A Bedford man was left with severe burns to both hands when his Sony Xperia Z2 mobile phone exploded while he used it to send a text message.
Tom Collins (33), a credit controller from Willington, burned all of his fingers on both hands when the phone burst into flames in his bedroom.
First of all, soot burst out of the back of the phone and then, when he turned it over to inspect it, the Sony Xperia Z2 combusted.
Tom said: “For about five seconds, there was a bright, hot Bunsen burner-like flame coming out of the back of my phone – it looked like a rocket. By this point the flames still hadn’t touched my hand, but then the phone burst into a fireball as I was holding it. I dropped it to the floor straight away and luckily I had a bottle of water next to my bed, so I threw the water over the phone to put the flames out.
“My father called 999 and paramedics stayed with me for an hour at home using water gel on my burns. I was then taken to hospital where it took several hours to treat and dress each finger separately – I was in such agony, I went through a whole gas canister of pain relief. The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe what they were seeing and took pictures of my hands and phone for their records.”
Tom was sent home that evening and then the shock set in. He contacted Sony through its website but only received a generic response, the company didn’t offer to inspect the phone or replace it, so Tom contacted Manchester-based personal injury law firm, Express Solicitors.
He continues: “Only when I contacted a solicitor did Sony take notice and then they kept calling and emailing me – trying to get me to send my phone back. The irony is that they kept leaving voicemail messages on my mobile which, of course, I couldn’t use!
“Sony has accused me of setting fire to my phone and has had the cheek to tell me the engineer’s report said the water line mark had been activated – obviously it had because I poured water all over it to stop my house from setting on fire. Unbelievably, I only bought the phone in the first place because it was advertised as the first smart phone in the world to be waterproof.”
Tom’s injuries have healed slowly, but he has lost the sensation in his right index finger and thumb, making it difficult to use a keyboard at work and home. His biggest injury, however, is psychological, and he is now very wary phones charging or being held to the face.
Incredibly, Tom tried another battery in his phone and while it continues to overheat, it still works. It’s for this reason that Sony doesn’t want to replace the phone and are denying liability.
Jonathan Flattery, associate at Express Solicitors, is bringing a case against Sony on behalf of Tom. He said: “Either Tom’s phone is faulty or the whole range is because under normal usage, this shouldn’t have set on fire. We are bringing a claim against Sony for pain and injury, the time Tom had to take off work and the damage to his phone. It is a reputable company and more tests should have been done on this phone and in it should have included a warning that this could potentially have happened – Tom was only texting at the time so it shouldn’t have overheated. Sony has even complained that the phone is water damaged, which completely misses the point that Tom had to throw water on it to put the flames out.”