US announces formal recall of Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a formal recall of around one million Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones (above).
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a formal recall of around one million Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones (above).PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - The US Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday (Sept 15) announced a recall of around one million Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones plagued by incidents of batteries bursting into flames.

The move by the US safety agency formalises the recall under way in 10 countries after reports of faulty batteries that caused some handsets to explode during charging.

In the United States, there have been 92 reports of batteries overheating, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage, the commission said in a notice.

The US notice affects around one million of the global total of 2.5 million handsets being recalled, which has cast a cloud over the South Korean electronics giant and world’s largest smartphone vendor.

Samsung has advised consumers in 10 countries to trade their handsets for temporary replacement phones until it releases new Note7s.

But many users have snubbed the offer, choosing to wait until the new phones were available, citing the inconvenience of switching devices for an interim period.

And different regulatory practices in different countries – as well as varying reactions from carriers – have caused a degree of customer uncertainty and confusion that is hampering Samsung’s efforts to get the recall behind it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

In an effort to steal a march on Apple, the Note7 was given an early launch in the key US market, making that a priority for the recall effort.

US and Japanese aviation authorities have urged passengers not to turn on or charge the large-screen phones on aircraft, while the US Federal Aviation Administration has told passengers not to stow the device in checked baggage.