Drastic times call for drastic measures: Samsung is pulling out all the stops in an effort to kick start its flagging recall program.
Samsung is begging every customer to return their Galaxy Note 7 with an on-screen message each time they power on or recharge the phone.
The phone maker has accomplished this with an unprecedented software update pushed out by cellular carriers. Ironically the same carriers have been unable or unwilling to allow all Android users an update to the platform’s latest Nougat operating system.
The government mandated recall affects about 1 million phones in the U.S. Samsung started their exchange program yesterday but admits they have only 500,000 replacement phones available. The shortcoming has led devoted Galaxy 7 users to continue using their faulty phones until they can hunt down a replacement. Another 25% of users have reported they will continue using their phones despite warnings to the contrary.
The flagship phone got rave reviews but shortly thereafter stories of fire and exploding phones began to multiply. The defect stems from a runaway thermal reaction during recharging. Faulty battery design or construction has been identified as the underlying culprit. Some experts have determined the battery’s internal plates are too close but are uncertain if Samsung’s specs or improper manufacture is to blame.
Samsung initially attempted to downplay the problem but then voluntarily offered to replace the phones. As the number of incidents grew the FAA banned the phone from airlines. Samsung then issued an bizarre warning to customers to never charge their phones past 60% if they chose not to exchange them. Shortly thereafter the Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped in to officially ban the model. It is now illegal to sell the Galaxy Note 7 in the U.S.
With 75% of the one million defective units still in the wild and Samsung’s botched handling of the recall more stories of exploding phones are certain. The healthy replacement devices sport a green battery indicator (see header photo) while the phones tagged for recall have a black icon.
The stigma of this debacle will likely taint the brand name for new customers. Most long-time Android users will continue their loyalty despite the platform’s shortcomings. Those in the middle are best served by demanding a refund – and heading directly to the Apple Store.