EE: Customer safety is our “top priority”

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Operator recalls half a million Power Bars after explosion injures student

EE says safety for its customers was the primary reasons for the rapid recall of up to 500,000 Power Bar chargers earlier this month.

The UK’s biggest mobile operator has given away close to two million of the emergency chargers to its customers since the promotion began on April 16.

However, the Bars hit the national headlines on July 27, after student nurse Katy Emslie posted a picture of  a badly blistered hand, which she claimed was due to her charger catching fire. In total there have been five reported incidents of Power Bars overheating – all of which came from the sixth (of six) product batches, marked E1-06.

EE issued a recall of the E1-06 batch (500,000) at midday August 5, a story broken globally by Mobile News, having informed retail staff at 11am and sending out texts to all 31 million customers.

An EE spokesperson said it’s not prepared to take any risks when it comes to customer safety – recalling the products before investigations into the cause had begun.

“One customer injured is one too many,” said the EE spokesperson. “Our focus at the moment is to get our customers to bring them back. Customer safety is the total priority here and we want to make sure every customer with a batch six product, however inconvenient it is for them, to return it. To be 100 per cent safe, we want them all back, we are not prepared to take any risks when it comes to our customers and their safety.

EE is offering customers with an E1-06 charger a £20 voucher to spend on accessories in its stores and encouraging customers to return them. Customers will receive another Power Bar at a later date until the investigation process has been completed.

That investigation began almost immediately with E1-06 chargers yet to be issued or returned to stores as part of the operator swap scheme being sent to a stress testing lab in Sweden managed by battery specialists Intertek.

Accessories distributor Kondor, who supplied EE with the Power Bars is working closely with the operator as part of its investigations.

EE said each bar would be rigorously “stress tested” – repeatedly charged and emptied – to determine what, if any, faults can be found and why five of the two million experienced overheating issues. There have been no reported incidents involving units from the first five batches.

Testing of each battery is expected to take up to 10 days. EE has not set a time scale for when its investigation is likely to conclude.

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