You’ve probably heard about it a million times. You’ve heard from the news, from your family and peers, and from Samsung. And you’ve heard right: A battery defect has caused a few Galaxy Note 7 phones to explode during and after charging.
Samsung has since launched an internal investigation and found a “battery-cell issue” in batteries made in South Korea. More notably, the consumer electronics giant issued a sweeping recall of over 2 million Note 7 units worldwide on September 2nd, a week after the first incident was reported in South Korea. Sales have stopped, and a mandatory update that prevents affected phones from fully charging the battery has been rolled out.
Samsung on September 8 announced a replacement program where users in the Philippines could exchange their Galaxy Note 7 handsets for new ones that are considered safe. The company had previously told customers they should expect the safe Note 7 units from October 1st. The finer details of the announcement can be found here.
But seeing that we’re just a day removed from the start of Samsung’s exchange program, we thought it would be best to summarize what we know about it and what we’ve been told during our recent meeting with Samsung executives.
- First things first: The exchange program encompasses all Galaxy Note 7 devices sold through authorized retailers, including Lazada Philippines, and through carriers Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.
- Samsung is prepared to replace all 6,000-plus phones sold in the Philippines prior to the recall in one go. Even if everyone who had bought the phone somehow manages to show up on October 1.
- Users can also exchange the Note 7 for an S7 edge (Samsung will refund the price difference) or get their money back in full.
- Customers must bring the following: the retail box with all the included accessories; one ID; and a proof of purchase.
- Samsung recommends bringing the Note 7 to the store where the customer bought it. But if a unit was purchased in another part of the country — say, Davao — one can have it exchanged in a service location in Manila or another city. Proof of purchase will be required, of course.
- All those who return their handset from tomorrow will get a screen protector and a P1,000 gift certificate to use on any Samsung purchase.
- The new Note 7 units can be identified by a green battery icon on the status bar, and on the always-on and power-off screens; a black dot on the box; and their IMEIs or serial numbers. You can run a phone’s serial number against this database to find out if it is safe.
Samsung’s exchange program is currently ongoing in some parts of the world, and majority of customers seem to prefer getting a replacement Note 7 over the alternatives. Samsung earlier said around one million customers worldwide had exchanged their devices. Over 60 percent of old Note 7s have been returned in the U.S. and South Korea, 57 percent in Europe.
Samsung expects all recalled Note 7 phones in the Philippines will be returned by the end of the year. Galaxy Note 7 sales in the country will resume on — you guessed it — October 1st.