Federal Safety Commission Urges Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Owners To Stop Using, Charging Devices; Still No Official Recall

A week after Samsung said that it would eventually be recalling the recently released Galaxy Note 7 phones over reports of exploding and smoking devices, the tech giant has yet to finalize an official recall with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Regardless, the CPSC is now publicly urging anyone who has one of these devices to stop using or charging their phone.

The concern is with the lithium-ion batteries in the Note 7. If these devices are causing or allowing the batteries to overheat, they can burt and have very dangerous and damaging results. In an effort to prevent further instances, the CPSC is asking that anyone with a Note 7 power their phone down and cease using it.

“This consumer warning is based on recent reports involving lithium-ion batteries in certain Note 7 devices that have resulted in fires,” reads a statement from the Commission. “These incidents have occurred while charging and during normal use, which has led us to call for consumers to power down their Note 7s.”

The lack of an official recall means that it’s still legal for people to sell their Note 7. It also means that other federal agencies are limited in the actions they can take with regard to the device. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration is asking Note 7 users to avoid using or charging their device while on planes, but because the Note 7 and its battery have not yet officially been recalled, the FAA can’t issue an outright ban on the phone.

Officials have previously told Consumerist that a recall is forthcoming, and the CPSC statement says the Commission and Samsung are “working cooperatively to formally announce an official recall of the devices, as soon as possible.”

Last week, Samsung announced an exchange program for the Note 7, but this is not the same as a recall.

The CPSC today says it is “working quickly to determine whether a replacement Galaxy Note 7 is an acceptable remedy for Samsung or their phone carriers to provide to consumers.”

Last week, after Samsung declared an unofficial recall of the Note 7, Consumerist was first to report that federal safety officials were frustrated by the company’s end-run around the CPSC.

“Companies should not be putting out unilateral recall announcements,” one official told Consumerist. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a global product or a solely U.S.-based company. Consumers should be appropriately informed, and that takes time and planning. It does not serve consumers well to simply say a product will be recalled without coordination regarding the scope and remedies.”

UPDATE: Samsung is also asking Note 7 users to power down and stop using their Note 7 devices.

Says Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America: “New Note 7 replacement devices will be issued to exchange program participants upon completion of the CPSC process. In the interim, consumers can return their Note 7 for another device.”

Again, that comes with the caveat mentioned above that the CPSC has not finished evaluating the replacement Note 7.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.