Burn After Calling

This Man Got Second-Degree Burns from an iPhone [PICS]

iphone burns This Man Got Second Degree Burns from an iPhone [PICS]

(Photo: Kevin, Betabeat reader)

Cautionary tale! When Betabeat asked for your extreme stories of iPhone loss, damage or erasure, we never expected to hear something like this. Kevin is an aspiring entrepreneur whose dream is to be on the cover of Inc.; he asked that we not use his last name.

Kevin has been burned by Apple once—literally—and he has the photographic evidence to prove it.

“I spilled water on my leg & my iPhone was in my pocket,” Kevin wrote in the contest-winning comment. “It short circuited and burnt my leg with second-degree burns…in the shape of the iPhone buttons on the side. True story.”

Yeah right, we said. Prove it.

Within the hour, Kevin had sent along three photos showing the damage: three red, button-shaped scabs on his leg. “I tried to raise the issue with Apple but nothing came of it (other than them replacing my iPhone with a brand new one),” he told Betabeat in an email.

Here’s what not to do: Kevin was visiting a friend in New York and crashed on the couch. He dozed off with a large travel mug filled with water, and woke up to “a strong stinging pain on my thigh.” He has scars now in the shape of iPhone buttons.

He tried to follow up with Apple after the incident, but the company was not receptive. After prolonged delays, he threatened to contact the media. “The case worker assured me that I would soon get some info from the engineers conducting the investigation,” he wrote in an email. “The word compensation even came up. More time passed and I sent a fourth stern letter letting them know I was planning to go to the media, they called me back the very next day.”

In the final verdict, Apple told him that first of all, he wasn’t supposed to get the phone wet, and second, the phone had been tampered with.

Kevin denies the latter, claiming the only time the phone was opened was when he took it to the Apple store after the soaking. “They basically told me that I tampered with the phone, and because of that I was burned when water reacted with the phone,” he said.

He asked Apple to send the phone back so he could conduct his own investigation, but the electronics giant declined because the phone is “Apple property,” Kevin told Betabeat. “I am still pursuing this through the ranks of corporate, but has been a very slow process and unfair if you ask me,” he said. “From the start I wanted to know how this could be prevented and what was the cause of this defect. I mentioned that I had nephews who play Angry Birds like a lot of other kids do, and reminded [the case worker] this would be a terrible thing to happen to a child. In the end he agreed that it would have all played out differently if it did in fact happen to a child.”

So, did this make you switch to Android?

“No,” he said. “I still love iPhones. I have tried a few different alternatives (Palm Pre, Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant, BlackBerry Bold) here and there but so far I’ve always picked the iPhone.”

Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice…

iphone burns 2 This Man Got Second Degree Burns from an iPhone [PICS]

(Photo: Kevin, Betabeat reader)

iphone burns 3 This Man Got Second Degree Burns from an iPhone [PICS]

(Photo: Kevin, Betabeat reader)

Hopefully the extra iPhone 4S we gave Kevin in exchange for having far-and-away the best phone tragedy will keep its charge to itself.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com