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What anyone who bought a Galaxy Note 7 needs to know

October 13, 2016 at 1:03 PM

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Samsung has stopped production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after a series of explosions in the original and replacement models surfaced. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

On Thursday, Samsung finally took the step to officially recall all models of the Galaxy Note 7 — days after the company said it would discontinue the phone due to continued reports that the smartphone is exploding.

The company will keenly feel the loss of the Galaxy Note 7, which was one of its biggest products going into the holiday season; the firm on Wednesday cut its profit projections by one-third, due to recall costs.

But Samsung's business woes are probably not top-of-mind for people who bought the company's troubled smartphone. Here are answers to some key questions that people may have about the recall, Samsung and the safety of their phones.

What was new about the recall announcement on Thursday?

The official recall previously only applied to Samsung Galaxy Note 7s that were sold before Sept. 15. Now any Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is included in the recall.

The recall process has been confusing, but this makes it crystal clear: If you have a Galaxy Note 7 — any Galaxy Note 7 — your phone is at risk of exploding and you should stop using it immediately.

Can I just ignore this recall?

Please don't. It's a very, very bad idea to ignore this recall. This isn't just a matter of a product not working as advertised. This is a dangerous defect, and happens when people are just using their phones normally. Using the phone is a risk not just to yourself, but to all those around you who may just happen to share a car, airplane or fast-food restaurant with you.

I replaced my Galaxy Note 7 with a Galaxy Note 7 that was supposed to be safe. Do I have to turn in my smartphone?

I bought a Samsung S7 or Samsung S7 Edge to replace my Galaxy Note 7. Do I have to exchange that, too?

No. There is no such safety problem with the Samsung S7, Samsung S7 Edge or any other Samsung phone. But if you've already exchanged your Galaxy Note 7 for another Samsung phone, you may be entitled to more money from the company.

Related: [If you’re returning your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone, read this]

Has anything else changed about the recall now?

Samsung has also extended the rewards for turning in your phone. All customers should be able to get a full refund for their phone, or use the money they paid for the Galaxy Note 7 to get a different phone. (Customers who pick a more expensive phone than the Galaxy Note 7 will have to pay the difference.)

But now, if you decide to trade your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 for another Samsung phone, you are eligible for a $100 bill credit.

If you returned the phone for a full refund or picked another non-Samsung phone, such as Apple's iPhone, you are eligible for a $25 bill credit.

I already turned in my phone. Do I miss out on the new bill credits?

If you've already swapped out your phone, you should have received a $25 bill credit for doing so.

If you switched out your Galaxy Note 7 for another Samsung phone, contact the same company that processed your original exchange (Samsung, your phone carrier, retailers, etc.) to apply as much as an additional $75 credit.

If you exchanged your Note for a refund or a non-Samsung phone, you should have already have received a $25 bill credit; that amount has not changed.

Are other Android phones safe?

Yes. Samsung may have become effectively synonymous with Android in some peoples' minds, but the battery problem is not in any way an Android problem. This defect does not affect other phones that run Google's mobile operating system, and there is no reason to be concerned about your phone simply because it runs Android.

Are Samsung products safe?

This is a question that's been floating around a lot, particularly after news that Samsung washers were having a separate, non-battery issue that also resulted in explosions.

But apart from the washers and the Galaxy Note 7, there have not been reports that other Samsung products on the market are having problems of this type — that is, products dangerously malfunctioning in the course of normal use.

There have been reports of Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones overheating, or sometimes catching fire, but not nearly as frequently as the Galaxy Note.

And, to be fair, there are plenty of reports of other smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, also catching fire in some cases — but, again, not nearly on the scale to prompt a recall as we've seen with the Galaxy Note 7.


Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post. A Minnesota native, she joined The Post in 2010 after completing her master's degree in journalism.

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