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  1. #1
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    Default Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California

    An electronic device I owned malfunctioned (the internal battery suddenly expanded, combusted and caught fire) and caused at least $1000 in property damage to my home, (carpet/furniture). I contacted the manufacturer and reported the issue and was told to go into one of their corporate locations in order to achieve the following;

    A. Provide me with a new device as a replacement for the defective unit. (They offered me the latest version of the device, which I accepted in exchange for the defective one)

    B. So the company could have their "engineers" examine the device and determine what caused the malfunction.

    A month has passed since I submitted the device and I still haven't received any response or follow up from the company. Today, I finally got a hold of the tech support agent who set up my case and instructed me to swap the device out in one of their retail locations. He informed me that the "engineers" have not received the device from the store where I returned it and they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to locate the device! He also informed me that his superiors had determined that give the fact that they could not find the device, they would be unable to provide me with compensation for my damaged property. Our conversation ended with the agent suggesting that I go back to the store which exchanged it and ask if they (the store) would be able to help me with my unresolved issues.

    I would like to note that before I took the device into the store, I was asked to take and submit several photos of the device and the damages caused by it. I also have the e-mails and a receipt/service confirmation for the device exchange.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. Is the non-sense I am going through fairly uncommon or do companies typically pull this crap on a fairly regular basis?

    2 Has anyone had or know anyone who has had any similar experiences? If so, did they take legal action?

    3. What, if any legal remedies are available/would you suggest I pursue?

    4. At this point, would it be in my interests to hire an attorney?

    5. Should I file a claim in Small Claims Court?


    Thanks so very much in advance for any USEFUL wisdom,counsel,guidance et. al. provided!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Is it normal for a manufacturer to decline to send somebody a new product and a check for $1,000 without first determining if their product was defective or could have caused damage to other property? Yes.

    What experience is it that you want to sue over, at this point? Your store's delay in returning the product to the manufacturer, and possible loss of the item? Is the store an independent retailer, or is it owned by the manufacturer?

    Have you identified any other cases where a user of this product had a similar problem? What evidence do you have in your possession that would suggest that the product caused the fire? Was the fire department involved?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
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    1. Is the non-sense I am going through fairly uncommon or do companies typically pull this crap on a fairly regular basis?
    Can't imagine what difference that would make to what you do next.


    Quote Quoting nyameko1
    View Post

    2 Has anyone had or know anyone who has had any similar experiences? If so, did they take legal action?
    Can't imagine what difference that would make to what you do next.

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
    View Post

    3. What, if any legal remedies are available/would you suggest I pursue?
    Lawsuit.

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
    View Post

    4. At this point, would it be in my interests to hire an attorney?
    For $1000 worth of damage. You'd spend many thousands on an attorney and not get that money back.

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
    View Post

    5. Should I file a claim in Small Claims Court?
    That's gotta be your decision.

    But it does appear to be your only option.

    Unless, of course, you just want to turn the damage claim over to your homeowners or renters insurance company.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting [HTML
    Mr. Knowitall;741188]Is it normal for a manufacturer to decline to send somebody a new product and a check for $1,000 without first determining if their product was defective or could have caused damage to other property? [/HTML]Yes.
    As I mentioned in my initial post, 'I was asked to take and submit several photos of the device and the damages caused by it' , this is what lead to the company giving me a new item for the defective one. The problem I am facing at present, is that the device I submitted for the exchange has apparently vanished and can not be located, prohibiting any claim to be filed for my damaged property. eason I am unable to file a claim.

    What experience is it that you want to sue over, at this point?
    My property has 'experienced' damage! Damage which was caused when a defective device malfunctioned.

    Your store's delay in returning the product to the manufacturer, and possible loss of the item?
    I submitted the device at THEIR store, not 'my store'. I was instructed to one of the company's corporate retail locations.
    (Is the store an independent retailer, or is it owned by the manufacturer?
    Manufacturer owned.

    Have you identified any other cases where a user of this product had a similar problem?
    Yes I have.

    What evidence do you have in your possession that would suggest that the product caused the fire?
    I have my damaged property, photos of the defective device, e-mail correspondence with the company and recordings of the conversations between the company and I. (All but one person consented to being recorded). I also have the receipt from the in-store device exchange.

    Was the fire department involved?
    No, I handled the situation myself. The device was sitting on my table when I heard a hissing/sizzling sound, I picked up the device and it was getting really hot and I put it on a chair as it began to smoke and catch fire. I ran opened my patio door and took the chair outside, where the fire gradually died down and I poured water over it and the chair it was sitting on. I contacted the manufacturer immediately and reported the incident. Over the next few days I was asked to submit numerous photos to the company and answered several questions about the incident like "was the device plugged in at the time it combusted?" I was finally instructed to take my device to one of their stores and was given a replacement device.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Can't imagine what difference that would make to what you do next.




    Can't imagine what difference that would make to what you do next.



    Lawsuit.



    For $1000 worth of damage. You'd spend many thousands on an attorney and not get that money back.



    That's gotta be your decision.


    But it does appear to be your only option.

    Unless, of course, you just want to turn the damage claim over to your homeowners or renters insurance company.


    Thank you for taking the time to provide the feedback.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    You have the choice of sharing the relevant facts with us, or of dancing around the facts - but in the latter case you limit what we can do for you beyond suggesting that you consult a lawyer with the relevant facts. I'm also not interested in trying to help you if you are going to be rude - you chose the word "experience" for this type of event, and you chose not to describe a basis for your damages.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall;742548[QUOTE
    ]You have the choice of sharing the relevant facts with us, or of dancing around the facts
    -

    Petty jabs (no matter how baseless) are simply unneccessary my friend. May I suggest that if you find yourself feeling confounded or requiring further information, or simply don't get something, you need only ask for whatever you may need to understand. Give it as shot, as I think most reasonable folks, including myself would be more than happy to help connect the dots!

    I'm also not interested in trying to help you if you are going to be rude -
    How so? As I certainly did not intend to be. I sincerely apologize if I hurt your feelings or offended you in any way.

    and you chose not to describe a basis for your damages.
    [/QUOTE]

    1. AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE I OWNED COMBUSTED/MALFUNCTIONED/CAUGHT ON FIRE
    2. MY PROPERTY/BELONGINGS WERE DAMAGED BY SAID MALFUNCTION
    3. THE DEVICE MANUFACTURER IS UNWILLING TO OFFER COMPENSATION FOR SAID DAMAGED PROPERTY.

    NOTE if anyone who happens to read this has anything USEFUL/PERTINENT advice insight to the issue, please do share.

    Cheers!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
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    Our conversation ended with the agent suggesting that I go back to the store which exchanged it and ask if they (the store) would be able to help me with my unresolved issues.
    !
    so, when you went back to the store you dropped it off at they said.....?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    But even if your chair did cost $1000, in a property damage claim you would only be entitled to its Actual Cash Value which is the current Replacement Cost for a chair of like kind and quality less depreciation based on how long you've had the chair since it was new vs its normal life expectancy depending on the type of chair and quality. Or the cost of repairing the chair if it was possible to repair it, whichever is less.
    .
    I'm thinking OP is SOL on the chair. HE put it on the chair. Why?


    No, I handled the situation myself. The device was sitting on my table when I heard a hissing/sizzling sound, I picked up the device and it was getting really hot and I put it on a chair as it began to smoke and catch fire.

    who in their right mind would take a sizzling device, remove it from a table that is certainly less flammable than a chair, and then upon realizing picking it up was really dumb, proceed to, not put it back on that table that was actually designed to have hot plates and such on it but on a chair that was designed to not have anything of greater temperature than the really good looking neighbor chicks butt (get it, a hot ass) on it?

    Sounds like the OP caused his own collateral damages when he had a reasonable alternate right in front of his face.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
    View Post
    1. AN ELECTRONIC DEVICE I OWNED COMBUSTED/MALFUNCTIONED/CAUGHT ON FIRE
    2. MY PROPERTY/BELONGINGS WERE DAMAGED BY SAID MALFUNCTION
    3. THE DEVICE MANUFACTURER IS UNWILLING TO OFFER COMPENSATION FOR SAID DAMAGED PROPERTY.

    NOTE if anyone who happens to read this has anything USEFUL/PERTINENT advice insight to the issue, please do share.

    Cheers!
    You think that provides enough to even guess as to an outcome?


    1. and? alone that is nothing. I had a car once that caught on fire. Should I have sued the manufacturer? Of course once it was discovered I had a leaking gas tank and a neighbor that smoked and used matches to light his cigarettes it kind of made the issue more of a my fault thing than the manufacturers fault but hey, leave out all the details and it looks like the manufacturer owes me a new car.



    2. actually, the damaged items were damaged because somebody put a device that was already sizzling and hot on them.


    3 and? You want them to just send a check because you said they should, right? They usually like to have some belief they are culpable and resultingly liable when they start sending checks for claims.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting nyameko1
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    Thank you for taking the time to provide the feedback.
    Seems to me (from your explanation) that you had some damage to a chair. How that gets to $1000 is beyond me.

    But even if your chair did cost $1000, in a property damage claim you would only be entitled to its Actual Cash Value which is the current Replacement Cost for a chair of like kind and quality less depreciation based on how long you've had the chair since it was new vs its normal life expectancy depending on the type of chair and quality. Or the cost of repairing the chair if it was possible to repair it, whichever is less.

    If you took the manufacturer to small claims court it could take you many months with no guarantee of winning.

    If you have Homeowners or Renters insurance you'll get paid right away, less your deductible until and if your company gets reimbursed by the manufacture.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    My guess is it was a counterfeit or unauthorized battery. New batteries cost 50 bucks, used batteries cost 5-15 bucks, when someone is selling new batteries for the same price as used batteries, there is a reason they are cheaper.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Compensation for Property Damaged by a Product Malfunction

    Quote Quoting Lehk
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    My guess is it was a counterfeit or unauthorized battery. New batteries cost 50 bucks, used batteries cost 5-15 bucks, when someone is selling new batteries for the same price as used batteries, there is a reason they are cheaper.
    It was an iPhone 5. Which has (for those who don't know) an internal battery that is not (well, not intended anyways) to be removed. This precludes any notion of an '"unauthorized battery" as the cause of malfunction. Even if a third party battery had been installed or the device been altered or used in anyway or for anything other than its intended purposes, its warranty would automatically become void.

    The fact that I DID RECEIVE a $900 product replacement indicates (at least to me) that, upon inspection, the manufacturer determined that:

    A. The device was in fact, in at least some way defective.

    B. Said defect caused the device to malfunction.

    C. Concluded that I was entitled to a replacement re. warranty "against defects arising from any material flaws and or workmanship".

    I seriously doubt that a company which charges $200 (the amount I paid) to repair a cracked screen on a 3 month old $500 iPad, is going to provide a swap out for a $900+ device that they believe has been damaged/tampered with/misused/abused in anyway whatsoever by a customer for just shits and gigs e.g. for free!

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