Update: The FAA has made it a federal crime to carry the Galaxy Note 7 aboard airplanes in the United States, as Samsung urges customers to turn off their handsets indefinitely
Samsung has warned users against using their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, asking customers to power down the handsets and ‘stop using’ them for the foreseeable future. The decision comes after a number of users reported that their new or replaced Galaxy Note 7 handsets were catching fire.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung now plans to “permanently discontinue production and sales” of the Galaxy Note 7. In a statement to South Korean regulators, Samsung said: “Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7.”
And to further complicate matters, many airlines have now banned the Galaxy Note 7 from being taken on board a flight. In fact, the United States' Federal Aviation Authority has made transporting the phone on an airplane a federal crime. We recommend checking with your airline if you've travelling with a Note 7 in the near future.
Galaxy Note 7 recall explained
Samsung issued a global recall for the Note 7 on September 2 after an internal investigation uncovered a serious battery flaw that was causing some users’ handsets to spontaneously catch fire. Despite replacing a large number of phones, it appears that the issue still remains, as users with replaced handsets have been uploading evidence of random combustion to the internet.
The original defect related to batteries that are believed to have been built by Samsung’s own SDI battery division, which were apparently squeezed into too small a space, which put pressure on the cell. This meant that the positive and negative poles came into contact, generating excess heat – and ultimately melting smartphones. But it appears that engineers are still baffled by the latest fires, which you can read all about here.
To make matters worse, the WSJ recently revealed that Samsung tested its own batteries in-house, which is atypical. Usually, phone manufacturers selling their wares in the United States test their batteries through a third-party lab that's been certified by the CTIA, but Samsung utilised its own CTIA-certified lab.
The South Korean government has now launched its own independent investigation into the matter, probing Samsung via the state-run Korea Testing Laboratory.
How to replace or exchange your Note 7 in the UK
Unfortunately, given the latest developments in the Note 7 recall debacle, it’s not actually clear whether Samsung will be replacing any more handsets. We’d recommend asking Samsung for a full refund.
To contact Samsung directly, you can call the customer service team on 0330 726 1000 between 09:00 and 18:00 on any day except for Sunday.
It’s worth noting that Samsung’s US contingent is offering credit to all Galaxy Note 7 customers who are willing to exchange the phone for a new device. Better still, you can get credit even if you swap to a phone built by another company.
There are two options currently available through the US Note 7 Refund and Exchange program, as of October 13 at 15:00 (ET):
- (1) Up to $100 credit to exchange your Note 7 for any Samsung smartphone
- (2) A $25 bill credit to exchange your Note 7 for a refund, or other branded smartphone
However, we’re not convinced that exchanging your phone is any better than getting a full refund – if you paid full price for the Note 7 anyway.
The Note 7 launched at £749 in the UK and $799 in the US, which is what most customers probably paid. But the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have now dropped considerably in price, retailing at £490/$545 and £540/$612 respectively. So if you swap your Note 7 for another top-end Samsung phone and get $100 credit, you may still be worse off than if you’d requested a full refund.
It’s not clear whether Samsung’s US credit offer is available in the UK too. We’ve asked for clarification, and will update this article with any response.
Is Samsung sorry?
At the time of the recall, Samsung’s Mobile chief DJ Koh said: “Samsung offers a sincere apology to all customers and users for the battery fire occurring soon after the release of new products.”
How can I get through these tough times?
By listening to this song on repeat, of course:
Related: IFA 2016
Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
What do you think of Samsung's new Galaxy Note 7? Let us know in the comments.