It looks like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 battery crisis is far from over. The Korean company had spent a lot of time, money, and effort replacing about 2.5 million Note 7s that came with faulty batteries with the new “safe” ones. But Samsung soon found itself in deeper trouble when even the replacement Galaxy Note 7 units that were not vulnerable to overheating actually started catching fire and exploding.
Samsung confirms adjustments in “production schedule”
Citing a supply chain official, Yonhap news agency reported that Samsung had temporarily suspended production of Note 7. The Korean electronics giant confirmed Monday that it was “temporarily adjusting Galaxy Note 7 production schedule” to ensure quality and safety matters. Samsung did not elaborate on the issue, but the move comes just days after reports of the replacement phones overheating and catching fire.
Last Friday, a Galaxy Note 7 started smoking in the hands of a 13-year-old in Farmington, Minnesota. The teen’s father told media that it was a replacement device that he had picked at the beginning of Samsung’s recall process. Another customer in Richmond, Virginia said he was awakened by his replacement Galaxy Note 7 making a loud noise and emitting smokes on Sunday morning, according to the Wall Street Journal.
What went wrong with the recall process?
Last week, a replacement Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville to Baltimore right before take-off. The plane was evacuated, and none of the passengers and crew members was hurt in the incident. Samsung said Sunday it was working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the new incidents.
The fresh incidents of overheating and explosions will frustrate the Korean electronics giant’s attempt to repair its reputation. It raises serious questions about Samsung’s handling of the recall process, and its initial explanation of the battery problem. The company had said last month that the explosions were caused due to faulty batteries supplied by its sister firm Samsung SDI. Samsung claimed it had stopped sourcing batteries from Samsung SDI.
US carriers stop issuing new Galaxy Note 7 to consumers
The CPSC told consumers that they could seek a refund on their Galaxy Note 7 units if they want. Over the weekend, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile announced that they had stopped issuing new Note 7 units. AT&T customers can return their devices for different models. T-Mobile has halted exchanges for replacement Galaxy Note 7s, but said consumers can still bring their phones to get a refund or a different device. Verizon customers can exchange their Note 7s for another phone.
When Galaxy Note 7 hit the store shelves in August, it was hailed as the best Android phone out there. CJ Heo of Alpha Asset Management said, “I thought the Note 7 matter was coming to an end, but it’s becoming an issue again.” The battery debacle comes at the worst possible time for the Korean company. The Note 7 was already facing stiff competition from Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The launch of Google Pixel could further hurt the sales of Note 7.