Samsung And AT&T Won’t Tell You If Your Galaxy S7 Active Isn’t Waterproof, Or Extend Warranty

Image courtesy of Consumer Reports

You might be familiar with the Samsung S7 Active smartphone, which both the manufacturer and its exclusive retailer, AT&T, advertise as being waterproof. Our phone-dunking colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports tested that claim and found the S7 Active lacking, with two test phones failing after a simulated 5-foot dunk in a water tank. Yet it turns out AT&T employees aren’t aware of this issue, and owners of the phone won’t get a lifetime warranty for liquid damage.

Samsung told Consumer Reports that the problem that their tests uncovered has been resolved, and that phones would be covered by the standard one-year warranty. Well, okay, but the flawed phones weren’t recalled, so how do you know whether you have a phone manufactured with the flaw or not? You don’t.

Samsung and AT&T won’t say whether it’s possible to identify waterproof and not-really-waterproof phones by, say, their serial numbers, or any external differences.

Here’s the problem: without that information, Consumer Reports can’t buy another phone and test it. Their policy is to not accept samples from manufacturers. Without being able to tell which phones sold at retail have the waterproofing flaw and which don’t, they won’t know which version they are buying and testing.

Instead, they dispatched mystery shoppers to AT&T stores to ask about the phone and the waterproofing issue. They weren’t aware of the defect (remember, Samsung admitted that there was a problem that caused leaks, and that they fixed it) and one employee in Michigan even questioned the test’s results.

One mystery shopper encountered a rather unhelpful suggestion from an AT&T salesperson: if the shopper was concerned about the water resistance issue, he or she could just buy an add-on protection plan from AT&T, which would cover accidental damage, including from water.

What Samsung and AT&T are counting on is that very few users will actually leave their phone submerged under five feet of water for 30 minutes. Those who do test the limits of their phone’s ability to resist water will only be able to request a new phone under the terms of the standard one-year warranty, and have no way to know if their phone is one with a defect.

Samsung Won’t Offer Lifetime Warranty on Faulty Galaxy S7 Actives [Consumer Reports]