Watchdog slaps Samsung: Where's the official US recall for exploding Galaxy Note7?

With Galaxy Note7's still available in US stores on Friday, Consumer Reports has called on Samsung to recall the device through the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Consumer Reports says Samsung's recall was not precise enough, given the safety risks associated with the flawed batteries,

Image: Samsung

Samsung may have swiftly recalled Galaxy Note7 phones after reports of some devices exploding while charging, but it's drawn criticism for not going through official channels in the US.

Samsung on Friday halted sales of the Galaxy Note7 and initiated a global recall after acknowledging 35 cases where devices had overheated while charging, promising to replace affected devices within a few weeks.

Samsung has reportedly sold 2.5 million Note7's since they went on sale two weeks ago. The first video of a severely-burnt Galaxy Note7 was posted August 29, five days before the recall.

The delay between that image appearing and Samsung's recall might suggest a fairly efficient response but, according to US consumer watchdog Consumer Reports, the company's recall was not precise enough given the safety risks associated with the flawed batteries, and should have been made official by involving the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

CPSC could have, for instance, made it illegal for retailers to sell the device, which Consumer Reports claims was still available at some retailers on Friday.

"Samsung should immediately initiate an official recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, given the serious nature of the safety problem it identified with the Galaxy Note7," Maria Rerecich, consumer reports director of electronics testing, said in statement on Friday.

"We are particularly concerned that phones continue to be available for sale today."

In the US, Samsung on Friday afternoon made a more specific announcement, offering to replace current Galaxy Note7 devices with a new one this week, as opposed to "within the next few weeks" in its global announcement. It's also offered to exchange the device for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge within a week with a refund on the price difference.

Shortly after Samsung's announcement, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Amazon issued their recall and replacement notifications, as documented by Android Authority.

Consumer Reports said its shoppers on Friday were able to find the devices in Best Buy in the New York City region and Orlando, Florida, and in some Sprint outlets in Florida. It said the phone was also listed on the Verizon website next to a Buy Now button, as well as on Amazon.

Consumer Reports also notes that Samsung's exploding phones may meet requirements for reporting the recall to CPSC under the Consumer Product Safety Act. These requirements include where a product "contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard," or "creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death".

CPSC would then outline an appropriate response and help determine the risks based on reports.

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