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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall issued: What's your next step?

You now have a recalled Galaxy Note 7 in hand and want to make sure you aren't risking your home, vehicle, or people around you. US wireless carriers were quick to provide guidance.

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Earlier this week I awarded the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 a nearly perfect rating. The Note 7 has been selling well since its release a couple weeks ago, with an estimate of more than a million units sold in the ten countries it was launched in.

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A few days later, the reports of exploding batteries prompted a Samsung internal investigation with an unprecedented recall of all Note 7 devices across the globe. While the timely couldn't be worse for Samsung with the upcoming iPhone 7 announcement, it's encouraging to see Samsung step up to the plate and address the issue in the best way possible for consumer protection.

If you are like me and have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that you purchased, here are a few likely questions and some answers:

  • How do I exchange it with Samsung?: Samsung posted a press release providing guidance to Note 7 owners. You can exchange the Note 7 for a new Note 7 (as earlier as next week in the US) or for a S7 or S7 Edge while receiving a refund of the price difference. Samsung will also provide a $25 gift card or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets. See the next question for US carrier guidance.
  • Can I return it to my wireless carrier?: Yes. If you don't want to exchange your phone with Samsung, the four major US wireless carriers were quick to provide some guidance too. T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon will each allow you to return the device and accessories for a full refund with no restocking fee or shipping charges. Sprint is willing to offer you a similar device to use until the Note 7 issue has been resolved.
  • What about my free T-Mobile Netflix subscription?: T-Mobile stated that customers can keep the free Netflix promotional offer they received with the pre-order purchase.
  • What do I do with the free Gear Fit 2 or 256GB microSD card I received from Samsung?: Since this came from Samsung, do not return it to your carrier store. T-Mobile directed me to hold onto it and at this time we haven't been provided information on this offer from Samsung.

You always have the choice to just keep your Note 7 and continue using it as you like. However, unless we get some kind of diagnostic tool or lookup system to verify whether or not the device in hand may be faulty, this is not a risk anyone should take.

At first it seemed the problem was due to people using incompatible chargers. However, if Samsung performed testing and determined it was serious enough to support a global recall, there is likely a serious issue here that should not be taken lightly. Interestingly, the Galaxy Note 7 in China is not subject to the recall as a different battery supplier was apparently used for this country.

I returned mine to T-Mobile today and will wait until the air clears on the Note 7 before making a future purchase decision. For $928, I am not willing to risk burning down my house or harming others with a possible, although highly unlikely, battery explosion.