Last month Samsung ordered a global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 phone following the explosive revelation that a fault with its lithium battery had caused several fires.
In one case, the phone is said to have reduced a jeep to a burnt-out wreck of twisted metal after it was left charging on the passenger seat.
Several airlines and the US’ Federal Aviation Administration have now taken the unprecedented step of banning the phone from being used, charged or stowed in checked luggage on their flights due to the fire risk it presents.
Thankfully, very few of the jumbo Samsung phones have made it into the UK market, as it is yet to officially go on sale here. But if it had, would the current product recall system in the UK be able to cope?
Problems with product recall
Samsung is already worried that people are ignoring its global recall and has reacted by rolling out an update that will cap the phone’s ability to recharge beyond 60%, in the hope that this will prevent any further fires.
And with the current state of the product recall system in the UK, Samsung has every reason to be worried.
Research by UK charity Electrical Safety First has found the success rate of recalls in this country to be rarely more than 10% to 20%, despite the huge risks of electrical shock, fire or even death that faulty electrical items can present.
This means that millions of dangerous items remain in homes across the country. Indeed, almost a year since the problems with Whirlpool tumble dryers were identified, there are still millions of people who have the fire-risk models in their homes.
Is my Samsung phone affected?
The Galaxy Note 7 has yet to be officially launched in the UK, so British consumers should be relatively untouched by the recall. Even so, we’ve found several Note 7’s for sale in the UK on eBay and other online platforms.
If you do own the model, you should turn the device off immediately. Samsung has agreed to replace all handsets with a new one and has said it will contact any affected UK customers by the 19 September to arrange this.
If Samsung hasn’t contacted you then you can talk to the retailer or operator who sold you the phone to arrange the exchange. Anyone affected can also contact Samsung customer services on 0330 726 7864.
And if you’ve pre-ordered the Galaxy Note 7, it looks like you’ll have to wait a little longer to get a fault-free model.
If you’re concerned, we’ve produced a guide to your rights during a product recall and how to check if a product you own has been recalled.
Update: 10 October 2016
Production of the newly released Galaxy Note 7 has reportedly been paused following claims that the replacement devices still pose a fire risk.
After Samsung ordered a recall of the Galaxy Note 7 last month, it released a statement explaining that the newly released smartphone was overheating due to a ‘rare’ manufacturing error. The error allowed the battery’s ‘anode-to-cathode’ (negative and positive electrodes) to come into contact.
Replacement devices have since been issued, but then last week a flight in the US was evacuated after a replacement Galaxy Note 7 was found to be emitting smoke in the cabin. This was then followed by another replacement Galaxy Note 7 found to be filling a bedroom with smoke.
Samsung has acknowledged concerns raised about the replacement devices in a statement released on 10 October and has committed ‘move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible’. Meanwhile, the launch of the new smartphone in the UK continues to be delayed.
Update: 11 October
Samsung has ceased production of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after reports of the devices catching fire.
In a statement today the tech giant said:
‘For the benefit of consumers’ safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production.’
The Galaxy Note 7 has not been launched in the UK, but if you’ve pre-ordered the Note 7 online from a UK retailer you can cancel your order and get a refund now or any time up to 14 days from the date of delivery.
So, have you had a product recalled before? How did you know about the recall?