Apple accused of silencing family over refund claim

Apple attempted to silence a man and his 11-year old daughter with a gagging order after an iPod Touch allegedly burst into flames, it has been reported.

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Apple attempted to silence a man and his 11-year old daughter with a gagging order after an iPod Touch allegedly burst into flames, it has been reported.

Apple would only offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form, the Times newspaper reported. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement, the newspaper claimed.

The iPod touch reportedly burst into flames after being dropped, explained Ken Stanborough, from Liverpool. His daughter first took the device back to Argos, and they were contacted later by Apple.

After finally speaking to an Apple executive, Mr. Stanborough was sent a letter from Apple denying liability but offering a refund for the £162 iPod.

Mr. Stanborough was unhappy with the tone of the letter particularly that he: "agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential" and that any breach of confidentiality "may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties".

"I thought it was a very disturbing letter," Mr Stanborough told the newspaper.

"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."

Apple denied it had attempted to gag the family, instead describing it as "standard practice to have a letter of settlement".

A spokesperson said no further comment would be made on the case because Mr Stanborough had refused to hand over the defunct iPod for their engineers to examine. Argos also refused to comment.