Last month, Samsung recalled about 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units due to faulty batteries that caused the phone to overheat and explode. Samsung blamed it on batteries made by its sister company Samsung SDI. The Korean electronics giant replaced the faulty Note 7s with new ones that featured safe batteries supplied by Amperex. Turns out, even the so-called safe Galaxy Note 7s could put your life at risk.
Issues with replacement Galaxy Note 7 could tarnish Samsung’s reputation
On Wednesday, passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville, Kentucky to Baltimore noticed smoke emitting from one of their fellow passenger’s Galaxy Note 7. The owner of the device, Brian Green from Indiana, turned off the Note 7 and put it in his pocket. By the time Green took it out of his pocket, it was too hot to handle. The plane was evacuated immediately, and none of the 75 passengers and crew members were injured, said Southwest Airlines in a statement.
The device was a replacement Galaxy Note 7, which should have fixed the battery issue that caused the first batch of Note 7s to explode. It is a big blow to Samsung, which is trying hard to put the battery fiasco behind it. Brian Green’s wife Sarah told Reuters that Brian had got his original Note 7 replaced a couple of weeks ago after getting a message from Samsung. Green had picked up the replacement Note 7 at an AT&T store on September 21.
The Verge was able to obtain photos of the phone and other details from the phone’s owner, which suggest it was indeed a replacement. It has a green battery icon that identifies replacement Note 7s. The phone’s IMEI number also indicated that it was safe to use. However, Samsung said it could not confirm whether it was the new Galaxy Note 7 until it retrieved the device from the customer.
It raises questions about Samsung’s handling of the recall
Such issues in the replacement Note 7 would add an embarrassing chapter to Samsung’s smartphone business. Analysts have warned that the Note 7 battery fiasco could tarnish Samsung’s reputation and hurt the sales of other products. Samsung had previously said the phones sold in China were safe, but Chinese consumers too have complained that their devices were exploding.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it was working with Samsung, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the phone’s owner to gather facts. The CPSC also reminded consumers that they could seek refunds for their troubled Note 7s. The FAA confirmed that the smoke on the Southwest flight was caused by a Samsung smartphone, and it was investigating the issue.
The incident raises serious questions about the handling of the recall process by Samsung.