What is the Galaxy Note 7 recall about?
Samsung is in the middle of an active recall for the Galaxy Note 7 phone, which the company voluntarily recalled when a major battery flaw caused a small number of the phones to spontaneously explode and sometimes burst into flames, damaging property and leaking dangerous chemicals. Samsung says a small number of devices experienced a problem — over 100 in ur most recent tally, out of an estimated 2.5 million made.
Samsung has not confirmed the global total of reported incidents.
Shortly after Samsung’s announcement, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made the recall official — in conjunction with Canada and Mexico — and in part due to an appeal by Consumer Reports. The official recall meant the phones couldn’t be legally sold in those countries, and any others that also issued a formal ban. Certain airlines have blocked use of the phone onboard planes as well.
Although some countries have given Samsung the green light to start exchanging potentially defective Note 7 phones for unaffected models, Samsung isn’t out of the woods yet. The Note 7 still isn’t widely on sale again.
What are my options to return or exchange the Note 7?
Samsung will give you back your money, or help you exchange your old Note 7 for a new one. There’s a slightly different exchange program for each region. Check your local Samsung website for more details. But for example:
- US: Returns are underway, and Samsung now has the government’s go-ahead to restock replacement devicesno later than September 21.
- UK: This program begins September 19.
- Australia: You can start exchanging your device on September 21.
- Singapore: Booking for an appointment ends September 25. The exchange period runs from September 16 through Oct 2.
- Philippines: Starts October 1. Exchange with your store, operator or Lazada online store. You’ll be issued a new Note 7 immediately.
How do I know a new Note 7 won’t have the same problem?
Samsung claims that phones sold after September 15 should be safe to use, and is working with various government agencies around the world to sell a new batch of unaffected phones. But in addition to that, there’s a tool to help you look up you phone’s unique identifying number — called the IMEI number — and determine if your phone could contain a potentially faulty battery, or a new one. Learn more about the IMEI tool and how to use it.
Could Samsung just refurbish a phone from the “bad” manufacturing batch?
No. Samsung confirmed with CNET that Note 7 phones will all be completely new devices with entirely new batteries.
But why are the batteries exploding in the first place?
Here’s the short version: The lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones contain flammable chemicals that catch fire when they touch. The long version (which is still unconfirmed for now) is that Samsung’s manufacturing process “placed pressure on plates contained within battery cells,” which “brought negative and positive poles into contact.” The full explanation: Here’s why Samsung Note 7 phones are catching fire.
Is it dangerous to keep using my phone? Is it possible that my Note 7 will spontaneously combust?
Yes. Instances of fire and bodily harm are still coming to light. If you own a Note 7, you should power it down immediately and seek to exchange or replace the phone (see below).
Really, though, it feels fine.
You really need to return the phone. Turn it off. Now.
What should I do if my phone catches fire?
If you can, douse the flames with a fire extinguisher or baking soda. Water will help, too (if the phone isn’t plugged in). If you don’t have those items, try to (safely) move it to a non-flammable surface and let it burn out.