By Nicole Encalada, International Business Writer
Not long after its much anticipated release, Samsung Electronics Co. hurried to globally recall its Galaxy Note 7s due to reports of battery fires and combustions of the smartphone.
Retailers immediately began pulling the new Galaxy phone off of shelves and customers were quick to claim their refunds.
Samsung took to resolving the controversy by issuing a new software update which would prevent the phone from becoming fully charged, minimizing the risk of overheating the battery.
However, Samsung China commented on the incidents saying, “The test results show that the damage to the device was caused by external heating.” According to Amperex Technology Ltd., Samsung’s supplier for smartphone batteries sold in China, tests were conducted with Samsung that proved the batteries did not cause the fire. They concluded that the heat source did not come from the battery itself.
The global recall is going to cost Samsung approximately over $1 billion. Samsung will end up recalling 2.5 million units, 1 million of which were sold in the United States before September 15. While it has been the largest recall in smartphone history, Samsung has earned recognition for its quick decisiveness.
However, within the past week, regulators in South Korea have warned customers to not turn on or charge their Galaxy Note 7s, especially on airplanes. This suggestion was enforced by the United States Federal Aviation Administration.
There were other issues within the recall itself. While new sales of the device have ceased, some stores and carriers have continued selling the new Galaxy smartphone, even after the recall was issued. More surprisingly, many customers continue to use the phone against the advice of regulators.
In Hong Kong, customers were told that their devices would be safe for use due to having a different battery, only for Samsung to reveal the next day that about 500 of the smartphones would in fact need to be recalled.
Although most of Samsung’s customers have been inconvenienced by the recall, others have endured more physical burdens. The faulty batteries have been tied to 26 burns and 55 cases of property damage, reported the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
It isn’t surprising that a lawsuit has already been filed against Samsung. In the lawsuit, Florida man, Johnathan Strobel, claims the explosion of his device burned through his pants and caused him severe second-degree burns to his right thigh and left thumb.
Even more frightening, on a recent flight from Norfolk to Atlanta, smoke began emerging from an aisle of the Delta flight which was caused by another combustion of the Galaxy Note 7s. Passengers were alarmed to say the least by the fire which may have resembled engine failure to some flyers.
Inevitably, this controversy has stung Samsung’s reputation and even caused a $14 billion decrease in its market value, according to the New York Times.
After all the issues Samsung has endured in the wake of its costly recall, the company decided to sell shares in Seagate Technology PLC, Rambus Inc., ASML Holding, and Sharp Corp. in hopes that the sales generated will assist in its estimated $1 billion expenses.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 27th print edition.
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