Samsung Note7: Phone exchange starts next week

A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 being held at the IFA trade fair in Berlin, Germany, Sept 2.
A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 being held at the IFA trade fair in Berlin, Germany, Sept 2.PHOTO: EPA

Owners offered new phone of same model and colour but will not be able to opt for refund or another model

Singapore owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 phone can exchange their phones for a new one of the same model and colour from Sept 16 to Oct 2.

They can swop their phones in person at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre or via free home delivery. To do so, users have to make an appointment online from Friday to Sept 25.

Details of how local users can exchange their Note7 phones for a new one were released yesterday, after a global recall of the phone last week due to reports of the handset's battery exploding while being charged.

While no such cases have been reported here, Mr Eugene Goh, vice-president of IT & mobile at Samsung Electronics Singapore, advised users to replace their phones, just in case. "Safety and ongoing customer experience is our absolute top priority," he said.

In the interim, Samsung will loan out smartphones to affected users .

But unlike consumers in other countries, Note7 users here will not be able to opt for a refund or a phone of another model.

In the United States, customers can switch to a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, and get a refund of the price difference between the phones. In Australia, users can go for a full refund or a replacement phone of any brand, depending on their telco.

Singapore Polytechnic marketing and retail lecturer Amos Tan said it was good that "Samsung was quick to take action".

He said the online booking system and the option for home delivery are good ideas, as they will help ease queues at the exchange point.

But he also noted that people on social media may start talking about the inconsistency between the exchange scheme here and in other countries.

Some wonder if exchanging the Note7 for a new one will fix all the problems. On forums and websites, many have complained that the phone often crashes.

Teacher Terrenz Huang, 30, used the Note7 for three days before the phone's screen went black and the device refused to boot up. She said: "The replacement won't help users like me. I had pictures of my mother's birthday celebration on the phone, and now they're gone."

But student Eric Heng, 24, who has been worried that his Note7 phone may explode when he charges it at night, can rest easier.

Still, new phone or not, he will not sleep with his head near the device. "I will still be cautious until maybe a month or two have passed without people complaining," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Samsung Note7: Phone exchange starts next week'. Print Edition | Subscribe