Here’s what you need to know about Samsung’s Note 7 recall.
Samsung has announced a recall of Note 7s along with a halting of sales after concerns of faulty components causing battery explosions. That’s scary, and product recalls aren’t fun for anyone to deal with. Here’s what you need to know about the recall and how to handle it with your own Note 7.
Note: This is a constantly evolving story with information that is being updated regularly.
Should I keep using my Note 7?
The biggest question to answer from the start is whether or not you should keep using your Note 7 after Samsung has announced that it is recalling the phone. We need to understand that even though Samsung is recalling every phone it has sold that doesn’t mean that every phone is at risk of having a battery failure.
From Samsung’s announcement of the recall, there have been 35 cases of the issue, out of over a million phones sold. Just one case is enough to make people worried, and 35 is a lot more, but that doesn’t mean your phone has the same problem. In light of the new information it is a totally realistic response to want to stop using your Note 7 — but Samsung isn’t saying one way or the other what current Note 7 owners should do.
What’s causing phones to be recalled?
Samsung’s official statement on the recall says that the issue relates to the battery cells used in some Note 7s, which lines up with the earlier reports of phones catching fire and exploding. Low-quality battery cells are susceptible to overheating and failing when charged and used heavily.
Given the number of reports that Samsung is investigating, a recall was to be expected.
How do I know if my Note 7 has been recalled?
Rules about how customers with recalled products are notified and handled differs by country, but in general we can expect that all owners will be notified of the recall. A recent example of theShield Tablet recall over similar issues shows just how this can be handled: customers are notified or can go to a website to check if their phone is being recalled, and can quickly find out what to do with their phone and how to receive a replacement.
Samsung has already announced that U.S. carriers will release details for the recall process soon — some have already started.
It seems China is the one place where the Note 7 hasn’t been recalled, as reports are claiming that a different battery supplier was used in China.
What do I with my recalled Note 7?
As is the case with any other product recall — phones and tablets in particular — you should follow the instructions set out by Samsung, the carrier or retailer you bought it from for the recall as soon as you can. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to give up your phone, but there’s a reason why it’s being recalled and that means you should follow it.
When your phone is recalled, Samsung will replace it — the process is expected to take a few weeks. Here’s how things are breaking down around the world:
- Samsung has issued a statement informing customers that they will be able to replace their Note 7s with new units as early as next week.
Customers will be given the option of trading their units in for either a new Note 7 or a Galaxy S7/S7 edge and a refund for the difference. All accessories can also be exchanged for their S7 equivalents.
Samsung is also offering a $25 phone bill credit, or a $25 gift card, for the inconvenience. The company recommends calling 1-800-SAMSUNG to arrange a mail exchange, or to return the unit to the retail store (such as Best Buy) from which they purchased the unit.
- T-Mobile is letting customers return their Note 7 in any store for a full refund of the purchase price and any accessories you may have bought. You’ll then be given the choice of buying another phone or receiving a new Note 7 when they are put on sale again, if you wish.
- Sprint says that customers can return their Note 7 to any of its stores), and will be given a “comparable device” to use in the meantime.
- Verizon says it has stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7 and “through September 30, 2016, Verizon is waiving the restocking fee for any customers who purchased a Galaxy Note7 and wish to return or exchange it.” Thanks, Verizon.
- AT&T says that it is working with Samsung to facilitate exchanges of the Note 7, and isallowing customers to return their devices to the store for another smartphone. They will also refund any accessories purchased directly from them.
- U.S. Cellular has not yet announced its plans for handling the recall, but we assume will offer similar services to the others.
- TELUS has said it will voluntarily recall its customers’ Galaxy Note 7: “Consistent with TELUS’ policy of putting customers first, and because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority, we have suspended sales of the device across all TELUS corporate, dealer and retail locations, as well as online. We are working closely with Samsung to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible for our customers.”
- Rogers says that it is going to stop selling the Note 7 immediately and will allow customers to exchange or replace their devices, or get a loaner. “After being notified by Samsung that they have stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7 due to reported safety issues, we immediately suspended shipments and sales of the device in all our stores and through our website. Samsung is working on a replacement program and we’ll continue to work with them to ensure the process is seamless for our customers. In the meantime, customers can visit their nearest Rogers store to exchange their Note 7 or get a loaner device.”
- Bell says that it too has suspended sales of the Note 7 and is working with Samsung to help customers exchange devices quickly. “Bell has suspended sales of the Galaxy Note 7 and we are contacting all customers affected by the issue. We’re working with Samsung to ensure these customers receive replacement phones as quickly as possible.”
- In the UK, Samsung halted sales before the Note 7’s street date of September 2. Some British networks were running promotional deals where pre-order customers could get devices early, and so some are already in the wild and will need to be replaced. For more information, Samsung directs UK customers to its customer service line at 0330 7261000.
How can I trust that my replacement phone is okay?
Then there’s the next question: will the replacement Note 7 phone I get be safe? Well, obviously we never know for sure considering that the first phones were all perceived to be safe and were recalled. The whole reason why the phones are being recalled is that Samsung continued to investigate the quality of its devices even after they were sold, so you can bet that whatever issue was found can be reincorporated to the supply chain and manufacturing to (hopefully) ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Of course this is all about trust — no matter how safe and secure a company is in its manufacturing processes, quality control standards can never be 100% perfect, and “bad” units of any phone will always get out. The real issue in this case is that the “bad” units aren’t screens with an odd tint or a headphone jack that doesn’t work — they’re phones that could potentially be dangerous.
The recall has happened — either you trust that Samsung has reliably fixed the issues that were causing problems in the first Note 7s, or you move on to a different phone.