Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone owners will be able to begin exchanging their now-recalled phones for new non-flawed devices starting Sept. 21, according to advisories from mobile carriers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Verizon customers can also exchange their phones, but the carrier has not yet issued a formal statement about the exchange or refund program.
Some 1 million Note7 smartphones were recalled Sept. 15 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission after at least 92 battery fires or explosions were reported with the new phones due to a defect in the batteries in the handsets. The recall, known as Recall No. 16-266, applies to all Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones sold before Sept. 15, 2016, according to the agency. The move comes because “the lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers,” the agency said.
AT&T issued a statement telling its customers that it will have supplies of new CPSC-approved Note7 phones with non-defective batteries starting no later than Sept. 21 under the terms of the CPSC recall campaign, with Sprint and T-Mobile issuing similar details.
The carriers can also provide loaner Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones to customers who need to use another phone until new inventories of Note7 handsets are received. Or customers can choose refunds for their recalled Note7 handsets or an exchange for any other phones.
“We want to make sure that when customers come to our stores to receive their new device, they have a great experience,” Rod Millar, senior vice president of product for Sprint, said in a statement. “We need to ensure that inventory has reached our stores and that our store representatives have enough time to spend with each customer to transfer data.” Sprint customers are being advised to make an appointment for an exchange on the Sprint website, he said.
Under the recall, the CPSC is advising owners of the affected smartphones to “immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note7 devices purchased before September 15, 2016” to prevent further fires or injuries.
The Samsung Note7 has been sold through AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon, as well as through Samsung and other websites from August 2016 through September 2016 for between $850 and $890, the agency said.
Verizon has not yet updated its earlier statement that announced a pending CPSC recall of the smartphones, but is expected to do so in the near future under the terms of the government recall.
The CPSC recall, which applies to about 1 million phones, is being conducted in conjunction with Canada and Mexico, according to the agency. Consumers are being urged to contact their wireless carriers or the store where they bought their phones for a replacement Note7 phone that is free of the defect or for a refund of their purchase price. Galaxy Note7 owners can also contact Samsung toll-free at (844) 365-6197 anytime or go online at www.samsung.com to replace their phone or arrange a refund, according to the CPSC.
“The recalled devices have a 5.7- inch screen and were sold in the following colors: black onyx, blue coral, gold platinum and silver titanium with a matching stylus,” the CPSC recall announcement states. “Samsung is printed on the top front of the phone and Galaxy Note7 is printed on the back of the phone.”
Samsung Note7 Users Can Get Replacements Starting Sept. 21
Consumers can determine whether their Note7 phone has been recalled by checking the IMEI number on the back of the phone or the packaging, and entering the IMEI number into an online registration page on Samsung’s website or calling the company.
The U.S. government recall comes after Samsung received 92 reports about Note7 batteries overheating in the United States, causing 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage, the agency said.
Note7 owners will also receive a one-time $25 credit on their mobile phone bills under the terms of the recall.
Samsung had recently been in talks with the CPSC to create plans and procedures for a formal recall of the Note7 devices. Reports of fires and explosions with some of the phones began shortly after their late August release, according to a previous eWEEK story. Earlier in September, Samsung announced that it was voluntarily recalling and replacing the handsets for users.
The Galaxy Note7 smartphone went on sale Aug. 19 in the United States and is 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.
Some 2.5 million Note7 handsets were manufactured before the CPSC recall was issued. About 1 million of those phones are affected by the recall, according to the agency.
The reports of the Note7 battery fires have 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.