EE power bars recalled - check yours
EE ARE recalling a batch of their popular Power Bars following more reports of incidents in which the rechargers have overheated.
Last month a medical student was left with severe burns on her hand after her recharging power bar caught fire; since then EE say they've become aware of five incidents.
The affected chargers have all come from batch E1-06. Anyone with a Power Bar from this batch should stop using it immediately and return it to an EE store as soon as possible.
The company are also suspending the swapping scheme, whereby people with an empty power bar can replace it with a full one on the go, until the recall is complete.
What's the issue?
EE began giving out the power bars in April. It's reckoned there are some 1.5 million in circulation. Of those, EE say about 500,000 are affected.
Yesterday they texted everyone who has registered to receive one of the power bars, asking them to check the model number, as shown below.
If the batch number is different, or the charger doesn't have a number at all, there shouldn't be any issue and the recharger is safe to use.
EE have said that Power Bars from the E1-06 batch however, "could pose a fire safety risk", and should not be used.
On the EE customer forums, there was this extra information on what they believe may be the issue:
Pippa_D, EE Employee
The detail here is that all lithium ion charging devices have an inbuilt safety feature and we are investigating whether a failure in this feature could be at fault.
Users have been told to return them to their nearest EE store, where they'll receive a £20 voucher to spend on accessories as compensation.
EE say they can't replace the chargers straight away, but they will do so once the investigation into the issue has been concluded.
They've also taken the opportunity to draw attention [pdf] to their general advice on using and storing the chargers.
Who gets a voucher or refund?
The bars have proven incredibly popular; EE have released seven batches which have all been snapped up, and more than two million people had texted to request to join the scheme by mid July.
The fact that they're pretty much free may have had something to do with it: EE customers could get one for 35p, the cost of the text to request the code they had to show in store to get the power bar.
But non-EE customers could also get their hands on one, at a cost of £20.
If they still have proof of purchase, such as a receipt or bank statement, non-EE users will get their £20 refunded. Those without the proof of purchase will get a £20 voucher.
If they want to get a new power bar when the scheme restarts, they'll have to pay another £20.
Meanwhile, the runaway demand for the chargers meant that EE suspended the scheme to new customers last month. Anyone who tried to join up after 9am on July 17th received a message saying sign-ups were being suspended until August.
People who had received the text containing the all important redemption code before then had 30 days to go and collect their charger; those who didn't get around to picking one up before yesterday's suspension will be refunded the 35p cost of their text.
How am I meant to charge my phone?
The £20 voucher for affected customers is a nice touch. It is, however, only redeemable online, and it'll take 24 hours to be activated.
There's no minimum spend, but it can only be used for one transaction - anyone spending less than the full £20 in one go will lose any remaining value.
In the meantime users who relied on being able to swap their exhausted power bar for a fresh one when they passed an EE store may be wondering what to do.
They could do worse than to look at our guide to the best battery packs available.
Some of these cost less than the £20 EE are charging non-customers, and can recharge a phone more than once before needing to be plugged back in themselves.