The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall on Thursday, Sept. 15 for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, citing the devices as “serious fire and burn hazards.” According to the CPSC, there have been 92 reports of the smartphone’s battery overheating in the U.S. alone, with 26 cases reporting burns and 55 cases of property damage.
“The lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers,” wrote the CPSC, which estimates one million units to be impacted by the recall.
Nearly two weeks ago, Samsung began its own efforts to replace the phones, citing "a battery cell issue." Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung's mobile business, told reporters in a news conference that an investigation revealed “a tiny problem in the manufacturing process so it was very difficult to find out.”
At the time, the company came under criticism from the CPSC for not working with the agency to more formally address the issue. "Companies should not be putting out unilateral recall announcements," a government official told Consumerist on Sept. 2. "It does not serve consumers well to simply say a product will be recalled without coordination regarding the scope and remedies."
The federal agency urges customers to call their place of purchase, to call the Samsung toll-free number (844-365-6197) or to visit the company’s website. The recall page also leads to a page where consumers can file a report with the CPSC.
“This recall involves the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone sold before September 15, 2016,” writes 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. Samsung is printed on the top front of the phone and Galaxy Note7 is printed on the back of the phone.”
Prior to the CPSC recall, the federal agency had warned users to “power them down and stop charging or using the device.” A similar advisory was sent from the the Federal Aviation Administration, which advised "passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage."
In a preliminary report to the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, Samsung disclosed that an error in producing battery cells resulted in negative and positive battery poles to come in contact with each other leading to excessive heat. The company noted; however, that more research needs to be done to find “the exact cause” behind the battery mishaps.
The battery issue, reported The Associated Press at the time, stems from one of Samsung’s two battery suppliers. According to Bloomberg, the main supplier for Galaxy Note 7 batteries was Samsung SDI Co.—Samsung’s sister company. For the new devices, reports ZDNet, batteries will be sourced from China’s ATL, which was the company’s secondary supplier.
In Samsung's global replacement program, 2.5 million devices (or 0.1 percent of all Galaxy Note 7s sold) were flagged for replacement and sales were halted in 10 countries. As per their refund and exchange strategy, owners of the smartphone could exchange it for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge or receive a Samsung J Series loaner phone for the time being.
The newly manufactured gadgets will roll out after receiving CPSC approval.