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Update: Samsung’s too-hot-to-handle Galaxy Note 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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?

Comments
Member

Presumably it will be easy to contact people about phone-recalls by leaving a message from the network provider, plus any other publicity. One source says there have been 35 overheated phones out of 2.5 million sold, and that 0.1% of the phones (2500) are actually affected, but a full voluntary recall is in progress.

My first conspiratorial thought was whether someone in the USA had arranged a way to discredit a Korean company in competition with one of theirs, but that thought perished – wouldn’t happen, would it.

I suppose inflammatory phrases like “explosive revelation”, “a burnt-out wreck of twisted metal” are par for the course to get people’s attention, but it all seems a bit phoney when publicising a serious issue that Samsung seem to be tackling responsibly.

Elsewhere I have suggested that all products that could become a safety hazard should be compulsorily registered at the time of purchase by the retailer with essential purchaser’s details, stored in a database, so contact can be made in the event of a repair or recall being necessary. But, as in all other circumstances like this, if purchasers do not respond to best efforts, there seems little that can be done without raiding their premises.

Member

And if I said Samsung,s battery factory where 4 million exploding batteries were manufactured is in the “Land of built to a Price ” would you get the hint ,and no its not Korea. Never mind TM has approved (today ) Hinkley nuke power station so I should just accept they are now “good guys ” and that contrary to what “Uncle Sam ” says China is not part of the European “fuel security ” issue or even the statement that “our security is compromised ” by allowing Chinese tech. There again the Chinese did a bit of “leaning ” themselves , say no more. By the way you do know Chinese government policy is to deny re-entry of any Chinese built faulty equipment , I wonder what Samsung did with the 4 million batteries ? Land fill ?

Member

In case anybody thinks I am “getting at Samsung ” that is not the case , I have one of their SS commercial microwaves and I am very happy with it , but unless somebody can prove otherwise, I think it is manufactured in South Korea.

Member

iPhone 6 components are made worldwide, largely assembled in China (hence “made in China”) from what I can find, and batteries?: Samsung in South Korea. Huizhou Desay Battery in China.”

I don’t know where the information has come from that there have been “4 million exploding batteries”.

Member

It seems to be Samsung’s quality control that has been inadequate. Irrespective of where components are manufactured under contract, the client company remains responsible for their specification, design, performance, and safety. For such a seriously defective device to reach the market place in such volumes shows that corners were cut by the client [as well as by the battery manufacturer] in not examining every stage of production and testing comprehensively. I note [!] that Samsung’s voluntary recall process has been criticised in America and that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has now stepped in to impose a compulsory recall in order to speed up the return of the devices and the protection of the public from the fire risk. I suggest the UK needs such a government body as recalls and safety alerts here are haphazard and Trading Standards is ineffectual.

Member

I should have said Potentially exploding batteries malcolm and its the Galaxy Note 7 , although ,you are right its not the first case of this in earlier models.

Member

Exactly John , they were trying to “outdo ” Apple,s Iphone 7 . They wanted a bigger battery in a slim model so upped the capacity , there was no choice but to make the separators between the anode and cathode thinner to increase capacity -professor Lee Sang-yong and that caused failure –IHS Markit Technology analyst Wayne Lam- “the issue comes from weak controls in manufacturing rather than poor or unsafe design . So we are back to manufacturing .

Member

.duncan – sorry for the confusion. I do know its the Galaxy 7 I was pointing out that the iPhone 6 batteries (along with other components and assembly) were also made in the “land of made to a price” (although neither phone is cheap, so the price might be appropriate to normally decent quality).

One report (trusted reviews.com) says that Note 7 batteries were made 60-70% by Samsung SDI (are they in Korea?) and 30-40% by ATL China. Supplies by ATL have been upped to help meet the quantity replacements required. Which one is the land of made to a price and which one produced the defective batteries I wonder? It sounds like it may be the Samsung maufacture.