Things have managed to go from bad to worse to nearly incalculably awful for Samsung in the course of the last few days. It seems the replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones — the ones pushed to market to replace the 2.5 million phones that were recalled because they were exploding and catching fire — are also exploding and catching fire.
As of Monday (Oct. 10), the exploded replacement phone count is up to four.
The first reported failure came last Wednesday (Oct. 5) when a “safe” Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire aboard an aircraft. Over the weekend, two others were also reported as going up in smoke — one belonging to a 13-year-old girl.
Samsung responded to the incident with the following statement:
“We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously, and we are engaged with the Zuis family to ensure we are doing everything we can for them and their daughter.”
That assurance, however, may be viewed as less than wholly convincing, given reports that the company was aware its replacements were also catching fire and chose not to say anything about it.
How did those reports surface?
Well, in the comedy of errors this has become, Samsung accidentally sent the following text to one of the consumers complaining about a phone being on fire:
Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it
For those keeping score at home, that text was sent to Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky, who ended up in the hospital for smoke inhalation after his phone caught fire while he was sleeping.
“The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe,” Klering told WKYT, saying that he had owned the replacement phone for a little more than a week. “It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything. It was just sitting there.”
That was Tuesday (Oct. 4) — 24 hours before the phone caught fire on a plane and nearly a week before a 13-year-old child’s phone caught fire.
The father of said 13-year-old girl commented:
“If the new phones that are supposed to be the replacement aren’t doing what it’s supposed to, there’s no reason for my daughter or someone to be injured by their phone.”
Consumers are now being urged to return any and all Note 7 models, and the mobile phone networks are obliging by making it very easy for customers to switch out their phone.
Sprint was the leader in the group, announcing last week that Samsung users can replace all models with a different device.
“If a Sprint customer with a replacement Note 7 has any concerns regarding their device, we will exchange it for any other device at any Sprint retail store during the investigation window.”
AT&T followed suit with a similar offer a few days later, and though it initially appeared as though Verizon and T-Mobile were going to attempt to limit returns to the normal return window, it seems that the fact that phones keep exploding has gotten all four of the major operators reading from the same page on this one.
It is not known whether there is an issue with the replacement models similar to the faulty batteries that were causing the fires in the original Note 7s.
And it seems that no one will be getting a new Galaxy Note 7 until Samsung figures out exactly what is going on.
Samsung Electronics has temporarily halted production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, according to reports from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency earlier today, in response to the reports that their phones are still an incendiary problem.
Earlier reports indicated that Samsung has already informed an Australian mobile company (Telstra) that it will no longer be shipping the Note with the following memo:
Please be advised of some updates to the Samsung Note 7 Global Exchange program.
Samsung has temporarily paused the supply of new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones following a reported incident in a replacement phone in the U.S. Samsung is confident in the replacement Note 7 and says they have no reason to believe it’s not safe. We’ll let you know the status of your replacement Note 7 as soon as we have more information.
We have contacted impacted customers to advise them of the delay.