Samsung Offers Korean Note7 Buyers Upgrade Deal as More Problems Arise

In South Korea, some Note7 owners filed a class action lawsuit over the phones, while some Galaxy S7 Edge fires are being reported elsewhere.

Samsung, Note7, Note7 fires, Note7 recall, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, smartphones, Korea

As Samsung continues to work to recover from the battery fires and recall debacles surrounding its now-disgraced Galaxy Note7 flagship smartphones, the company is offering buyers in South Korea a 50 percent discount on a replacement Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge handset, which can then be traded in for free when the upcoming Galaxy S8 or Note8 comes out sometime in 2017.

Not all Note7 owners may be appeased by that move, however, as at least 527 buyers in South Korea have joined a class action lawsuit asking for damages due to the hassles they experienced after purchasing their smartphones, according to an Oct. 24 report by Bloomberg. And in what could be coincidences or harbingers of doom to come, other cases are surfacing involving alleged fires in Samsung's latest S7 Edge and S7 phones, which have been on the market since March, an Oct. 24 story by Tom's Guide reported.

The 50 percent off offer on Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge smartphones, which is being made to inconvenienced Note7 customers in South Korea, was revealed Oct. 24 in a story by Reuters as a move by Samsung to retain customers following the disaster that was the Note7. More than 100 battery fires and explosions were reported around the world involving the Note7, which led to a global recall, the issuance of supposedly corrected phones and finally a complete discontinuation of the handset model by early October.

It is not yet known if Samsung will expand its 50 percent off offer on the S7 and S7 Edge—and the accompanying free trade-in upgrade offer on a future S8 or Note8 handset—to customers in the United States or other countries.

"In offering the Note8 upgrade option, Samsung indirectly reinforced previous statements that the Note series will not be discontinued," Reuters reported. "The company said the availability of such a program in other markets will be dependent on the situation in each country. It did not elaborate."

Meanwhile in South Korea, more than 527 Note7 owners are taking their anger over the troubled smartphones to the courts and participating in a class action lawsuit that seeks about $440 in compensation for each owner for their related aggravation involving the recalled and then discontinued handsets, Bloomberg reported. The law firm handling the lawsuit had more than 500 clients join the lawsuit in just five days, the story reported.

And adding to Samsung's Note7 anguish, the alleged reports of some Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 smartphone fires are coming at a rough time. An incident of a fire involving an S7 Edge phone comes from Canada, where a man said his handset burst into flames in his car while driving, according to a report by Tom's Guide. Another S7 Edge fire report came from "an employee of one of the big U.S. wireless carriers" who said a customer's phone exploded while it was charging overnight using the included charger, the story reported.

A Samsung spokesperson did not immediately reply to an email inquiry from eWEEK on Oct. 25 about the reports.

Samsung still does not know the exact cause of the more than 100 battery fires and explosions reported in its Note7 smartphones before they were recalled twice since September. A lab report found that some scans of the affected devices showed bulges in the nonremovable batteries in some handsets, but not in batteries from different suppliers. The bulges had no explanation and were not labeled as the ultimate cause of the fires, however.

In early October, Samsung announced the end of its Note7 flagship smartphone model following the battery fire reports around the world, including about five reports involving replacement Note7s that were supposedly free of the defects in the original models.