Korean electronics company Samsung and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission this week renewed calls for users to power down and return their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones as an investigation into battery issues in the devices continues.
Samsung on Monday said it was asking all carrier and retail partners across the globe to stop sales and exchanges of the Note 7 in light of recent reports replacement devices offered by the company have caught fire. Samsung said all Note 7 users – whether they have an original or replacement device – should “power down and take advantage of the remedies available, including a refund at their place of purchase.”
The company followed up on Tuesday by saying it would permanently stop production of the Note 7 in the wake of the the renewed battery incidents.
The Note 7 was originally recalled in September after more than 90 reports from across the globe indicated the device’s battery began smoking or caught fire. On September 21, Samsung made replacement Note 7 devices that were deemed “safe” available to impacted consumers.
Over the weekend, however, the top four U.S. wireless carriers halted sales of the device and Samsung suspended production after fresh reports of battery issues in the replacement devices surfaced. The fifth largest wireless carrier in the United States, U.S. Cellular, also said it was stopping sales of the device. U.S. Cellular customers can exchange their Note 7 for any other device at a U.S. Cellular store, the carrier said.
The recall – which initially included the United States, Mexico, Canada and several other countries – was also extended to China this week. Approximately 191,000 Note 7 devices were recalled in that country, the Assocaited Press reported.
Sprint and T-Mobile on Monday followed up by urging all customers to immediately power down and return initial and replacement Note 7 phones.
CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye on Monday issued a statement applauding the carriers’ preemptive move to protect consumers amid reports of phones overheating and burning in “multiple states.”
“No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property,” Kaye said. “Due to the ongoing safety concerns associated with the Galaxy Note 7 phones, it I the right move for Samsung to suspend the sale and exchange of all Galaxy Note 7s. I also appreciate the safety leadership role the wireless carriers and retailers are playing by temporarily stopping the sale of the Note 7 and not providing the Note 7 model as a replacement device.”
With the Note 7 off the table, some carreirs are already adjusting their fourth quarter marketing strategy.
Verizon spokeswoman Kelly Crummey on Monday told Reuters the carrier will likely focus its holiday marketing on Apple’s new iPhone 7 and Google’s new Pixel smartphone since there was more “certainty” around those devices.
The full impact of the Note 7 fumble for Samsung remains to be seen in terms of not only its brand reputation and financials, but also accountability among the company’s staff.
The Note 7 was the second device – behind the Galaxy S7 earlier this year – to be launched under Samsung’s new mobile head, D.J. Koh. Koh took over the mobile unit in December 2015.