The Samsung Galaxy Note7 recently made headlines all over the world not because of its novel features but rather because there were numerous reports of devices catching fire. These reports – which included both injuries and property damage – eventually revealed an extremely dangerous battery defect present in some of the devices.
While Samsung initially stated that the batteries in the defective devices exploded due to “a very rare manufacturing process error” that led to an anode and cathode touching, the company nonetheless decided to pull the phone off the market just two weeks after its original release and ultimately to commit to a voluntary recall prompted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Samsung then shipped more than 500,000 replacement units of the Galaxy Note7 to carriers like T-Mobile and retail stores in the U.S. and launched a software update designed to help Note7 owners determine whether their devices are part of the recall. Unaffected devices will display a green battery icon in the status bar while those that are part of the recall will display a safety alert prompting them to exchange the device for a safe model.
It’s estimated that 1 million devices have been affected by the issue, but despite the danger of burns and other injuries as well as confirmed cases of major property damage most Note7 owners have continued to use their devices. What many people don’t know is that now that the CPSC has officially recalled the Note7 it’s actually illegal to use in some settings (e.g., on airplanes).
What Should Note7 Owners Do Now?
Most major carriers have announced their recall options. T-Mobile, in particular, has stepped up to do everything it can to help customers through the transition and to encourage owners of the recalled devices to exchange them for updated Note7s without the faulty batteries.
The carrier is letting customers return recalled Note7s in any store for either a new CPSC-approved Galaxy Note7 replacement or a full refund (including the cost of accessories) they can use to buy any device in T-Mobile’s inventory. Additionally, customers will not have to pay any restocking fees, the free Netflix subscription and Gear Fit or SD card they may received with purchase during pre-order will be theirs to keep, and T-Mobile is giving all customers affected by the recall a one-time $25 credit on their bills.
The CPSC is urging all current Note7 users who purchased the handsets before September 15 to turn the devices off and keep them off. “Consumers should immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note7 devices purchased before September 15, 2016,” a CPSC announcement read. “Contact the wireless carrier, retail outlet or Samsung.com where you purchased your device to receive free of charge a new Galaxy Note7 with a different battery, a refund or a new replacement device.”
Confirming the Note7 Is Safe
To ensure that consumers feel confident using the replacement handsets, Samsung is marking boxes of new “safe” Note 7s to make it easy to identify the replacement models. Note7 boxes with the reissued phones will have either an “S” mark or black square (or both) on the label. Anyone unsure about whether a particular handset was manufactured during the recall period can check the IMEI number at Samsung’s official recall website.