Samsung insists that its replacement Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are “safe to use” — despite at least five reports of these devices melting, catching fire, and smoking uncontrollably.
The South Korean electronics company is currently at the centre of an unprecedented catastrophe after dozens of customers reported that their new Note 7 phones — the latest high-end flagship device from the company — were melting and exploding due to battery faults.
It has since issued a global recall of the phone — at an estimated cost of a billion dollars — and began giving customers replacement phones that it said were safe to use. These phones were marked on the packaging, and by a green battery icon on the screen.
But since replacements began being sent out, there have been at least five reports (all from the US) of malfunctioning Note 7 devices.
One started smoking uncontrollably on a US Southwest Airlines flight before takeoff, burning through the carpet — an incident that could have been fatal had it taken place midflight. Another melted while being held by a 13-year-old girl. A third set fire on a nightstand — hospitalising the owner because of smoke inhalation.
There have even been multiple reports that Samsung is halting production of the Note 7 altogether. (A spokesperson said that the company is “temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters.”)
Given these troubling reports about the Galaxy Note 7 replacement devices, Business Insider reached out to the company to ask if it still believes the phones are safe for customers to use and charge. The answer? Yes.
“Yes, the replacement Note7 devices are safe to use,” a UK-based spokesperson told Business Insider. “All new Note7 devices feature a green battery icon to give customers reassurance that their device is safe to charge.”
This statement is troublingly inconsistent with the experiences of some Galaxy Note 7 replacement device owners, if their recollections are accurate. The owner of the Note 7 that melted on the Southwest Airlines flight specifically told The Verge that it had displayed the green icon before malfunctioning.
Most carriers and phone sellers are no longer taking the risk. In the US, the four major phone carriers — T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon — have halted all sales and exchanges of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
In the UK, Vodafone has paused pre-orders and and replacements of the phone, while O2 has not sold the phone since the exchange program began. Carphone Warehouse’s pre-order scheme is still open, and its replacements are ongoing.