Note7 users to opt for refund, S7 edge soon

Details can be left on Samsung site from Oct 26, but some question long wait

Samsung Galaxy Note7 owners in Singapore will be able to indicate whether they want a refund or have their scrapped Note7 replaced with the S7 edge, on the company's website from Oct 26.

Announcing this yesterday, the embattled company again did not specify the refund amount, except to say that details would be available next week.

The Note7, launched in August, sold for $1,168 here. Customers who signed a two-year service contract with local telcos Singtel, StarHub and M1 paid for the phone at a subsidised rate.

Those who stay with the brand will be offered the Galaxy S7 edge, its other flagship model launched here in March, as well as "cash and other benefits".

But details will be available only next week, the company said.

Apologising for disappointing and frustrating customers, Mr Eugene Goh, Samsung Electronics Singapore's vice-president of IT & Mobile, said: "Our focus now is to reduce further inconvenience to our customers who have trusted and waited for the Galaxy Note7."

The announcement follows an unprecedented decision by the world's largest handset-maker to pull the plug on its flagship device barely two months after its launch, owing to unresolved fire concerns.

On the company's website - www.samsung.com/sg/note7exchange - customers will be asked for their home address and details so that their scrapped Note7 can be picked up, and a refund in the form of a cheque or a replacement Galaxy S7 edge delivered.

By comparison, in the United States, Samsung is giving customers a US$100 (S$139) bill credit if they switch to another Samsung device. If they leave the brand by asking for a refund or switch to another brand of device, they get a smaller bill credit of US$25 on their next purchase.

Some consumers here are unhappy with the lack of details, and the delay with the refund and handset exchange programme. They were told to power down and stop using the phone four days ago.

Mr Willy Tan, 34, who bought three Note7 sets at full price, said: "How could Samsung have decided so quickly for US customers, but not Singapore customers?"

Retiree Herman Chia, 64, said: "Customers are advised to power down the phone and to stop using it, but the exchange and refund is not until Oct 26."

Retiree Linda Chow, 54, may opt for a refund as she would prefer the smaller 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 over the larger 5.5-inch S7 edge.

Last month, Samsung recalled some 2.5 million handsets worldwide, including tens of thousands of units in Singapore, and issued replacement Note7 devices.

It was initially thought to be due to a battery fault after some units caught fire and exploded. But the problem persisted even with the replacement sets, with one incident of a replacement phone emitting smoke and causing passengers on a Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville on Oct 5 to be evacuated.

On Tuesday, Samsung finally advised consumers to stop using the Note7, as it investigates the continuing problem together with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and other global safety authorities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Note7 users to opt for refund, S7 edge soon'. Print Edition | Subscribe