Xiaomi ‘covering up’ smartphone fire
Tech giant Xiaomi Corp has allegedly been trying to cover up an incident in which one its Redmi Note 3 phones caught fire while charging, which may damage the Beijing-based company’s smartphone business.
A Chinese owner of a Redmi Note 3 recently claimed that her device, which she purchased in March, caught fire while it was charging. The user then reported the inci- dent to Xiaomi, which promised to offer a refund and an additional 600 yuan ($86) in compensation, the Beijing Morning Post reported.
However, according to the report, Xiaomi required the user to sign a confidentiality agreement to get the payment. The agreement required her not to disclose any details of the incident.
Nicole Peng, research director at Canalys, said before the final results of the investigation into the incident were released, the key issue is for the firm to handle the incident properly, otherwise it will have a negative impact on the Xiaomi brand.
“Xiaomi should use the most transparent way to reveal details of the incident and the reason why the Redmi smartphone caught fire.”
Wang Wenhua, deputy dean of the Law School at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the confidentiality agreement was invalid.
“If the fire was caused by the phone, it is a quality defect which poses great risks to consumers’ personal safety and property rights. Then the manufacturer should bear civil liability and compensate the consumer accordingly.
“Now lots of smartphone makers are enhancing the capabilities of smartphone batteries, such as improvements to battery life, which may cause more safety problems than before,” Wang said.
“This incident should serve as a warning. Manufacturers should not be too keen to upgrade smartphone batteries before rigorous lab tests have taken place, and they should pay more attention to the quality of their products.”