U.S. wireless carriers have halted sales of Samsung’s troubled Galaxy Note 7 once again after new reports surfaced of batteries smoking and catching fire in supposedly safe replacement devices. Samsung on Monday also said it was “temporarily” adjusting its Note 7 production schedule to conduct further assessments of the device’s safety.
T-Mobile on Sunday said it was temporarily stopping all sales of the new Galaxy Note 7, including issuance of replacement Note 7 devices for those phones impacted by the original recall last month. T-Mobile said the move came out of “an abundance of caution” for customer well-being and encouraged its subscribers to power down and turn in their Note 7 devices.
The Un-carrier said customers will be able to bring in their recalled or replacement Note 7 devices, as well as accompanying accessories, back to T-Mobile for a full refund and can choose a new phone from any device in the carrier’s lineup. All restocking charges will be waived, and customers who bought the Note 7 during the pre-order period will get to keep their free Netflix subscription and Gear Fit or SD card, T-Mobile said. Additionally, T-Mobile is issuing an $25 bill credit for any costs incurred as part of the exchange.
AT&T has also halted sales and exchanges of the Note 7 in light of the new battery reports, a representative said Monday. Like T-Mobile, AT&T said it is instead encouraging customers to exchange their Note 7 for another device.
“Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Note7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” an AT&T spokesman said. “We still encourage customers with a recalled Note7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice.”
A Sprint spokeswoman on Monday afternoon confirmed the carrier halted sales of replacement Note 7 devices “pending the conclusion of the investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung.” The spokeswoman said Sprint customers with concerns about their Note 7 can exchange it for any other device.
A Verizon spokeswoman similarly confirmed Verizon suspended Note 7 sales and replacements and is offering exchanges to customers at the original point of purchase. Verizon customers who purchased the Note 7 online can also exchange the device at Verizon retail locations, the spokeswoman said.
The shift comes shortly after the carriers resumed sales of the Note 7 in the wake of its initial recall and follows reports of continued battery problems in the new, “safe” Note 7 devices shipped to replace those impacted by the recall. According to one report last week, a replacement Note 7 began smoking aboard a Southwest Airlines aircraft, causing the plane to be evacuated.
Following that incident, Samsung on Friday issued a statement saying it took the new report “seriously” and was moving “quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause.” The company said it “will share findings as soon as possible” and is continuing to work with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – which issued a recall for the device in September – throughout its review.
Samsung said if an additional safety issue is discovered, it will work with the CPSC to take immediate action.
On Monday, Samsung said it was “temporarily adjusting” its Note 7 production schedule to allow for additional safety and quality checks, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Though Samsung said it appreciates consumer patience while it works through the issue, it remains to be seen just how much the fire issues will impact the company’s reputation.
After the initial recall, a survey of 1,000 Samsung customers found a third lost confidence in the brand and wouldn’t buy another device from the company. Samsung, however, said around 90 percent of Note 7 users participating in its recall efforts in the United States and South Korea opted to pick up a replacement Note 7.
While the Note 7 debacle will certainly hurt Samsung’s financials, it doesn’t seem likely to sink the tech giant.
Samsung last week said it is expecting the rise of its quarterly operating profit to slow but continue to grow to 7.8 trillion won ($7 billion) in the third quarter.
This story has been updated to include comments from Verizon and Sprint about their current Note 7 policy.