According to customer reports, some replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are experiencing similar overheating issues to the ones that caused a global recall on the devices as well as the banning of the phone from U.S. flights by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The issues have, thus far, only been acknowledged for replacements issued in South Korea; Samsung’s home country. The company states, however, that it is conducting “close examinations” of the reports. To this point, Samsung has reported that the new issues are “completely unrelated to batteries” and arose due to problems in the phone’s manufacturing process.
The overheating and exploding phone issue has been devastating to the electronics giant as its entire stock of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s were recalled. In a demonstration of the severity of the issue, Samsung took the additional step of advising all owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to immediately power down their devices, avoid charging them, and contact the company for replacement.
A software hotfix was also issued, presumably to try to prevent phones that had not been returned from overheating and exploding. The software prevents the phone from charging its battery beyond 60% of its total capacity – effectively cutting the battery life of the phone in half. The operating system will also remind the owner of the recall every time the phone is plugged in for charging.
Much of the delay in movement on a recall action in the United States rests with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. While a company can issue a voluntary recall on its own at any time, formalized exchange and replacement policies and procedures can’t be implemented until a formal recall is issued by the CPSC. The agency had failed to take that step until just a couple of weeks ago. Samsung’s initial statement about the dangers posed by exploding Galaxy Note 7s came on September 2nd.
Stock now exists in U.S. stores to replace approximately 75% of the Galaxy Note 7s in the country. Those looking to purchase a new Galaxy Note 7 are advised to check the box containing the phone prior to purchase. Phones deemed safe by Samsung will have a sticker with an ‘S’ on the box. The area containing the phone’s serial number and other identifying information will also contain a small black block in the lower right section.
In the meantime, all eyes are on South Korea as owners of replacement phones wonder if their phones are truly safe to use this time.