Product Liability

Galaxy Note 7 Replacement Phones Combust, Samsung Halts Production

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 314x210 Galaxy Note 7 Replacement Phones Combust, Samsung Halts ProductionSamsung Electronics has suspended production of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones amid new reports that some of the devices provided as replacements in a safety recall are overheating, catching fire, and exploding.

The South Korean electronics corporation recalled about 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones last month as reports of explosions and fires mounted. The company attributed the problem to a defect in the lithium-ion batteries and claimed the incidents were “isolated cases” stemming from mass production issues.

Samsung took a similar stance when reports emerged that the new replacement phones were also overheating, saying that “the issue does not pose a safety concern.”

Last week, a Galaxy Note 7 belonging to a Southwest Airlines passenger burst into flames inside the cabin of a plane preparing for takeoff in Louisville, Ky. The owner of the phone said that it was a replacement he was given after returning his original recalled Note 7. Samsung is currently investigating the incident and working with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) officials to determine the next course of action. Until then, the company has halted all Note 7 manufacturing.

The fire aboard the Southwest flight was the first of at least four incidents involving replacement Note 7 devices reported last week.

“We are working diligently with authorities and third-party experts and will share findings when we have completed the investigation,” Samsung said in a statement. “If we determine a product-safety issue exists, Samsung will take immediate steps approved by the CPSC to resolve the situation.”

On Sunday, leading U.S. mobile service providers said they would stop issuing new Galaxy Note 7 phones to replace the recalled models turned in by customers. The companies, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile said they would instead issue refunds or different devices.

The latest incidents involving Note 7 replacement devices raise questions about whether Galaxy Note 7 devices contain a fundamental flaw separate from the battery.

Samsung initially attributed the problem to lithium-ion batteries provided by one of its two suppliers. The company said it had stopped using the battery supplier and that none of the batteries in the replacement devices came from that supplier.

Wall Street Journal