The Guardian is claiming to have received letters from readers experiencing problems with iPods. "Consumer champion" Claire Phipps writes that her postbag contains: "Tales of warped plastic on the mini-iPod models and unhelpful customer services", as well the issues with battery life that plagued the earlier iPod models.

Apple recommended that one Guardian reader with a faulty iPod should register on is Web site, after which the iPod would be collected, patched up and returned. However, he explained: "I have tried repeatedly for two weeks to register on the website. Same message on each occasion: "problem sending registration details. Try again:. We did... and again. No success."

He is suspicious that the Web service is "so overloaded that it is no longer functioning."

Another Guardian reader complains about the limitations of the iPods warranty. Just after his warranty ran out he started experiencing reduced battery life, he writes: "I accept the warranty was up when I first contacted Apple. However, in effect the organisation was selling products with a shelf-life just beyond the warranty period... To compound matters, there appears to be no one you can actually engage in dialogue with at Apple to discuss this."

An Apple spokesperson explained that customers experiencing problems with their iPods could register for help online, take their iPod to an Apple retail store in person, or look for potential solutions to the problem at the online support site or technical helpline.

Apple also defended its practice of replacing iPods sent for repair with "refurbished" models, saying that this was done to ensure customers received an iPod back as quickly as possible, and emphasizing that the replacement would always be of the same standard as the original model.