Update iTeam report: cellphone manufacturer to pay for fire damage
UPDATE: LG responds to our story about a customer whose cellphone caught fire and damaged her carpet.
"We are so sorry to hear Ms. Steele had a negative experience with her LG phone.
Safety is a top priority at LG and I’ve learned that we have thoroughly investigated this claim. Our testing and inspection of the device, battery, and charger came back as inconclusive, but we have replaced Ms. Steele's device at no cost as well as offered additional compensation for the damaged portion of her carpet."
Sharon Steele of Jefferson County showed us pictures of her burned, melted LG cellphone. A major malfunction on a phone she only had about a month.
"I heard sizzling, popping. I unplugged it and it go worse so I threw it on the floor. I didn't want it to blow up in my face," recalled Steele. She says it caught fire. Fearing it would burn the house down, she tried to kick it to the kitchen floor. "It burned all the way down to the wood on my floor," explained Steele. She says it smelled horrible and showed us pieces of the carpet.
Steele sent the LG cellphone back to the manufacturer as instructed. After several months and a lot of calls she finally got a new phone. "They treated me horrible and lied to me. I bet I called 100 times," recalls Steele of her dealings with customer service.
Steele wants her carpet replaced factoring in depreciation and sent estimates. But LG denied her claim offering just $180 to patch the carpet. "You can't patch the middle of the living room floor," complains Steele. We reached out to LG asking the company to re-examine the case. We have not received a formal response after calls and emails.
State Fire Marshall Scott Pilgreen says while these cases are rare, any device that contains lithium-ion batteries does carry a risk. A lot of energy is held in the small batteries.
Pilgreen reports last year a cellphone caught fire in a teenager's pocket and his office has worked a few e-cigarette charger fires. His advice: always shut off a device if it starts to get really warm. And as manufacturers warn, do not charge your phone around bedding. Put it on a nightstand instead.
"They can get up to 1,000 degrees or higher," warns Pilgreen. He says rapid chargers can also cause overheating. It's also very important to use chargers made specifically for your device not a so called after market charger you picked up at a convenience store.
If your cellphone catches fire, the Consumer Product Safety Commission wants to hear from you. The agency tracks safety issues.
Go to: saferproducts.gov