More than 80% of faulty Note7 phones in Singapore replaced

Singapore's first major mobile phone recall has seen thousands of Galaxy Note7 phones exchanged.
Singapore's first major mobile phone recall has seen thousands of Galaxy Note7 phones exchanged. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

More than 80 per cent of faulty Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones in Singapore have been swopped for new ones, two days before the official exchange programme ends.

Altogether, tens of thousands of Note7 phones have been exchanged in Singapore's first major mobile phone recall.

Samsung is slated to resume sales of its latest flagship phone by the end of October even as it strives to replace the remaining faulty devices, including parallel import sets.

"Our top priority is to support Galaxy Note7 owners in the exchange programme," said a Samsung Singapore spokesman.

The South Korean smartphone maker had earlier this month suspended sales of the Note7 and recalled 2.5 million units globally after incidents in which the phone caught fire.

Note7 users here can exchange their phones at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre until Sunday, after which they will have to call the 1800-SAMSUNG (7267864) hotline to arrange to exchange their phones.

Retiree Linda Chow, 54, said she did not have to wait long as there were many exchange counters. "I was also pleasantly surprised that the apps in my new phone were arranged in exactly the same way as in my old phone," she said.

But some consumers here have had to go back for a second swop after their replacements were found to overheat and rapidly drain power while being charged.

Samsung's spokesman said only a "very small number" of customers had asked for a second exchange. The defects in these sets were not battery-related, she added.

On concerns over a rainbow screen that appears when the phone is charging, the spokesman said this is not a defect. As for complaints that the phones take unusually long to charge, she said users should check if fast charging is on, although it should be a default setting.

Samsung has also come up with a way to certify Note7 replacement phones from the original ones with faulty batteries. It did so amid fears that some faulty Note7 devices may still be sold in online marketplaces.

Note7 customers here can enter their phone IMEI (identity) number on the website to check against an online database.

Last week, the US Federal Aviation Administration posted a notice stating that Note7 phones with a green battery charge indicator can be turned on and charged on flights and stored in checked baggage. These sets are not defective.

Even so, Singapore Airlines still does not allow the use or charging of the phone on its flights.

"Our policy remains unchanged; the powering up and charging of Samsung Galaxy Note7 is prohibited on all our flights," a Singapore Airlines spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline More than 80% of faulty Note7 phones in Singapore replaced. Subscribe