Samsung has issued a rare second recall of their Galaxy Note 7 phone after reports arose of replacement batteries exploding.
The company issued a notice Monday that it is “temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note 7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters.”
Later that day, the company announced that it was halting sale entirely of the Galaxy Note 7 entirely, telling retailers to stop selling the phones and urging users to return them. “Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device,” the company said.
Many retailers had voluntarily pulled the phones prior to Samsung’s announcement. All major U.S. telecom companies, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are allowing customers to return their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them for a different phone.
Samsung has halted production of the phone in cooperation with safety regulations in the U.S., China, and South Korea.
The Galaxy Note 7 has made headline news since its release in mid-August due to a catastrophic battery failure that caused overheated phones to explode. The exploding batteries have caused severe user and property injury in multiple cases. Hundreds of cases of exploding phones have been reported.
Samsung began recalling phones after claiming to have isolated the faulty battery to a particular battery manufacturer and switched production to an alternate supplier to avoid future phone explosions.
However, reports soon surfaced that replacement phones were exploding as well, revealing that the phone’s battery problems lurk deeper. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating five reported incidences of replacement Note 7 phones exploding.
“This is by far the biggest concern I have seen in cellphones during my tenure,” said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam Monday. “In my however many years in the market I have not seen a recall like this.”
“If the Note 7 is allowed to continue, it could lead to the single greatest act of brand self-destruction in the history of modern technology,” said Eric Schiffer, a brand strategy expert at Reputation Management Consultants. “Samsung needs to take a giant writedown and cast the Note 7 to the engineering hall of shame next to the Ford Pinto.”
The company is facing a massive hit to its brand reputation in light of the battery explosions. Samsung is the world’s largest producer of smartphones, and the South Korean company’s response to the news of catastrophic failures in their flagship phones has been widely criticized for withholding information.
“We’re talking about Samsung’s high-end, flagship product,” said Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen. “The people who bought this wanted a Samsung, and they wanted a Note 7. You choose the cherry red Corvette because you wanted the cherry red Corvette.”
“Samsung is being squishy on the details,” said Aarti Shahani on NPR’s All Things Considered. “Samsung says in a statement that ‘we are readjusting our supply,’ without specifying if it’s [the] supply of batteries or another phone part.”
Over 2.5 million phones were recalled in the month after the phone’s release, but Samsung was slow to issue them, and the news of recall phones exploding suggested the company failed to correctly investigate the error, instead prioritizing finding a speedy solution.
“This is the worst-case scenario for Samsung,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. “These phones should have sold well over ten million units, but instead Samsung may well end up selling very few and destroying much of the inventory, while buyers replace Note 7 devices with iPhones and other competing devices … Now that the replacement devices seem to be having the same problems, it calls into question Samsung’s whole product testing methodology and its scrutiny of its suppliers. That’s much worse than a one-off.”
[Featured Image by George Frey/Getty Images]