Family seeks additional $600,000 from Apple above insurance payment after blaming iPhone c...

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2018
A family in British Columbia has demanded Apple pay it $600,000 to help cover uninsured losses endured from a farmhouse fire in October 2016, one claimed to have been started by an overheating cable used to charge an iPhone 6.

Remains of iPhone charging cable, from the Township of Langley Fire Department Field Report
Remains of iPhone charging cable, from the Township of Langley Fire Department Field Report


Cathy and Ian Finley of Langley, B.C. were forced to close their farm business after the late-2016 house fire, which they blame on the cable and the three-month-old iPhone 6, which was left charging in their living room, reports CBC. Cathy Finley advises it was charging unattended, as she plugged it in before leaving the building to feed goats, later spotting the house on fire.

On arriving back to the house, the fire was too large to get neat to the structure, forcing Mrs. Finley to go to a neighbor for assistance.

There has yet to be an official determination for what caused the fire, but officials investigating the blaze found the iPhone charger and cable in the building's remains. A report from the investigators states "it would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite" a chair at the point of ignition.




The farm business previously provided sustainable farming tours and hosted kids camps, as well as providing food and other services to the local community. Following the fire, the family claim they were too overwhelmed to continue operating their vegetable delivery program, refunding customers who could not be provided the service, as well as cancelling plans for celebrity chef dinners and school tours.

The family started to build a new home on the site in August 2017, but despite working to dig trenches and divert power and water, Mrs. Finley worries there are not enough financial resources to complete the construction. "We might lose this house that we are building with our own hands," she suggests.

So far, the family has received an insurance payout of $600,000, but this reportedly did not cover all costs. It is claimed the uninsured losses, including loss of revenue from the farm and tour business, building costs, and mediation, total another $600,000, which the family wants Apple to pay.

Mrs. Finley started to ask Apple for help since February 2017, but says she has failed to get anywhere with the company after multiple conversations with Apple's case worker. The Finleys claim that an adversarial relationship has erupted between the insurers, The Co-operators, and Apple regarding the incident, with Apple refusing to engage further until it gets an opportunity to examine the iPhone and charging gear that is currently being held by a third-party forensics company.

After a year of communicating directly with Apple and not getting a result, the family has since turned to taking Apple to task in public to try and get a satisfactory result. The attention-getting methods include a Change.org petition that is said to have hit 1,700 signatures within a few days of launch, and at the time of publication has exceeded 2,300 signees, as well as some interest from Facebook users.

Apple has yet to publicly comment on the affair, but did confirm to the CBC that it was looking into the couple's situation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 631member
    Why is there no official determination of the cause of the fire?  Why is Apple not afforded an opportunity to examine the phone and charging gear?  Is that not reasonable before they would assume responsibility?

    Without a doubt, Apple should offer a free cable.  They should not have their customer continue to use bogus 3rd party cables.  If they don't let Apple see it, one might assume that's the case.
    racerhomie3jbdragondhawkins541muthuk_vanalingammagman1979StrangeDaysRobPalmer9jony0lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Until the cause of fire is determined then no-one, including Apple are liable for a single dollar. Aside from that, is it possible the family did not have adequate insurance cover seeing as they also ran the home as a business and the pay-out seemingly only met HALF of what it's costing to put right.

    edit* this article states the cause of fire is as yet undetermined, yet the family claim to have a fire report explicitly blaming the iphone left on charge? hmmm 
    edited March 2018
  • Reply 3 of 39
    "The Co-operators, and Apple regarding the incident, with Apple refusing to engage further until it gets an opportunity to examine the iPhone and charging gear that is currently being held by a third-party forensics company."

    OMG, how incredibly unreasonable!  Apple should just write them a check.  Who are they to ask to see the evidence that they are at fault?  /s
    racerhomie3jbdragondhawkins541muthuk_vanalingammagman1979mac_dogStrangeDaysjony0lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 39
    aimbddaimbdd Posts: 45member
    I’m glad to see sane people posting today. Apple is not “yet” to blaim or the bad guy here. I wouldn’t pay a single cent either, without seeing the item, or even an official cause of the fire. 
    jbdragonRobPalmer9lolliver
  • Reply 5 of 39
    Is it physically possible for the charger to cause a huge blaze and look like it's not singed or melted?  

    Edit: ah, I suppose the theory is that the charger sent too much power to the phone and the phone overheated not that the charger itself overheated.  That seems plausible.
    edited March 2018
  • Reply 6 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,757member
    adm1 said:
    Until the cause of fire is determined then no-one, including Apple are liable for a single dollar. Aside from that, is it possible the family did not have adequate insurance cover seeing as they also ran the home as a business and the pay-out seemingly only met HALF of what it's costing to put right.

    edit* this article states the cause of fire is as yet undetermined, yet the family claim to have a fire report explicitly blaming the iphone left on charge? hmmm 
    I kinda have to agree...its not really Apple's fault they didn't have adequate insurance coverage for what they have. Obviously it sucks they lost everything and I don't want to see that happen to anyone, but just because they didn't get back enough to cover everything, doesn't necessarily mean Apple all of a sudden owes them $600,000 especially when there's no official word on how the fire started, and they won't let Apple investigate the device. Just because it was sitting there after the fire was put out doesn't mean that is what started the fire. Sure, its a possibility and maybe it did. Does that mean Apple still owes them $600,000? Hmmm...
  • Reply 7 of 39

    After a year of communicating directly with Apple and not getting a result, the family has since turned to taking Apple to task in public to try and get a satisfactory result. The attention-getting methods include a Change.org petition that is said to have hit 1,700 signatures within a few days of launch, and at the time of publication has exceeded 2,300 signees, as well as some interest from Facebook users.

    Apple has yet to publicly comment on the affair, but did confirm to the CBC that it was looking into the couple's situation.
    Change,org.  "Empowering people feel like they are making a difference while sitting on their asses."
    racerhomie3jbdragonmacseekerStrangeDaysRobPalmer9arthurbadanh
  • Reply 8 of 39
    ivanhivanh Posts: 286member
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    minisu1980minisu1980 Posts: 125member
    Insuring against ongoing business losses from a fire is a fairly typical rider included in a standard business policy. Many insurers won’t even allow this to be removed from the package or so I have been told. Bottom line to me is they either went extremely cheap on their policy with some third rate insurer or they were running a business without paying the necessary costs to run a business properly. Sucks, but it’s not Apples fault they didn’t adequately insure themselves against loss. I feel for them, but that’s why other policy holders pay premiums that odds are they will never receive a benefit from. Perhaps they should start a go fund me page instead.
    StrangeDayslolliver
  • Reply 10 of 39
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    Is it physically possible for the charger to cause a huge blaze and look like it's not singed or melted?  

    Edit: ah, I suppose the theory is that the charger sent too much power to the phone and the phone overheated not that the charger itself overheated.  That seems plausible.
    I don't think, that is how iDevice charging works. If I am not mistaken, the device controls the electrical current, not the power brick. Even if it was a counterfeit cable, 1-2Amps should not have cause any fire, unless that cable was damaged and a partial short circuit had developed.
    RobPalmer9
  • Reply 11 of 39
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    Dude.Their cables are fine. Its people that bend that thing out of shape. I have been using them for years. You have to take care of your cables. Or get a 3rd party one that is super thick.
    JFC_PAStrangeDaysRobPalmer9jony0lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 39
    I live nearby and have seen this in the local news. A few things:

    Note: I've worked with Transport Canada in the past doing vehicle fire investigations, so have some experience in this and also in the language fire department officials use and what it means.

    The iPhone is in the possession of an "independent forensics company" and Apple has indeed not had a chance to examine it yet. If they refuse to hand over the iPhone it's probably because they know it wasn't the cause. If they had determined the iPhone was in fact faulty, then I'm quite sure they would have released that information. For now the cause is "undetermined". I wonder if this company even has the engineering expertise to examine something as complex as an iPhone and even come up with a cause.

    When we finished an investigation (which would be very well documented since we know we might not get another chance to examine the vehicle) we never prevented others from looking at it. In fact, at times there might be more than one investigation. I've been at an insurance facility looking at a vehicle when another investigator from a different firm showed up to also do their own investigation. We weren't allowed to talk to each other to avoid influence, but at no time did I ever come across a situation where access would be denied.

    This forensics company could allow Apple to send an engineer to examine it in their presence if they wanted. This is also a common practice I've witnessed before when dealing with independent insurance companies. Bottom line: There's absolutely no excuse to prevent Apple from also having a look at this device.

    There was also a notebook involved, "it would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite the leather chair and notebook and start the fire." This comment was followed up by "The cellphone was on a combustible surface while charging. It was in the area of origin but was not ruled out or determined to be the igniting object or direct cause of the fire,". They like to focus on the first part of the comment while ignoring the clarification made later. I can't find further details on exactly how the notebook was involved, but it's an interesting fact many people are leaving out. Were the iPhone and notebook stacked on top of each other?

    Product liability is typically only limited to the value of the product itself. Exceptions to this would include product defects. In the automotive trade a vehicle fire would be paid out by the insurance company. They may (depending on circumstances) ask for a detailed analysis of the fire and if there's a defect (perhaps a precursor to a full recall), then the insurance company may go after the manufacturer for their costs. The majority of the time insurance just pays out the claim for the fire and leaves it at that. That said, if the iPhone did in fact cause the fire, Apple would not be responsible unless it can be proven that there's a known defect with the iPhone that makes them more dangerous than similar products. This will be practically impossible to prove given the very low incidents of fires and the hundreds of millions of iPhones out there.


    This will go nowhere for this family. While I feel bad for what happened, they should have had additional insurance coverage to cover their business. Now they're just lashing out trying to shame Apple into helping them out.
    edited March 2018 tokyojimuwilliamhanton zuykovMplsPStrangeDaysGG1jony0lolliverarthurbadanh
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    I live nearby and have seen this in the local news. A few things:

    Note: I've worked with Transport Canada in the past doing vehicle fire investigations, so have some experience in this and also in the language fire department officials use and what it means.

    The iPhone is in the possession of an "independent forensics company" and Apple has indeed not had a chance to examine it yet. If they refuse to hand over the iPhone it's probably because they know it wasn't the cause. If they had determined the iPhone was in fact faulty, then I'm quite sure they would have released that information. For now the cause is "undetermined". I wonder if this company even has the engineering expertise to examine something as complex as an iPhone and even come up with a cause.

    When we finished an investigation (which would be very well documented since we know we might not get another chance to examine the vehicle) we never prevented others from looking at it. In fact, at times there might be more than one investigation. I've been at an insurance facility looking at a vehicle when another investigator from a different firm showed up to also do their own investigation. We weren't allowed to talk to each other to avoid influence, but at no time did I ever come across a situation where access would be denied.

    This forensics company could allow Apple to send an engineer to examine it in their presence if they wanted. This is also a common practice I've witnessed before when dealing with independent insurance companies. Bottom line: There's absolutely no excuse to prevent Apple from also having a look at this device.

    There was also a notebook involved, "it would appear that the phone or charger generated enough heat to ignite the leather chair and notebook and start the fire." This comment was followed up by "The cellphone was on a combustible surface while charging. It was in the area of origin but was not ruled out or determined to be the igniting object or direct cause of the fire,". They like to focus on the first part of the comment while ignoring the clarification made later. I can't find further details on exactly how the notebook was involved, but it's an interesting fact many people are leaving out. Were the iPhone and notebook stacked on top of each other?

    Product liability is typically only limited to the value of the product itself. Exceptions to this would include product defects. In the automotive trade a vehicle fire would be paid out by the insurance company. They may (depending on circumstances) ask for a detailed analysis of the fire and if there's a defect (perhaps a precursor to a full recall), then the insurance company may go after the manufacturer for their costs. The majority of the time insurance just pays out the claim for the fire and leaves it at that. That said, if the iPhone did in fact cause the fire, Apple would not be responsible unless it can be proven that there's a known defect with the iPhone that makes them more dangerous than similar products. This will be practically impossible to prove given the very low incidents of fires and the hundreds of millions of iPhones out there.


    This will go nowhere for this family. While I feel bad for what happened, they should have had additional insurance coverage to cover their business. Now they're just lashing out trying to shame Apple into helping them out.
    Yes, I have home insurance, and separate business insurance to cover the stuff in the attached office. Insurance is a rip-off, yes, but you have to make sure you're adequately covered.

    edited March 2018 JFC_PAjony0
  • Reply 14 of 39
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    Have you offered your services as a Materials Expert to this family?
    If you have information that can help them then why are you posting here instead of giving a deposition?

    StrangeDaysjony0arthurbaRayz2016
  • Reply 15 of 39
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,988member
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    Dude.Their cables are fine. Its people that bend that thing out of shape. I have been using them for years. You have to take care of your cables. Or get a 3rd party one that is super thick.
    Ya, all my Apple cables since the iPhone 4 have been 100% perfect and are still that way to this day.  Some people just abuse the crap out of their stuff.

    jony0
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,184administrator
    jbdragon said:
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    Dude.Their cables are fine. Its people that bend that thing out of shape. I have been using them for years. You have to take care of your cables. Or get a 3rd party one that is super thick.
    Ya, all my Apple cables since the iPhone 4 have been 100% perfect and are still that way to this day.  Some people just abuse the crap out of their stuff.

    The only Apple cables in this house that have been killed have been by young children. The rest are fine.
    StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 17 of 39
    lmaclmac Posts: 173member
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    Russian troll?
    StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 18 of 39
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,445member
    There something which does not add up here, they claim it started a leather couch on fire. Does everyone know that welders wear leather to protect from flaming hot metal from burning through their cloths. Leather is used all the time as some sort of insulator against heat and flames. Also the charger shows not damage only the phone and cord.

    It also sounds like the family failed to have proper insurance to cover the property and did not have insure for lose of incoming due to the business these are all common insurance to have.

    Going after Apple on this is going to be tough since it is no difference in a wires and plugs in your wall, they fail all of the time, and you can not sue them unless you can prove the manufacturer had design defect, not a break down on the material from normal usage.
    lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 39
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,971member
    Yeah, the cable is barely melt while the charger remained undamaged without a scratch. Suspicious? LOL, the fire is too large because it's caused by something else. Any fire investigator thinks this's due to the charger, that person must be on drug.
    edited March 2018 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 39
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,971member
    ivanh said:
    Design defect, wrong material used. I warned Apple for years. I replaced a few. No other USB cables in my drawer has such problem in 10 years, except Apple’s.  Apple has years of opportunity to improve it, if they wish. No action still.
    are you fucking serious? Look at that cable and tell me it caused the fire. The damn thing has a few tiny wires to handle 5v/1A, so any short wouldn't cause any fire. stop trolling.
    magman1979jony0
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