By Carson Kipp
If there are two things that social media likes as of now, it’s explosions and clowns. And unfortunately for Samsung, they are no exception to this rule. As of the Galaxy Note 7’s release date on August 19 of this year, these devices have been of more use as bombs rather than phones. Hundreds of accidents have been reported with many more gone undocumented. Naturally, Samsung issued a recall for these dangerous devices and sent replacement models to those experiencing “issues”.
Some victims of the Samsung’s defects have even suffered home and property damage. When asked to cover some of these costs Samsung has refused many requests completely or paid only a fraction of the cost of the damages. One such person is John Barwick, who suffered around $9,000 in damages. Barwick’s issues began when he attempted to contact customer services about covering some of the damages and was told they would call him back within 24 hours. As time passed no response came “They said they’d call us back. They never did.” Barwick told TheGuardian.com. Barwick then decided to take matters into his own hands and continued to contact Samsung into the following days. The result was less than satisfactory for Barwick “They told me they weren’t going to pay replacement costs of any damaged items.” In short, if your phone explodes and burns your house down, don’t expect Samsung to cover it.
However, the madness did not end there. Even with the replacement phones sent, the new phones have still been exploding since October 10 and Samsung issued a total recall on all Galaxy Note 7’s since October 13.
With both new and old Galaxy Note 7’s catching fire, it raises the question “Why is my phone exploding?” Surprisingly, this defect is rare, only affecting about 0.01% of all Galaxy Note 7s sold. The issue results from an extremely thin layer of plastic that separates the poles of the battery, too thin to be safe. When this layer of plastic breaks, the positive and negative poles of the lithium battery within the devices come into contact and create an unstable “short-circuit.” This circuit provides a path of extremely low resistance and consequently heats up until the device either catches fire or explodes. Since Samsung’s recall, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has also banned all Note 7’s from passing security checks, which will remain effective until the devices are deemed safe.
In total, Samsung has suffered around $17 billion between refunding programs and the absence of sales as a whole. As much as 34% of previously loyal samsung users are also expected to take their business elsewhere, leaving an impact on Samsung sure to last for years to come. While choosing a phone previously may not have been the most important decision of your day, it turns out this year’s upgrade season just might be a matter of life or death.