Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7 a few weeks ago to overwhelmingly positive reviews. One thing none of the reviews could tell you ahead of time was that the Note 7 shows a slight tendency to explode. That’s certainly not what you want in a new flagship smartphone. Samsung has fired up a recall this week, so what should you do if you bought one or still want to?
Those who have already purchased the Note 7 up to this point should work on getting it exchanged or refunded. According to Samsung, it has received 30-40 reports of Note 7 devices catching fire while charging. Out of the millions that were sold, that’s not very many phones. The odds of the phone actually catching fire are minuscule, but it’s still enough of a problem that you should take action.
All we know about the cause is that some of the batteries used in the Note 7 are at fault. Some owners may have also been using sketchy third-party charging cables, though this still shouldn’t make a battery explode. Not all phones are affected, but Samsung has not released any guidelines on which serial numbers are bad. Perhaps the company doesn’t know, or it may not be possible to track down all the bad batches. The bottom line — if you have a Note 7, it’s part of the recall.
Samsung is running the recall on its own in cooperation with carrier partners. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is not involved, which makes the process a little murky. If you bought your phone from a carrier, you can call or go into a store to return it without incurring any fees. (Note: Some carrier reps are not properly informed about this, so make sure you can point to the press release Samsung has released.) If you purchased directly from Samsung, call the help number listed on the recall page.
It is not clear what will become of phones that were resold or imported. Because Samsung is doing all this proactively without the CPSC, there aren’t any rules about how to handle this. That makes buying the Note 7 from third-parties problematic. No official retail channels are still selling the Note 7 right now. More stock with new batteries will begin showing up this week, which is what Samsung will use to replace defective Note 7s. Some carriers are also offering the option of swapping for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and getting a refund for the difference. If you see a Note 7 for sale on eBay or other reselling sites, don’t buy it. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to swap it yourself and it’s guaranteed to be one of the recalled phones right now.
Even going forward, it’s going to be impossible to know if that Note 7 listed on Craigslist or via a third-party Amazon seller is one of the recalled batch or not. You should only buy the Note 7 from official sales channels like carrier stores and Samsung itself.