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Samsung Galaxy Note7 Recall: Consumers Unhappy, No Refund, wait weeks for Exchange

Following sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 have been halted, Samsung Electronics (Malaysia) is asking Malaysians to stop using the Galaxy Note7.

Samsung-Galaxy Note7_Black-1

Over the past few weeks, the issue of overheating and exploding batteries of the Galaxy Note7 have been growing. Samsung has since admitted a battery cell issue. There were 35 incidents reported (17 have happened in Korea, 17 in the US, and 1 in Taiwan) as of September 1st. Recently there was one incident that set a vehicle on fire and another one in a hotel room that caused nearly $1,400 (about RM5800) worth of damage.

Battery inside the Samsung Galaxy Note7

Battery inside the Samsung Galaxy Note7

On September 1st, the biggest smartphone maker in the world announced a device exchange program for customers in every country (except China). These safe units of the Galaxy Note7 will arrive in Singapore starting September 16, most of Europe on September 19, in Australia on September 21 and in Malaysia starting 29 September onwards (3 weeks from now).

“Our number one priority is the safety of our customers. We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note7s and exchange them as soon as possible,” says DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible and in compliance with related regulations. We sincerely thank our customers for their understanding and patience.”

The device recall has been a nightmare for customers so far according to technology site Gizmodo. On Friday, it noted that customers in the US don’t have a clear idea on who to contact or when replacement devices might be available. Mobile operators including, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all confirmed to Gizmodo that they have not received replacement devices from Samsung. “The problem is that customers—and carriers—are being left in the dark.”

In Singapore, owners of the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note7 have been voicing their unhappiness on social media over the exchange programme. Hundreds of irked customers posted their feedback and queries about the exchange programme on Samsung Singapore’s Facebook page, especially when the website for customers to register for their phone replacement crashed.

Galaxy Note7 users in Singapore and Malaysia will not be able to opt for a refund or a phone of another model, options which have been offered in some countries. In the US, affected consumers may opt for a loaned Galaxy J phone upon returning the Galaxy Note7 and use it until the replacement stock is ready. Alternatively, they can get a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge trade-in and receive a refund for all Note7 accessories, the price difference between the two devices, plus an additional $25 gift card.

Meanwhile, airlines around the world have prohibited the usage of Samsung Galaxy Note7 in flights and in checked in luggage. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is advising consumers in the US to not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraff while India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now banned the handsets from checked luggage.

Australian airlines Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have told passengers not to power up or charge their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on its planes due to concerns over the phone’s fire-prone batteries. Singapore Airlines also banned the device onboard their aircraft.

Picture from a MalaysianWireless reader.

Picture from a MalaysianWireless reader.

In Malaysia, MAS and AirAsia have both announced yesterday that passengers are not permitted to use the Galaxy Note7.

With the recall and the fact that Galaxy Note 7 sales were stopped just two weeks after it shipped, the ban won’t affect too many people. However, there are still reportedly between 1 million and 2.5 million devices in the wild, and many people may need to wait one to three weeks to do the exchange.

Customers in Malaysia are encouraged to contact the Samsung Malaysia Careline at 1800-88-7799 for further assistance.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy