Samsung was recently forced to issue a recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones that were shipped to retail stores.
Galaxy Note 7 smartphones have caused fires on cars, airplanes, and even personal injuries. There is no information about how many devices have been purchased worldwide, although the company estimates that units sold in the U.S. and South Korea add up to one million. After recalling the handsets and exchanging or refunding the purchases, Samsung appeared to be on safe grounds. But a replacement Galaxy Note 7 have blown up on a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville, Kentucky.
The plane was evacuated after the phone caught fire and burnt a hole in the carpet. The phone’s owner was Brian Green, who exchanged the device at an AT&T store on September 21. The incident did not cause any injuries.
Airlines have been on the look out for Galaxy Note 7 devices as they cannot be certain if a replacement Note 7 is safe for flight. There’s the possibility that Green’s phone was a Note 7 that had not been returned. He then published the phone’s IMEI number, which served to confirm that it was indeed a replacement unit.
Samsung has to act fast as it intended for the Galaxy Note 7 to compete with the iPhone 7, but even if the company manages to fix the problem completely, people will not be actively buying an expensive device that may explode at any minute.
The airplane incident is being investigated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which participated in the first recall made by the tech giant.
“Thankfully, reports indicate that all of the passengers were able to make it off the plane without harm. Agency staff has already reached out to the FAA and Samsung to gather the facts about the incident. Agency staff will also reach out to the consumer who experienced a serious incident with his phone,” said CPSC director Elliot F. Kaye.
Galaxy Notes 7 are destroying cars, computers, and even houses
A couple in Florida left their Galaxy Note 7 charging in a Jeep on September. The device caught fire and caused the vehicle to explode. The couple was just arriving home as they unloaded a desk onto the house. The Jeep was left running, and they suddenly heard their dog whine.
The husband went outside and did not see anything suspicious until he approached the Jeep and saw flames on its interior. He asked for a fire extinguisher, but as soon as he opened the door, the Jeep exploded and the couple resorted to calling 911. The couple reached out to Samsung and Verizon for a response but were ignored.
“Samsung has blown me off after over an hour on the phone this morning. Never called back as promised. Guess it is time to get a lawyer. You had your chance,” stated Nathan Dornacher.
In early September, Wesley Hartzog from South Carolina left his Galaxy Note 7 charging in his garage as he left to fetch his daughters. When he returned, he saw his house engulfed in flames and firefighters surrounding the scene.
“They asked me if I had anything plugged in in the garage. My cell phone, which was the new Note 7, was plugged in in the garage. I also had an air compressor plugged into the same outlet, but the compressor wasn’t on,” he reported to local media outlet WMBF.
In the following weeks in China, Hui Renjie ordered his Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from JD.com. He left the phone charging overnight, but eventually it started pouring black smoke until it caught fire. Renjie suffered minor burns on his fingers, and his MacBook resulted damaged.
Renjie was later visited by a Samsung representative who tried to take the phone, but Renjie refused as he did not think that they would reveal why the phones catch fire. China was not included in the recall issued by Samsung, as it appears that the batteries for Chinese Notes 7 are supplied by a different company.
Samsung assures that nine out of ten buyers that complied to the recall chose to get another Galaxy Note 7, which the airplane incident deemed as an unsafe alternative. The company also states that at least 60 percent of the recalled Notes 7 have been exchanged. In Singapore, 80 percent of buyers have already exchanged the phone.
Samsung will do everything in its power to circumvent the issue and try to save the Note 7’s line from being unpurchasable due to safety concerns. In the days between the first explosions and the airplane incident, Samsung appeared confident in claiming that its recall policy had been working, but now it seems that even replacement devices are flawed.