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Samsung Galaxy Note7

Within days of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 in August 2016, there were reports of the phones exploding. Problems within the battery cells caused the phones to overheat and in extreme cases, to catch fire. More than 100 incidents were reported of serious damage to property, as well as harm to individuals.

Recalling the phone

Within a couple of weeks, Samsung had issued a recall of the phone. But the situation had already affected consumers worldwide. 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note7s were sent to retailers in several markets, and around a million phones were in use by consumers by the time the recall was issued.

From the beginning it was obvious that Samsung was responding differently to consumers affected by the problems with the Galaxy Note7 depending on where they were in the world.

Our letter to Samsung

Samsung is a global company. Its handsets are just as likely to malfunction in Sydney as Seoul, so the way Samsung treats its customers should be no different. Instead of reacting to situations as and when, country-by-country, we were clear that Samsung needed a consistent and transparent process to deal with a crisis like this.

Consumers International demanded a clear, global plan of action. One that offered all owners of affected phones the same treatment, including refunds and the chance to replace their handsets.

We put pressure on Samsung to address consumer concerns, such as the cause of the problems, and the environmental plan for managing waste from the phones.



We issued an open letter to Samsung in October 2016, outlining the specific measures the company needed to take to restore consumer trust, namely that it must:

  • identify what went wrong in the product testing process
  • publically announce the results and subject them to independent scrutiny
  • put in place a consistent refund and exchange policy for all consumers that meets the highest standards, regardless of where the phone was bought or where the consumer lives.


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