Samsung Galaxy S7 Owners Say Camera Glass Shatters Unexpectedly

When you purchase a brand-new smartphone you don’t expect to wake up days later to a broken camera lens. Yet, that’s exactly what Consumerist reader Sean says happened to his new Samsung Galaxy S7, and he’s apparently not alone, as Samsung’s own forums are filled with similar stories. 

Sean tells Consumerist that he purchased a new S7 last week, only to wake up on Dec. 22 to find the camera glass had shattered despite being in a case and sitting untouched on his nightstand all night long.

“The camera glass had shattered like a miniature bullet hole,” Sean recalls.

When he contacted Samsung, Sean says the company refused to replace what he sees as a defect under the manufacturer’s warranty, insisting that he had caused the physical damage to the phone.

Unhappy with the company’s response, Sean began looking online to see if other customers had experienced similar situations.

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“A quick Google search brought up hundreds of identical instances of this rear camera glass shattering without dropping the phone, with Samsung refusing responsibility and forcing its customers to pay for a repair,” Sean tells Consumerist.

Nearly all of the reports posted on Samsung’s forums — starting in April 2016 with the most recent posted just two weeks ago — include comparable descriptions of the potential defect: owners unexpectedly find the rear camera of their phones, generally in a protective case, shattered in a circle shape similar to a bullet hole.

In most cases, the owners say the phone was in a protective case and hadn’t been dropped prior to finding the camera glass broken.

In a post from April 2016, an S7 owner says that she had owned the phone for less than a week when she noticed the lens was shattered.

“Well, it took three weeks to get it fixed,” she writes. “I’ve had it back for less than a week and the lens is cracked… Is there an issue with the lens, or am I the only one. It cost $70 to get fixed. I really don’t feel like paying it again.”

In a reply to that post, another owner says that in Nov. 2016, while charging the S7 and using the phone, he noticed the rear camera glass had cracked.

“The phone was three weeks old and in a secure case, never been dropped, never had any impact,” the report states. “After spending over 2 hours in a Samsung Service Centre, plus over an hour on the phone to Samsung Customer Services, I am now sending my phone in to be inspected.“

Samsung has replied to some of the forum posts, suggesting that the only way for customers to know what happened to their phones is to send them in for inspection.

“We do see there are quite a few interesting theories, and although we cannot speculate on each individuals’ situation, we would like to assure you that Samsung does take many different conditions into consideration when constructing our devices,” a rep replied to another post from April that already has 218 replies.

The rep then says that the company’s goal “is to always make high quality products for our customers and we strive to be leaders in quality. Although some unforeseen things may come, we do believe this is an isolated occurrence and do not want to place blame on anyone.”

Only, according to the forum posts, it doesn’t appear to be isolated and the blame generally falls to the owners.

In a post from Aug. 2016, another S7 owner reports that two weeks after purchasing the smartphone he found the back camera glass shattered in a “circular spider web pattern.”

After Googling “Galaxy S7 camera glass broken” the owner believed the issue to be a manufacturer’s defect.

He then called T-Mobile to see if they could deal with the issue. Only the carrier reportedly told the man it would cost $175 to exchange the device for a new phone.

“I got the S7 10 days ago,” another owner says in a July forum post. “The camera glass has already broken. There is glass missing and the rest is shattered. It looks as if someone has shot it with a bb gun.”

While some owners note that the lens of the camera sticks out from the back of the phone potentially leaving it vulnerable to damage, others say the cases on their phone prevent the lens from protruding.

“My Pelican case doesn’t permit the lens to past the case,” an owner wrote on a Samsung forum in September, who says — like the others — that he noticed the shattered glass when he went to take a photo with his phone. “I got up other morning and put in my pocket when I went to take a picture that morning I noticed that the glass that covered the lens was shattered.”

Again, the owner was told that it must have been his fault, that the phone must have been dropped. His only recourse, the AT&T rep said was to file the issue with insurance.

Consumerist has reached out to Samsung for comment on Sean’s specific case and the prevalence of forum posts about the camera lens issue. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

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