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Samsung has stopped sales of Galaxy Note 7 units globally amid reports of the device’s battery exploding for some users, and offered an exchange program for those in the US who bought the phone, but there’s a catch. The company has not yet issued an ‘official’ recall for products sold so far, and according to US watchdog group Consumer Reports, this is a serious problem.
Consumer Reports Organisation in the US has questioned how Samsung is dealing with this whole ‘recall’, and argued the Korean player has no clear customer guidelines by not making it an official recall. “Samsung should immediately initiate an official recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission given the serious nature of the safety problem it identified with the Galaxy Note7,” said Maria Rerecich, Consumer Reports director of electronics testing.
Samsung’s own statement reads this, “To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7. For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.”
It does not mention an official recall so far, and as Consumer Reports points out this would have come with clear guidelines for users. An official recall will mean any user who bought the phone has to return it, while the voluntary exchange program leaves it more open-ended.
The report also said Samsung Galaxy Note7 was still being sold at multiple retail stores in the US on Friday, and if the company was going for an official recall, it should have reported the issue to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) first in the US.
According to the site, companies whose products could create a substantial hazard needs to be reported CPSC immediately after the recall. And CPSC makes it illegal to sell the same products once an official announcement of the recall has been made. The two criteria for recalling a product, as per CPSC, are: “contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard,” or “creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.”
In Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s case, the battery of the device reportedly exploded for several users while they were charging the smartphone, making it eligible to be evaluated by CPSC. According to the report, CPSC can decide to further pursue the recall in case after its investigations. An exploding battery on a smartphone is a serious hazard, more so since smartphones are carried by users everywhere, including flights.
Samsung has said users can exchange their Galaxy Note 7 units with either the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. The Korean giant made an official announcement saying the exchange offer is available for customers in the US. Samsung is also offering a $25 credit on customer’s phone bill or a $25 gift card for their troubles.
Samsung confirmed its plans to halt Galaxy Note 7 sales after reports started emerging about battery exploding while charging. The company issued a statement owing up the issue. It conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue and confirmed finding 35 such cases globally. Samsung said sales have been stopped considering the safety of users.
According to earlier reports, devices with an issue account for a very low percentage of the total sales. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited anonymous sources from the company who said “products installed with problematic battery accounts for less that 0.1 per cent of the volume sold”.
For Samsung, the battery problems with Galaxy Note 7 have meant the phone has not yet started shipping in India. The smartphone was announced on August 2 globally. Galaxy Note 7 is priced at Rs 52,990 in India and features a 5.7-inch Quad HD dual edge Super AMOLED display, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and iris scanner for security. It comes with a new S-Pen. There’s 3,500 mAh battery with fast charging technology.