Apple tried to silence a father and daughter with a gagging order after the girl's iPod exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.
The company would offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form, the Times of London has learned. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.
The case echoes previous cases in which Apple tried to silence instances involving overheated devices.
Ken Stanborough of Liverpool, England, said he dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod Touch last month.
“It made a hissing noise,” he said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapor." Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door. "Within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10 feet in the air," he said.
Stanborough contacted Apple and Argos, where he had bought the iPod for $273.
Stanborough said he spoke to an Apple executive on the telephone, and was later sent a letter denying liability but offering a refund.
The letter also stated that — in accepting the money — Stanborough must “agree that you will keep the terms and existence of this settlement agreement completely confidential." Any breach of confidentiality “may result in Apple seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs against the defaulting persons or parties," the letter said.
“I thought it was a very disturbing letter,” said Stanborough, who is self-employed and works in electronic security. He refused to sign it.
An Apple spokesman said that, as the company had not looked at the Stanboroughs’ damaged iPod, it could not comment. Argos also refused to comment.