A third of Europeans who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 have yet to return it, despite the smartphone’s risk of catastrophically malfunctioning.
Samsung is pushing out an update to all European customers that still have a Note 7 that will cap the recalled device’s battery charge at 60% of its full capacity.
It’s a move that the South Korean company says will “reduce customer risk,” as well as encourage customers to return their devices.
The Galaxy Note 7 has been a catastrophic screw-up for Samsung. It was initially well-reviewed, in a year when expectations for archrival Apple’s next iPhone were tepid. But then it started malfunctioning — overheating, smoking, melting, or even exploding.
Samsung issued a global recall, but not before faulty devices reportedly injured children, set cars on fire, gutted hotel rooms, and — perhaps most terrifyingly — overheated and started smoking on a US passenger plane before take-off.
When supposedly “safe” replacement devices also started to malfunction, Samsung pulled the plug and discontinued the line entirely. It estimates the recall and subsequent discontinuation of the device will cost it at least $5.3 billion (£4.3 billion), and it’s still not clear what the reason for the fault is.
That discontinuation was on October 11. Two weeks later, Samsung says that two-thirds of European devices have now been returned and replaced.
It’s not clear exactly how many Note 7’s were sold in Europe, though it’s likely less than sales in the US or South Korea. Its official launch on the continent was pushed back then cancelled entirely, so European customers could only obtain the device via early delivery pre-order offers, rather than buying it over the counter.
A Samsung spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The 60% battery update will roll out in Europe on Monday, October 31 — but it’s not clear why Samsung is only doing this now. It took the step in South Korea back in mid-September; it presumably could have chosen to do so elsewhere at the same time, but didn’t.
So why aren’t people returning their Note 7’s? Part of it will likely be difficulties communicating with the company, and having to go through the time-consuming ordeal of boxing and returning the device.
But some die-hard Samsung fans say they love the Note 7 so much they intend to keep it — despite the explosion risk.
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