SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Korea Bizwire) – It has been over a month since exchange and refund programs for the Galaxy Note 7 began, but recent data reveals that thousands are still holding on to their phablets with telecommunications companies showing an average recovery rate of roughly 40 percent.
According to data compiled by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the average rate stood at 36 percent as of November 3.
The big three mobile carriers – SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus – reported recovery rates of 32.5 percent, 36.4 percent, and 42 percent, respectively, while altteul phone, budget carrier networks, settled their rates at 24.9 percent. At least 400,000 Note 7s were sold in Korea.
Companies began their exchange and refund programs here on October 13.
With the low initial return rates at hand, Samsung Electronics and the big three carriers extended various benefits, including subsidies, gift vouchers, and even a 50 percent exemption on remaining installments, for Note 7 users switching over to the Galaxy S7 series and agreeing to purchase Samsung flagship phones – the Galaxy S8 series and the Note 8 – scheduled for 2017.
Starting October 29, Samsung also implemented a software update that limits maximum battery charge to 60 percent.
Officials point out that one of the factors discouraging phablet returns is freebies that were given out when the Galaxy Note 7 was first launched. Although Samsung and the big three carriers allowed customers to return their phablets whether they returned the free gifts or not, other smartphone distributors are demanding that customers return the gifts unopened, and even compensate for gifts not in their original packaging.
With the low rates at hand, Samsung remains hopeless. Despite promising the government that it would recover all faulty products by the end of the year, current circumstances make it unlikely that the smartphone giant will live up to its promise, especially when it lacks the legal basis to force customers to turn in their phones.
“It’s highly doubtful that Samsung will meet its end-year goal to complete refund and exchange programs,” said a government official. “The government, Samsung, and mobile carriers need to seek a better plan to swiftly recover the faulty phablets.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)