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article imageSamsung's Galaxy Note 7 recall finally official in the U.S.

By James Walker     Sep 16, 2016 in Technology
Samsung has announced a recall of one million Galaxy Note 7 handsets sold in the U.S. It comes a month after the first reports of battery explosions and follows an earlier voluntary recall. Samsung advised customers to immediately stop using the device.
The first indication that the Galaxy Note 7 could be prone to bursting into flame came towards the end of August. After a couple of weeks of reports of batteries catching fire during charging, Samsung officially acknowledged that a flaw in the phone makes it susceptible to explosions. It began a voluntary recall of the device but has since communicated poorly with customers and been unable to get replacement devices into stores.
Two weeks after the first recall began, Samsung has now announced an official effort in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the CPSC's statement, there are now 92 confirmed reports of overheating Note 7 batteries, including 26 cases where personal injury was caused. 55 cases led to direct damage to property.
Samsung is now working with the CPSC to recover Note 7 devices from U.S. consumers. The recall affects 97 percent of the handsets sold in the country. Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC, criticised Samsung for its original recall, conducted without the involvement of the proper authorities. "As a general matter it's not a recipe for a successful recall for a company to go out on its own," he said.
Samsung has now set up a dedicated website to help Galaxy Note 7 owners return their phone. The new U.S. Note 7 Exchange Program allows customers to exchange their current Galaxy Note 7 device for an approved safe one, including a guarantee the phone will be available no later than September 21, 2016.
For customers who would rather not wait, Samsung will allow you to exchange a Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge instead. This could also appeal to people who have become disillusioned with the Note 7 due to the recall. Samsung will provide a cash refund for any purchased Note 7-specific accessories that cannot be used with the S7 and S7 edge.
As a final alternative, Samsung is now offering a full cash refund instead of a replacement handset. Some customers are likely to feel uneasy picking up a new Note 7, despite the safety approval. The option of a refund instead will help to convince these people to return their phone and get it out of use.
Samsung has had trouble getting Note 7 owners to participate in its voluntary recall program. Some owners have been concerned about the shipping delays on replacement devices, leaving them reluctant to replace their device. As an additional incentive to get people to bring their handsets back, Samsung will be giving a $25 gift card, in-store credit, in-store accessory credit or bill credit to all customers who exchange a Note 7 handset.
Customers can check if their device is included in the recall by going to Samsung's website. It explains the process of identifying the phone's serial number and using it to verify whether it's affected by the battery issue. All Note 7 units being sold today include the updated battery design. Handsets sold before September 15, 2016 are affected.
Over the past few weeks, the Galaxy Note 7 has fallen from its position as one of the best phones this year in dramatic fashion. Banned from several airlines and accompanied by a "do not use" advisory from its manufacturer, the Note 7 recall is unprecedented for the smartphone industry. It comes at a critical time for Samsung as Apple debuts its new iPhone 7 with a faster processor and improved camera.
Samsung again warned customers it is "extremely important" that all Note 7's are powered down and exchanged "immediately." It is thought the company is developing a software update that will limit the battery capacity of the phones to 60%, helping to protect customers who do not return their device.
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