With its decision to stop producing and selling its fire-prone Galaxy Note7 flagship smartphone behind it, Samsung has laid out procedures for how Note7 owners can return their recalled devices and get refunds or bill credits on new phones from the company or other brands.
Under a recall plan approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), all Note7 owners can register for refunds or bill credits toward replacement handsets from Samsung or other manufacturers starting at 3 p.m. ET on Oct. 13 under an official U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program, according to a company announcement.
"We appreciate the patience of our consumers [and] carrier and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times," Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement. "We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right."
Under the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program, Note7 owners can choose to receive a full refund on the purchase price of their device, or can choose another Samsung device and get a bill credit up to $100 toward its price. Consumers can also return their Note7 and get a $25 bill credit toward the purchase of another brand of smartphone. If the price of the replacement device is lower than the price of the Note7, consumers will receive a refund for the difference.
Customers who have already exchanged their Note7 devices for another Samsung smartphone will receive an additional bill credit up to $75 from select carriers or retail outlets, which will be in addition to $25 bill credits that were issued initially.
The $100 bill credit for buyers of another Samsung device is a "sign of our appreciation for your patience and loyalty," according to the company. Note7 buyers who seek refunds will get bill credits up to $25 from select carriers and stores.
The Note7 fires and explosions were apparently caused by the non-removable lithium-ion batteries in the phones, which could overheat and burst into flames, posing serious fire and burn hazards to consumers, according to the CPSC. About 1.9 million Note7 phones were affected by the U.S. recall in the end, after the initial recall affected 1 million of the handsets.
Samsung and the CPSC are continuing to urge all Note7 customers to immediately shut their phones off to prevent fire risk and to contact Samsung or their mobile carriers to return the defective units. The Note7 handsets were the source of more than 100 battery fires or explosions around the world since the phones were released in August.
"[Our] customers' safety remains a top priority and we ask consumers with an original or replacement Galaxy Note7 to power down and take advantage of the remedies available," said Baxter.
Samsung is working to reach Note7 customers quickly about returning the defective phones and is contacting customers directly and through social media, in-store notifications and other means, the company said in its statement.
The company has also set up a special webpage to answer consumer questions about the Note7 recall and direct them to contact information for their mobile carriers.
On Oct. 12, a day after Samsung announced it had permanently discontinued its fire-prone Note7 smartphone line, the company revealed that it expects to take a $2.6 billion hit to its estimated third-quarter 2016 consolidated operating profit to pay for the product recall nightmare that resulted, according to an earlier eWEEK story. In its revised third-quarter earnings expectations report, the company said it has lowered its estimated consolidated operating profit to about $4.7 billion (5.2 trillion Korean Won, or KRW), a 32 percent drop from an earlier estimate of $6.9 billion (7.8 trillion KRW), that it had announced on Oct. 7. In addition, Samsung has lowered its revenue estimate for the third quarter to 47 trillion KRW, down from its Oct. 7 estimate of 49 trillion KRW.