EE customers who have one of its portable mobile 'power bar' chargers should urgently check which model they have, amid concerns that a particular batch poses a fire safety risk.
The mobile giant says it's seen five incidents where power bars have overheated, all of which relate to a particular batch of power bars. So while EE is still in the midst of fully investigating the issue, it's recalling all power bars in the affected batch.
You won't get a new power bar immediately as a replacement due to stock levels, but you will however get a £20 EE voucher. See below for more on this.
EE couldn't tell us how many power bars are affected, but as it's released seven batches so far totalling 1.5 million, it's likely to be hundreds of thousands.
EE has also today temporarily suspended its in-store swap scheme for both new and existing customers while it continues investigations. The mobile provider had already "paused" the scheme for new customers on 17 July, saying at the time that it would reopen in August (see the EE 'pauses' power bar offer MSE News story).
How do I know if I'm affected?
Check the side of your power bar. If it says 'Model no: E1-06' as in the picture below, you're affected and should stop using your power bar and return it to your nearest EE store as soon as you get a chance.
This applies to both EE customers who got a power bar for 'free', and to non-EE customers who paid £20 for one.
EE has texted all power bar customers today, warning them to check their model. If however your power bar has a different model number on it to the one listed below, or no model number at all, EE says you're unaffected.
Will I be given a replacement power bar?
When you return your power bar, your hire agreement for the charger will be cancelled. You won't however get a replacement power bar immediately due to stock levels.
Instead, EE says it will take down customers' details and will notify them when more power bars become available, when they'll be able to get one for free (non-EE customers will have to pay £20).
As an apology for the inconvenience caused, EE customers will be given a £20 EE voucher to spend online on accessories. No minimum spend is required, although you have to spend the voucher in one transaction. So if you buy something costing £19, you'll lose the remaining £1.
EE says you'll need to wait 24 hours for the voucher to be activated before you can spend it.
Affected non-EE customers with proof of purchase, such as a receipt or bank statement, will get a refund of the £20 they paid for the power bar when they return it to a store.
Non-customers without proof of purchase will get a £20 EE voucher. Affected non-customers who later decide they want a new power bar will have to pay £20 to get one when more stock is available.
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I've got a power bar. Can I still use it?
If you've got a power bar that isn't one of the E1-06 batch, EE says you can continue to use it as normal. You won't however be able to swap it for a recharged power bar in EE stores, as this element of the scheme has been suspended.
EE doesn't have a date for when it will become available, but it hopes this will be in the next few weeks.
I've not got a power bar yet. Can I get one?
The mobile provider "paused" the power bar scheme for new customers on 17 July, saying it would reopen in August (see the EE 'pauses' power bar offer MSE News story). EE couldn't confirm when the scheme will reopen for new users when we asked it today.
The scheme has also today been halted for those who got a power bar code before 17 July, and are still within the 30 day redemption period to pick up a power bar. These customers will have the 35p they paid to send a text to get the code automatically refunded, and will have to text again to get a power bar when the scheme reopens.
What does EE say?
An EE spokesperson says: "We have identified a very small number of incidents where power bars have overheated, all of which relate to batch E1-06 (written as Model:E1-06 on side), and could pose a fire safety risk.
"We are therefore recalling this batch, and requesting customers to stop using the power bar and return them to a local store at their earliest convenience. No other power bars are affected by this recall.
"It is our intention to replace these chargers once we have completed our investigations; we will be in touch once these have been concluded."