Samsung, the South Korean technology giant, is urging owners of its flagship ‘Galaxy Note 7’ phone to switch the device off immediately.
It comes after new reports of the phone catching fire or exploding. Samsung say they will stop selling the Galaxy Note 7 worldwide and conduct an investigation.
In September, Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones following several complaints of the phone’s battery exploding. They later replaced each device with a new version, insisting that the phone was now safe.
Now, however, it appears that even those versions are prone to dramatic and dangerous failures.
Earlier this month a ‘safe’ version of the Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a flight between Louisville and Maryland in the United States. The flight was evacuated as the cabin filled with ‘thick, grey’ smoke. Later a man in Kentucky said he awoke to find his bedroom filled with smoke from another replaced Note 7.
After initially attempting to reassure customers that the device did ‘not pose a safety concern’, Samsung said:
"Because consumers' safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place.
"Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.”
Now, experts suggest that the company is likely to stop selling the phone permanently.
Why are the phones catching fire?
Smartphones and other gadgets run on lithium batteries. Big tech firms are competing to make their devices smaller and more efficient, which means smaller, more efficient batteries. In the case of the Galaxy Note 7 it is believed that a new type of battery is ‘short-circuiting’, causing the phone to overheat and explode. However, the true nature of what causes the fault is not yet known.
How many phones are affected?
Samsung estimate that the worldwide recall will affect 2.5 million phones, including 45,000 across Europe. The majority of these European devices were sold in the UK.
What should I do if I have a Note 7?
If you own a Galaxy Note 7 – either the original or replacement version – you should switch it off immediately. Do not connect the device to the charger. Put the phone in a safe place, away from any flammable materials and away from any heat sources or direct sunlight.
You should then return the device to the shop from which you bought it at the earliest opportunity.
Can I get a replacement?
Even if you are offered a replacement Galaxy Note 7 by the shop, you should not accept it. At present, all Note 7 devices are believed to be prone to failure and are therefore dangerous.
You are entitled to a full refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 if you return any goods within 30 days of purchase. However, even outside this 30 day period, Samsung are offering a full refund on Galaxy Note 7’s or will exchange the phone for a different model. This includes (but is not limited to) the Galaxy S7 or the Galaxy S7 Edge. You will receive a refund of the difference in price between the Note 7 and your replacement handset.
You can also exchange any Galaxy Note 7-specific accessories or peripherals.
Customers who exchange a Note 7 will also receive a Samsung gift card.
Where can I get more information about my consumer rights?
If you have a consumer dispute or need more advice about taking legal action in relation to a consumer issue, talk to Stephensons.
Our specialist consumer solicitors are experts in consumer law and can help you understand your case and how best to proceed.
For more information, call us on 0203 816 9314.