Despite its impeccable brand reputation Apple has been hammered over the massive international recall of dangerous power adapters

Last week Apple recalled wall adapters across its range of portable products — including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and iPods spanning 13 years’ worth of product sales.

Today media reports suggest that adapters breaking and exposing consumers to risk of electric shock may be under-reported, with the company potentially aware of the dangers since at least 2006.

Apple said it was only aware of 12 “incidents” worldwide relating to the recall. It remains unclear whether this meant 12 actual cases of electric shock, or merely of exposure to risk after adapters broke, leaving live parts exposed.

Fairfax Media said it has been receiving complaints from customers following the announcement to share their experiences with Apple adapters “short-circuiting”, breaking, causing electrical sparks and, in one Australian case which Apple was aware of in 2006, causing a fire.

The cases raise questions about Apple’s knowledge of the faulty adapters much earlier on, while continuing to sell them over the 13-year time frame.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, in 2006 Melbourne resident Felicity Cook experienced a small house fire after a faulty Apple G4 iBook power adapter “exploded”. A letter and financial documents seen by Fairfax Media show Apple was aware of the incident and paid the customer compensation the same year.

A copy of the letter written by Ms Cook, dated 12 September 2006 and addressed to Apple’s customer relations department in Sydney, states that “the Apple power adaptor on our G4 iBook exploded and caught fire on the 14th of August”. The letter cites a case number.

A cheque from Apple Computer Australia Pty Ltd dated 11 October 2006 reimbursed Ms Cook for the cost of a replacement powerboard and adapter, and an electrician’s fee, totalling $218.91.

Apple declined to comment to Fairfax on the matter.

This story first appeared in Appliance Retailer