South Korean company suspends sales of Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after finding batteries exploded while charging.
Samsung Electronics has renewed calls to consumers to stop using its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible, as more reports of phones catching fire emerged even after the company’s global recall.
The fresh call from the South Korean company, the world’s largest smartphone maker, came on Saturday after US authorities urged consumers to switch off the Note 7 and not to use or charge it during a flight.
Several airlines around the world asked travellers not switch on the smartphone or put it in checked baggage, with some carriers banning the phone on flights.
In a statement posted on its website, Samsung asked users around the world to “immediately” return their existing Galaxy Note 7 and get a replacement.
“We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them as soon as possible,” Koh Dong-jin, Samsung’s mobile president, said in the statement.
“We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange programme as conveniently as possible.”
Consumers can visit Samsung’s service centres to receive rental phones for temporary use. Samsung plans to provide Galaxy Note 7 devices with new batteries in South Korea starting on September 19, but schedules for other countries vary.
Earlier this month, Samsung announced an unprecedented recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s worldwide just two weeks after the phone was launched. That move came after Samsung’s investigation into reports of fires found that rechargeable lithium batteries manufactured by one of its suppliers were at fault.
The US was among the first countries to take action following the recall. Late on Friday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission urged owners of the phone to turn them off and leave them off. It also said it was working with Samsung and hoped to have an official recall “as soon as possible”.
The recall by the safety commission will allow the US Federal Aviation Administration to ban passengers from carrying the phones on planes. The FAA warned airline passengers late on Thursday not to turn on or charge the Galaxy Note 7 during flights and not to put the smartphone in their checked baggage.
Scandinavian Airlines said on Saturday that it has prohibited passengers from using the Galaxy Note 7 on its flights because of concerns about fires. Singapore Airlines has also banned the use or charging of the device during flights.
Samsung said it had confirmed 35 cases of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire as of September 1, most of them occurring while the battery was being charged.
There are at least two more cases that Samsung said it is aware of – one at a hotel in Perth, Australia, and another in St Petersburg, Florida, where a family reported that a Galaxy Note 7 left charging in their Jeep had caught fire, destroying the vehicle.
Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7 on August 19. The Galaxy Note series is one of the most expensive line-ups made by Samsung.