the warranty period. After having my computer for a week they tell me that they cant fix it because of “liquid damage on the motherboard. Nevermind the fact that liquid was never anywhere NEAR my ibook. They then proceded to tell me that it would cost $700 to replace. At that point I was pretty pissed off so I just grabbed my computer and left. I wish I would have known about this site before hand. I just assumed that Apple would be uncooperative.

  135. rychdom says:

    @metalrules24: While I agree that the post by mermaidshoes was ridiculous (and frankly, embarrassing to me as a Mac user and lover), that business about Macs being “limited” by “accessories and software” is a myth, just like the idea of offshore drilling making an impact any time before 2013.

    You really shouldn’t believe everything you hear…

    More on topic, I think it’s safe to say that OP’s story should be a lesson in what not to do, which is just as helpful as all the other posts on Consumerist that define what will work.

  136. iMike says:

    @iMike: My bona fide suggestion on the appropriate tagging for this story was disemvoweled. Inappropriate use of disemvoweler.

  137. Anonymous says:

    Exploding MP3 in “playback mode”. Any quick comments on my MP3 expoloding and filling room with snoke/fumes and burned bed covers. It was NOT being charged. I was listening to the music. This is a dangerous product. What rights do I have to claim “health and safety” issue? I had extended waranty on MP3, and it was replaced at point of purchase.