If you have traveled by air in the past few months, you may have heard this warning over the loud speaker prior to boarding the plane: owners of the Samsung Note 7 are advised to power down their phones until they have left the plane. Such advisements changed in October when Note 7 owners were banned from even stowing their phones on the aircraft. The devices have been prohibited on planes because flawed construction of the battery design causes the phone to overheat, leading to fires.
A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission details Samsung's recall. As a result of faulty components in the phone, incidents have been documented in which the phones continuously charge without dissipating enough heat. As the phone cycles through charges, its high temperature causes the phone to melt, catch fire or explode. 92 reports filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission confirm issues of this nature. Of these complaints on file, 26 incidents of burns were documented and 55 reports of fires were recorded.
While Samsung has halted production and has recalled the Note 7, a group of cellphone owners has recently filed a class-action suit against the company. In addition to seeking payment for damages inflicted by the phones, the plaintiffs are asking for phone replacement and an extension of coverage by the company warranty. Although the phones have been recalled, the smartphone owners have not been provided with a replacement phone. Absent phones, Samsung's customers continue to pay monthly fees to cellphone carriers with whom they have a phone contract.
In tight competition with Apple for market share of smartphones, Samsung sought to extend its reach with its Note 7. According to "Bloomberg," the company delivered 2.5 million phones before the recall. As a result of large number of devices recalled, the company has struggled with refunding customers for their purchases.
As with other recalls discussed in our blog, the takeaway from the Note 7 recall is this: be proactive when you learn of a recall. While your decision to return defective items can prevent injuries from occurring, it can also increase the chance of repayment for the recalled item. It is often the case that those who are first to return recalled items will be reimbursed. Those who wait can do so for an extended period of time.