After another batch of headlines featuring exploding batteries causing damage and injuring consumers, Samsung announced a program over the weekend to allow people to replace their Galaxy Note 7s. The company even took the extraordinary step of urging consumers to power down their devices and exchange them as soon as possible.
Over the past few days, exploding Galaxy Note 7s have reportedly been blamed for setting a house and a on fire. In addition, a Note 7 device also reportedly exploded in the hands of a six-year-old boy in Brooklyn, New York, who was using it to watch a video.
“We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible and in compliance with related regulations,” DJ Koh, president of Samsung Electronic's mobile communications business, said in a statement.
A Lot of Power in a Small Package
The problem with the Galaxy Note 7 stems from a faulty battery that has a tendency to overheat. In some cases, this has even led to explosions that have injured consumers. Reports of such explosions resulted in a recall announced a week ago.
“Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of power into a small package. When these batteries overheat and burst, the results can be serious. This is why the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device,” the CPSC said in a statement issued Friday.
The problem has become so acute that several airlines, including major international carriers such as Emirates, Scandinavian Airlines, and Air France KLM, banned customers from using the devices on their aircrafts.
Samsung said that it has identified the affected units and has stopped the sale and shipment of those devices. The company said it is also working with national regulators across the globe to remove those units from circulation, but it will likely take a while to recall all of the estimated 2.5 million units.
Which models consumers can expect to receive in exchange for their faulty devices will depend on location more than anything else, Samsung said. “Customers who have Galaxy Note 7 devices can replace their current device with a new device based on local availability,” the company said. “We encourage Galaxy Note 7 customers to contact their place of purchase or call the designated call center locally as soon as possible.”
Packages for the new Galaxy Note 7s will be labeled with a small black square on the corner of the barcode sticker, along with a large blue letter “S," according to a statement released by Samsung’s Australia unit.
“All Galaxy Note 7 devices have a unique IMEI number so we can identify and advise if an IMEI number belongs to a new replacement Galaxy Note 7,” the company said. U.S. customers can begin replacing their handsets immediately, with exchange programs in other countries scheduled to begin later this month.
Image credit: Product shot by Samsung.