Last month, we closely followed the build-up to the release of Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7, and reported on the elaborate Unpacked convention that proudly revealed the upcoming phablet in all its glory. Now, in a scenario nobody saw coming, Samsung have been scrambling to recall the freshly-released Galaxy Note 7s all around the world, after reports of the handsets catching fire.
Attributed to what Samsung describe as a ‘battery cell fault’, the masses eagerly awaiting the release of Samsung’s much-raved-about phablet have been somewhat bowled over by photos of crispy-fried Note 7s that have popped up online. The fires, which many put down to less than top-notch batteries being overworked, are being treated very seriously by Samsung. As ever Samsung have the customer at heart, and solutions have been very quickly rolled out. Sales of the Galaxy Note 7 have also been suspended. So what’s going on, and what should you do if you already have a Note 7?
Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall?
The Note 7 had only been out for a matter of weeks in Korea, and even less in other parts of the world. Here in the UK, only those who’d got theirs on special pre-release had anything to worry about, as the Note 7 was a mere day from release when the plug was pulled on further sales. But no sooner had the boxes been opened than people apparently started coming home to cars and rooms full of smoke. There have also been a number of burn injuries reported. These incidents have been put down to faulty battery issues. Never ones to faff about, Samsung have reacted swiftly to this situation and put in place special exchange and return policies to get everybody the handset they’ve paid for, urging everybody to send back their Notes en flambé as soon as possible.
Is My Note 7 Handset Faulty?
Although it’s better safe than sorry, and Samsung have called for a complete recall, not all Note 7s will blow up! Supposedly, the fault is only present in the lithium-ion batteries of handsets sold prior to September 15th – but to give customers peace of mind, and make sure no stragglers end up causing accidents, Samsung have dedicated a page on their website to their special returns policies. By entering the phone’s IMEI (serial number) onto the Samsung site, records will be checked, and customers can find out whether or not the recall applies to their handset.
Who is Issuing the Note 7 Recall?
The ball was set rolling on September 1st, at which point Samsung officially reported to have had a mere 35 such incidents reported globally, and suspended further sales of the Galaxy Note 7. By September 15th, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had formally issued a recall on all handsets in America. Four days later, and Samsung UK launched its own homegrown recall programme, offering affected customers exchanges. Although Samsung were sharp in their reaction to this situation, it is notable that third-parties like the CPSC have gotten involved, and speaks some volumes about the perceived dangers of faulty batteries. This combined high-profile condemnation of the Note 7 is remarkably official, and sadly, not likely to weigh in Samsung’s favour.
What’s the Policy?
Given the staggered release dates, some regions of the world have received far more Note 7s than others – Samsung homeland South Korea is looking at recalling almost half a million. However, Samsung have issued separate returns instructions for different regions.
Note 7 Recall: US Customers
Samsung advises customers to return their handsets to the store from which they were purchased. Best Buy, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all have returns policies in place, with Best Buy and T-Mobile offering full refunds, as well as exchanges and gift certificates as a good will gesture. Exchanges for similar models are being offered by all providers. Alternatively, buyers can reach Samsung directly on 1-800-SAMSUNG.
Note 7 Recall: UK Customers
Some pre-ordered customers may have received their Note 7s prior to both the public release date and the recall notice. In this instance, your network provider should have already made contact with you to discuss your returns options, and if not, you are advised to contact them as soon as possible on 0330 7261000.
While returns and exchanges are being processed, European customers are being offered a software upgrade which limits the battery charge, allowing it to only charge up to 60%, therefore minimising risk of overheating.
Customers eligible for refund or exchange can expect to be receiving their new handsets shortly, with Samsung having reported sending out the first batch of exchanges on the 21st.
Where to from Here?
The case of the exploding Note 7 has been a significant spanner in the Samsung works. Up to this point, Samsung had been riding a seemingly endless wave of success, straddling every technology sector from mobile phones to refrigerators, and making a lot of competitors look rather limp by comparison. After all the hype and excitement they put into launching the Note 7 (and of course, into developing it), spirits been thoroughly dampened by this turn of events, and one wonders what Samsung (and their competitors) may pull out of the hat now. The customer-centred tech leaders have prided themselves on their customer satisfaction for a long time, and it is doubtful that they will let this situation slip away without having made it up to their dedicated following.
But with the South Korean chapter already planning the relaunch of their improved, and far less combustible Note 7, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall may well prove to be merely a lesson in the art of testing and quality. Samsung are not taking this lying down, and can be counted on to turn this situation around as quickly as possible. Check back with Samsung Geeks for the latest on the Note 7 recall as it unfolds.