Friday 2 June 2023

Tourist Sues ICE ¢120 Million For Exploding Cell Phone

The foreigner says she suffered serious burns on hands, arms, and legs; alleges device was bought at Kölbi

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An Argentine tourist sued Costa Rica state telecom, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), for the damages suffered by exploiting a cell phone that she claims was purchased from the operator’s Kölbi brand store.

ICE, the state telecom, operates under the Kölbi brand store

The complaint was filed last Friday by Sonia Leyla Riobo, a visual arts teacher based in Buenos Aires, who was visiting the country. The lawsuit for moral and material damage is processed in the Contentious Administrative Court, in San José, confirmed Riobo’s lawyer Rodolfo Alvarado Moreno.

La Nacion, reporting the story, said it did not obtain a version from ICE about the incident, the Instituto’s spokesmen confirmed only that they are aware of the complaint.

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Riobo claims ¢120 million colones (about US$210,000 dollars) for physical and psychological damage suffered.

In the complaint, the 29-year-old woman says she was in Costa Rica earlier this year to visit friends and decided to ask one of them to buy her a phone plan; including the device. Her objective was to have telecommunications services during her stay in the country.

To that end, according to the filed complaint, her friend Sol Helaine Sáenz Gamboa, signed a contract in his name on January 15 but, according to the Riobo, she was the end user of both the line and of the device provided by Kölbi.

In the lawsuit, Riobo encloses a copy of the contract and the cell phone warranty whose model or manufacturer is not included in the case document.

According to her story, on the night of January 20, while at a friend’s house in San Carlos, Alajuela, she placed the cell phone near her bed to charge.

Image for illustrative purposes

Supposedly, at about 7:30 am the next day, the device exploded unexpectedly in her hands when she picked it up, causing 2nd and 3rd burns in a hand and legs. Her hair was also burned.

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Given the situation, her hosts took her to the CCSS Aguas Zarcas clinic emergency room, where she was treated.

Riobo indicates that, as plastic pieces were embedded in his skin, extraction required other medical appointments.

After that emergency visit, on January 22, she visited the private medical center, Metropolitan Hospital, in San José, where additional particles were removed from the skin, and followed up on the wounds, according to documents provided in the lawsuit. There were two more visits on the 24th and 31st of the same month.

The lawsuit also says that the incident forced a call to the Bomberos (Fire Department), fearing the explosion would have burned the mattress in the room she had been sleeping in.

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“Emergency is responded to a possible explosion of a cell phone battery in a room after 7:30 am; causing damage to the device itself, mattress and 2nd and 3rd degree burns in the upper extremity of the caller. Control of the scene and patient care were given before the arrival of the Cuerpo de Bomberost”, indicates a report of the Fire Department in the documents sent to the Court.

The woman alleges that she has had serious physical effects that, according to a medical opinion, were the result of 2nd and 3rd burns on hands, arms, legs.

The wounds, she says in the complaint, caused the loss of sensitivity in her hands; which he considers serious for her line of work.

She adds that she has received attention from two psychologists in Argentina because, she adds, she suffered panic attacks for several months after the event, including episodes of fainting due to pain, anxiety, crying, stress, and insecurity in her daily activities.

The lawsuit also encloses photographs of the injuries, medical bills, images of the place where the events took place, medical reports sent from Argentina where, according to her, she is still being treated; copy of a form for returning the device to ICE and even exchanging emails with administrative areas of that institution.

“The Instituto (ICE) has been disinterested in this matter after having sold a cell phone with all the conditions and guarantees of excellence which, however, exploded,” said Riobo’s lawyer.

The lawyer added that attempts were made to negotiate a settlement with ICE, but it was totally impossible. “This goes against the interest of the consumer in a very serious situation that could bring a person to life,” Moreno concluded.

Source: La Nacion

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