You probably do not give your mobile charger a lot of thought. It is simply the tool you use to plug in your smartphone each evening, giving you the battery power to stay in contact with your friends and family throughout the day. It is a tool with a simple function, that doesn’t require any configuration or daily maintenance. You can just connect it to your phone and forget about it.
That is probably what 26-year-old medical student Katy Emslie of Aberdeen thought when she connected her phone to EE’s Power Bar for the night. Unfortunately, the Power Bar charger overheated as she slept and exploded, setting fire to the carpet under her bed and inflicting burns to her hands as she attempted to put out the flames. She took to Twitter with her situation, bringing a potentially hazardous fault of the Power Bar to light.
EE’s Power Bar Recall
The Power Bar is a one-time-use mobile charger that allows you to see how much charge is left on your phone and power up a smartphone from empty to full charge. EE began giving out these chargers to their customers in April 2015 as a bonus. Customers could bring in their empty Power Bars to any EE shop and replace them for free. However, the service was wildly popular, and EE has had difficulty in keeping up with the demand.
EE issued a recall of the 500,000 potentially defective Power Bar chargers on 5 August 2015. They sent a text message to their customers, notifying them of the recall. The recall affects all Power Bars from a single batch, marked as Model:E1-06 on the devices for easy identification. EE recommends that all customers stop using those chargers and return them to the nearest EE retail shop for a replacement model.
The mobile provider is also offering £20 vouchers that affected customers can use towards smartphone accessories that they sell in-store. This offer is supposed to appease worried customers, who now have to deal with the hassles of a recall on top of the shortage of Power Bars in recent months. While mobile users may be uncertain about the quality of EE’s product line at the moment, over time the chance to try out accessories with the voucher will allow them to grow more comfortable with the EE brand.
How to Return Your Charger
If your Power Bar is from the E1-06 batch, unplug it from your mobile devices immediately. Take it to your nearest EE retail outlet, where you will be placed on a list to receive a new charger once the new ones are in stock. EE is double-checking its supply chain to ensure that this problem does not happen again, so it may take some time to get your replacement.
If you have a Power Bar from a different batch, you do not need to seek a replacement. None of the other chargers are affected by the recall. It should operate normally, though you may want to be cautious and check it occasionally to see if it is excessively hot. While that is unlikely to happen, you should contact EE right away if you have a concern.
Mobile Phone Safety
Mobile users do not usually worry about their devices overheating or exploding as they go about their daily lives. However, smartphones are electronic devices just like any other, and are susceptible to electrical shorts, components overheating, and batteries leaking. Since smartphones are essentially handheld computing devices, they should be treated with great care.
Do not leave them charging overnight or unattended. When your mobile is at full charge, unplug it from the charger, so there is less risk of overheating. Pay attention to any unusual behaviour, and take it to a repair shop to be serviced if something does not seem right.
The explosion of EE’s Power Bar is an unfortunate event that perhaps could have been prevented by better quality checks through the supply chain. However, EE is doing their best to make it right through the recall and gift vouchers. If EE can restore customer confidence in their mobile products, they may be able to bounce back from this undesirable incident.