In late August, Samsung began delaying shipments of new Galaxy Note 7 phones amid reports of exploding and overheating devices. Then right before Labor Day it informally declared a sort-of recall without going through official channels or offering a proven remedy for the flaw. Now, two weeks later, the company has finally made the high-profile recall official.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that the recall covers 97% of Galaxy Note 7 devices sold in the U.S. since its launch in mid-August.
The recall announcement from the CPSC says that Samsung has received 92 reports of overheating batteries, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage.
To determine if your phone has been recalled, locate the IMEI number on the phone’s packaging (or by checking in the phone’s settings; it’s also apparently printed in very tiny type on the back of the phone), and call Samsung toll-free at 844-365-6197. They should be able to confirm whether or not your phone is part of the recall (it likely is).
If you have a recalled Note 7, contact the carrier or retailer where you got your phone to receive new Galaxy Note 7 with a different battery, a refund, or a new replacement device.
Here is information for the major carriers and Best Buy:
As Consumerist was first to report, the CPSC was not pleased with being caught unaware by Samsung’s Sept. 2 not-really-a-recall announcement.
“Companies should not be putting out unilateral recall announcements,” one official told us at the time. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a global product or a solely U.S.-based company… It does not serve consumers well to simply say a product will be recalled without coordination regarding the scope and remedies.”
Today, the CPSC reiterated that sentiment.
“It’s not a recipe for a successful recall for a company to go out on their own,” said CPSC Chair Elliot Kaye.
An official recall has more implications than just the CPSC’s stamp of approval. Now that the Note 7 recall is official, it is illegal to sell or resell the device. Similarly, any Note 7 carrying a recalled battery is now barred from being carried on to planes in the U.S. Previously, the FAA and airlines could only ask Note 7 owners to not use or charge their phones during flights.
While the recall was still pending, both the CPSC and Samsung advised Note 7 owners to power down and stop using their devices.
However, the tech giant also sent out confusing signals by releasing a software update that it believed would reduce the likelihood of the battery overheating.
Samsung also independently announced a replacement program before it had demonstrated to regulators that the new devices would not contain the same defect.
The timing of the recall is not great for Samsung, coming on the same day that Apple releases the iPhone 7, and at a time when the bankruptcy of Korea’s biggest shipping company has put some holiday deliveries at risk for delay.