Some Apple laptop users complain of cords melting - WSMV News 4

Some Apple laptop users complain of cords melting

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Martin Rodriguez said his Apple laptop cord melted. (WSMV) Martin Rodriguez said his Apple laptop cord melted. (WSMV)

Martin Rodriguez was working on his 2010 Apple PowerBook last December when he smelled smoke.

When he looked closer, he saw the cord had melted.

"When I touched it, it was so hot it burned my hand, and it was actually singing the bedspread it was sitting on top of,” Rodriguez said.

And a Channel 4 I-team investigation found the California resident isn’t alone.

In YouTube videos, one posted in 2013 and another in 2014, people experienced similar problems.

In 2013, a woman filed a complaint with the CPSC noting that her power cord melted on her Mac Book Pro, writing, “I believe this is a serious problem. If I had been sleeping at night, both my five year old son and I might have perished in a fire.

In Apple’s own online forums, you can find similar complaints.

And when you look at pictures from the YouTube videos, the CPSC complaint, the Apple forums and Rodriguez’s cord, all melted in the same location.

"I don't think anybody who buys a computer will expect their power cord will become a dangerous device," Rodriguez said.

The I-Team brought our findings to computer expert George Ziady.

"Do you believe that this design is flawed?" asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.

"I do believe this design could be better,” Ziady said.

The history of these kinds of complaints date back to 2009, when a class action lawsuit was filed out of California claiming that the MagSafe power adapter “poses a present and latent danger to its users … and Apple is aware of this dangerous defect but failed to disclose it.”

"We did allege these adapters frayed, prematurely failed, melted,” said Helen Zeldes, an attorney who sued Apple.

Apple denied the claims in court and ultimately settled, and part of that agreement was to provide more than 92,000 replacement adapters to affected customers.

The window to get a new adapter closed in 2014.

Customers like Rodriguez had never heard of the settlement, and the YouTube videos and complaints to the CPSC and on the Apple forums have been posted since 2013, claiming they weren’t sure what caused the problem or what to do about it.

Rodriguez took his cord into his local Apple store late last year.

"They said there was nothing they could do, ‘cause I was out of warranty. That I didn't have AppleCare warranty at the time, and just kind of dismissed it,” Rodriguez said.

One of the attorneys who sued Apple said laptop users are still reaching out to her.

"Are you getting calls from consumers with relatively new Apples that are experiencing this same problem?" Finley said.

"A similar problem, yes. We've recently had consumers contact us about problems that we've seen in years past,” Zeldes said. "I am having my experts look at the new adapters."

We shared all of our findings with a spokesman for Apple, who despite repeated requests for an interview had no comment.

As for what is causing the melting, Ziady not only think he knows, but Apple’s own website addresses his concern.

Many of the newer MagSafe adapters have arms that come out so the cord can be easily wrapped.

But Ziady said if the connector is bent repeatedly, the cord is so thin that the wires can break within.

"(If) You have a short, you have a current going through it, and if it's close to something that can get hot, it will start a fire,” Ziady said.

While Apple’s website makes no mention of the strain causing the cord to melt, it also shows that excessive bending at the connection may ruin the cable over time.

Ziady advises not to use the arms, but instead wrap the cord around your fingers while keeping the connector straight.

Rodriguez said despite his own concerns about the connector and therefore never using the arms, the melting occurred anyway.

"I've intentionally not used that, to make sure that my power cord is already straight and not bent,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said regardless of what’s causing it – it simply shouldn’t happen.

"I don't think a power cord should melt,” Rodriguez said.

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