In fairness to Samsung, if your flagship product has started spontaneously combusting, required two recalls of millions of phones and cost you billions of dollars — you probably wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic about writing any new checks either. You might even refuse.
Such is what several Samsung customers who suffered property damage after their Note 7s burst into flame are claiming — according to Guardian reports, customers who say their homes and property were wrecked by the fire are now forced to fight Samsung tooth and nail for a reimbursement for the damage they suffered.
Illinois resident John Barwick was told by Samsung’s insurance division that it would not pay for the replacement costs of the damaged items, only the “depreciated value.”
“We’re not seeking a great amount of money to get rich off this.” Barwick said. “We just want to be made whole.”
“It seemed that Samsung’s priority was retrieving that phone.” Barwick told The Guardian. “I told them I’d be more than happy to allow them to inspect it to ensure the claim was authentic, but I wasn’t going to give over custody until everything was made good.”
Barwick’s story is echoed across the U.S. — Shawn Minter from Richmond experienced similar woes.
“They were only interested in retrieving the phone,” he told The Guardian. “Once I told them I was giving the phone to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), they went dark.”
Wesley Hartzog’s South Carolina phone fire left his home uninhabitable — and though Samsung had initially offered to pay for that hotel stay, their tune changed pretty quickly.
“The next day Samsung Fire & Marine insurance called me and said it wasn’t going to happen. I feel that was really unprofessional.”
With the complete cancellation of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung faces $17 billion in lost revenue. That is spendy — but not insurmountable, considering Samsung’s stock hit an all time high just as this controversy was lighting up.
But for customers whose stuff is now gone because it was sitting too close to an incendiary phone — Samsung’s defective phone might in fact be a good deal less easily survivable, especially if Samsung has decided to double down on nickel and diming its insurance claims.