Samsung has announced a recall of Note 7s along with a halting of sales after concerns of faulty components causing battery explosions. That’s scary, and product recalls aren’t fun for anyone to deal with. Here’s what you need to know about the recall and how to handle it with your own Note 7.
Should I keep using my Note 7?
Samsung recommends that you power down your Galaxy Note7 and return it to your place of purchase to arrange a remedy of your choice.
Once you have turned off your device you should not charge the Note7.
Several air travel bodies have also weighed in on in-flight use of the Note 7.
The FAA has officially advised against using or charging Note 7s while on flights, which adds a bit of weight to the “return your phone” argument. Three airlines in Australia have gone a bit further, placing effective “bans” on the phones coming onto their planes. Transport Canada has also issued a statement, recommending “[the Note 7] be carried in the cabin, where an incident can be immediately mitigated, and not in checked baggage.”
Depending on where you bought your Note 7 from you may be waiting a little bit to get a fresh one. If you have turned in your Note 7 and will wait for a new one, consider some cheap phones to hold you over; or if you’re going to move away from the Note 7, we have some suggestions for high-end replacements.
What’s causing phones to be recalled?
Samsung’s official statement on the recall says that the issue relates to the battery cells used in some Note 7s, which lines up with the earlier reports of phones catching fire and exploding. Low-quality battery cells are susceptible to overheating and failing when charged and used heavily.
Given the number of reports that Samsung is investigating, a recall was to be expected.
How do I know if my Note 7 has been recalled?
If you bought your Note 7 brand new before mid-September, chances are your phone has been recalled. Samsung will mark boxes of “safe” Note 7s, and provide an online form to check IMEI numbers of phones in order to see if individual devices are affected by the battery issue. If your Note 7 box lacks the “S” mark and black square on its label, chances are it’s affected.
Rules about how customers with recalled products are notified and handled differs by country, but in general we can expect that all owners will be notified of the recall. A recent example of the Shield Tablet recall over similar issues shows just how this can be handled: customers are notified or can go to a website to check if their tablet (or in this case phone) is being recalled, and can quickly find out what to do with it and how to receive a replacement.
Retailers and carriers have handled things differently in various parts of the world, but for the most part they have now figured out a process for taking in old Note 7s.
It seems China is the one place where the Note 7 hasn’t been recalled, as reports are claiming that a different battery supplier was used in China.
What do I with my recalled Note 7?
As is the case with any other product recall — phones and tablets in particular — you should follow the instructions set out by Samsung, the carrier or retailer you bought it from for the recall as soon as you can. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to give up your phone, but there’s a reason why it’s being recalled and that means you should follow it.
When your phone is recalled, Samsung will replace it — the process is expected to take a few weeks. Here’s how things are breaking down around the world:
Samsung has issued a statement informing customers that they will be able to replace their Note 7s with new devices after they’ve been approved by the U.S. authorities. (And in the meantime, get a Galaxy J-series loaner phone.)
Customers will also be given the option of trading their units in for either a new Note 7 or a Galaxy S7/S7 edge and a refund for the difference. All accessories can also be exchanged for their S7 equivalents.
Samsung is also offering a $25 phone bill credit, or a $25 gift card, for the inconvenience. The company recommends calling 1-800-SAMSUNG to arrange a mail exchange, or to return the unit to the retail store (such as Best Buy) from which they purchased the unit.
T-Mobile is letting customers return their Note 7 in any store for a full refund of the purchase price and any accessories you may have bought. You’ll then be given the choice of buying another phone or receiving a new Note 7 when they are put on sale again, if you wish.
Sprint says that customers can return their Note 7 to any of its stores), and will be given a “comparable device” to use in the meantime.
Verizon says it has stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7 and “through September 30, 2016, Verizon is waiving the restocking fee for any customers who purchased a Galaxy Note7 and wish to return or exchange it.” Thanks, Verizon.
AT&T says that it is working with Samsung to facilitate exchanges of the Note 7, and is allowing customers to return their devices to the store for another smartphone. They will also refund any accessories purchased directly from them.
U.S. Cellular has not yet announced its plans for handling the recall, but we assume will offer similar services to the others.
Samsung launched an official recall in Canada, offering a replacement Note 7, Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge. Canadians looking for a Note 7 exchange can register and receive their swap at CanadaNote7exchange.expertinquiry.com; if you want a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, that can be accomplished at the carrier or retailer where you bought the Note 7.
TELUS has said it will voluntarily recall its customers’ Galaxy Note 7: “Consistent with TELUS’ policy of putting customers first, and because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority, we have suspended sales of the device across all TELUS corporate, dealer and retail locations, as well as online. We are working closely with Samsung to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible for our customers.”
Rogers says that it is going to stop selling the Note 7 immediately and will allow customers to exchange or replace their devices, or get a loaner. “After being notified by Samsung that they have stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7 due to reported safety issues, we immediately suspended shipments and sales of the device in all our stores and through our website. Samsung is working on a replacement program and we’ll continue to work with them to ensure the process is seamless for our customers. In the meantime, customers can visit their nearest Rogers store to exchange their Note 7 or get a loaner device.”
Bell says that it too has suspended sales of the Note 7 and is working with Samsung to help customers exchange devices quickly. “Bell has suspended sales of the Galaxy Note 7 and we are contacting all customers affected by the issue. We’re working with Samsung to ensure these customers receive replacement phones as quickly as possible.”
In the UK, Samsung halted sales before the Note 7’s street date of September 2. Some British networks were running promotional deals where pre-order customers could get devices early, and so some are already in the wild and will need to be replaced. For more information, Samsung directs UK customers to its customer service line at 0330 7261000.
Samsung says it’ll start exchanging affected Note 7s from September 19 in the UK and Ireland. The company adds that this will be the priority before restarting new sales of the device.
Samsung was yet to commence deliveries of the Note 7 in India when it announced the recall, so there aren’t any units in the wild that need to be exchanged. Samsung is urging customers that have pre-ordered the phone to wait until it restarts sales, and is throwing in a free Gear VR and a ₹3,500 ($50) content voucher redeemable on the Oculus store to those that have booked the phone.
Can I bring my Galaxy Note 7 on an airplane?
In the wake of Samsung’s Note 7 recall, Australian airlines Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have banned passengers from using or charging their Note 7s onboard flights (though devices may still be brought onboard switched off.) The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration “strongly advises” against using or charging Note 7 phones onboard planes. Again, that shouldn’t affect your ability to travel with a Note 7 if it’s switched off and stowed in hand luggage.
Since the Galaxy Note 7 has now been officially recalled in the U.S., the FAA’s official stance on recalled products comes into effect: “if the device is recalled by the manufacturer, airline crew and passengers will not be able to bring recalled batteries or electronics that contain recalled batteries in the cabin of an aircraft, or in carry-on and checked baggage.”
Transport Canada issued a statement on September 9th stating that it acknowledges the issue with the Galaxy Note 7 and recommends customers travel with the Note 7, turned off and not charged, in the cabin itself, since a fire in the checked baggage section is much more difficult for a plane’s suppression system to contain.
What’s more, it’s unclear how the situation might change later during the recall process — with no clear way for Note 7 owners to prove to authorities whether their device is a “safe” replacement or an “unsafe” original model.
How can I trust that my replacement phone is okay?
Samsung will mark boxes of “safe” Note 7s, and provide an online form to check IMEI numbers of phones in order to see if individual devices are affected by the battery issue.
Of course this is all about trust — no matter how safe and secure a company is in its manufacturing processes, quality control standards can never be 100% perfect, and “bad” units of any phone will always get out. The real issue in this case is that the “bad” units aren’t screens with an odd tint or a headphone jack that doesn’t work — they’re phones that could potentially be dangerous.
The recall has happened — either you trust that Samsung has reliably fixed the issues that were causing problems in the first Note 7s, or you move on to a different phone.