SEOUL, Sept.1 (Korea Bizwire) – Consumers who were lucky enough to get their hands on the new Galaxy Note 7 are now anxious that they may have purchased a faulty product.
According to industry watchers, at least five cases of exploding Note 7s have been reported on online message boards, including two in Korea, since the phone’s launch. Two of the phones in Korea that allegedly exploded displayed severe damage, with the phones showing signs of an explosion on their left side, the back unrecognizably melted, and the screen yellowed and partially burned black.
Following the accusations, it was revealed Wednesday that Samsung had earlier in the week halted supply of the Galaxy Note 7 to the three major telecommunication companies (SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus) that distribute the phones to franchises and retailers.
Samsung officials said that the phone’s shipments are being delayed in order to allow for “additional examination of the device’s quality,” implying that there may be potential defects in its highly-anticipated phablet.
Multiple inquiries on refunds and recalls have followed at telecommunications franchises across the country.
“One customer who purchased a Galaxy Note 7 this morning (Aug. 31) called back in the afternoon asking for an exchange or a refund,” said one of the franchise operators in Seoul. “The phone didn’t have any problems but the customer was definitely anxious.”
Another staffer at a cell phone store experienced a similar inquiry.
“The customer was thinking about purchasing a Note 7, but asked whether it would be subject to a recall if it’s found to be defective later on. I said I wasn’t sure and the customer said they would come back and left the store.”
Online communities have also been filled with an onslaught of consumers expressing concerns over their newly-purchased products, with some suggesting that Samsung should recall its new phablet.
“I’ve been using the phone now for over a week, and I’ve sensed some minor heating even when it’s not charging,” wrote a user on Ppomppu, an online community where users can peruse member feedback related to smartphones. “I didn’t mind it too much until I heard of the explosions. And I’m very anxious.”
Another netizen on the Naver web portal wrote, “how long are they going to wait until someone gets hurt from an explosion? They need to make an official statement and recall the product.”
Samsung has yet to release an official statement regarding a potential defect in its phablet. But according to industry watchers, Samsung officials have retrieved the phones that allegedly exploded and are investigating the root of the problem.
The company is expected to make an official statement before week’s end, and it may consider a recall if the explosions were in fact caused by a mechanical flaw. If so, it will be the first time that Samsung will have made a large-scale recall due to a smartphone defect.
“Smartphones are something that consumers always carry in their hands, and spontaneous explosions could lead to dangerous accidents,” said an industry source. “Considering the relevant laws such as the Product Liability Act, there is a high possibility of a recall (if the phones are found defective).”
Meanwhile, the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards, which has the authority to order a recall, asked Samsung Thursday to release the findings of its in-house investigation of the Galaxy Note 7.
“We can conduct our own investigation depending on what Samsung discovers,” said an agency official. “As the matter is urgent, we expect Samsung to reveal its results soon.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)