Official Recall of Samsung Galaxy Note7 Phones in the Works

The company is working with U.S. product safety officials to provide exchange options to consumers who own one of the affected smartphones.

Samsung Note7, smartphones, phablets, Galaxy S7, recall, Consumer product Safety Commission, battery fires

Samsung is cooperating with officials at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to create plans and procedures for a formal recall for Samsung's recently unveiled Note7 smartphones, which have been the source of fires affecting some devices.

Earlier in September, Samsung announced that it is voluntarily recalling and replacing the handsets for users, but in a Sept. 9 statement, the CPSC said it is also working with the electronics maker to establish a formal recall procedure. One of the things the CPSC wants to ensure is that the replacement units being offered by Samsung are safe and don't include the same defect that is causing the devices' battery fires, the statement said.

"CPSC and Samsung are working cooperatively to formally announce an official recall of the devices, as soon as possible," the agency stated. "CPSC is working quickly to determine whether a replacement Galaxy Note7 is an acceptable remedy for Samsung or their phone carriers to provide to consumers."

The agency is advising consumers who have the Note7 phones to power them down and not use them until replacement units are distributed. "Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of power into a small package," the agency said in its statement. "When these batteries overheat and burst, the results can be serious. This is why the CPSC is urging all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device."

Reports of fires involving the Note7 have occurred while charging and during normal use, the agency said.

In Samsung's statement, company officials said they are working with the CPSC "on a voluntary corrective action plan to expedite a U.S. recall of the product."

About 35 reports of battery and device fires were originally reported with Note7 phones around the world when Samsung announced its recall earlier in September. The company said the problem is related to a "battery cell issue" that can only be fixed by replacing the phones with new units and new batteries.

"Samsung continues to ensure that consumer safety remains our top priority," Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement. "We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note7s and exchange them now. New Note7 replacement devices will be issued to exchange program participants upon completion of the CPSC process. In the interim, consumers can return their Note7 for another device."

Under Samsung's recall, the company is offering to replace Note7 phones with a new Note7 that includes an unflawed battery (pending CPSC approval) or to exchange it for a new Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone, along with the replacement or refund of any Note7-specific accessories. Select carrier and retail outlets will also provide customers with a Samsung loaner phone to use until a new Note7 handset is available if they choose to wait for a new Note7.

"Our collaboration with the CPSC, carrier partners, and via our own communication channels is aimed at ensuring all Note7 users are aware of the issue and understand their options," said Baxter.

For more information, Galaxy Note7 owners can contact or visit the retail outlet where they purchased their device or call 1-800-SAMSUNG to set up a product exchange and to resolve any other questions or concerns, said Samsung.

The Galaxy Note7 smartphones went on sale Aug. 19 in the United States and are the company's premier flagship handsets, incorporating a 5.7-inch quad HD dual-edge Super AMOLED touch-screen display and a pen stylus that lets users add drawings and handwritten text to images, documents and more. When reports of battery fires in some Note7 devices began coming in, the company voluntarily halted sales and shipments of the phones around the world.

An Aug. 31 report by The Wall Street Journal said that Samsung has shipped some 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 phones since their Aug. 19 launch.

The reports of the Note7 battery fires come at a precarious time for Samsung. Earnings at the world's largest smartphone maker have been under pressure in the last several years as it battles successful global sales challenges from rival smartphone makers, including Apple and Chinese upstarts, such as Huawei.

In July, the company reported some good news for the second quarter—its highest quarterly operating profit in two years, coming in at $7.19 billion (8.14 trillion Korean Won, KRW). That was an 18 percent increase from 6.9 trillion KRW posted a year earlier and the highest quarterly operating profit posted by the company since it brought in 8.49 trillion KRW in the first quarter of 2014.