Given the issues that have arisen with the Note 7, Samsung’s actions yesterday really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. We’ve already covered what unfolded throughout the day, and Samsung Australia’s latest statement issued earlier last night, which we’ll repeat here for simplicity:
“Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.
“To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally. There have no reported incidents in Australia. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.
“For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will provide a resolution of their choice including a replacement, repair or refund over the coming weeks.
“We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the customer experience is as convenient and efficient as possible. We will have an update for Australian customers early next week.”
Reflecting on this, we really can’t be all that critical of their handling of the matter thus far. Let’s face it, for issues that have surfaced in the last ten days or so, Samsung has moved quite quickly, all things considered, to coordinate a global strategy on dealing with the problem.
We often hear from manufacturers both new and old that “hardware is hard”. That’s because it is. The timelines for design, prototyping, production tooling and mass production are tight. This is a hyper-competitive industry and it doesn’t reward those who move slowly. It’s amazing there aren’t more issues, and that’s a testament to the testing and quality assurance all major OEMs — including Samsung — undertake.
Samsung faces a difficult task. They need to nail the cause(s) of the battery issue, hopefully, to identify whether a particular batch is at risk or whether it’s a particular configuration. Even if that’s successful, Samsung has to navigate a minefield of consumer protection legislation, which can differ quite significantly between jurisdictions.
In Australia, at least, Samsung is taking the approach of offering customers their options early, ensuring customers are aware they can opt for a refund, replacement or repair at their choice. For those customers enamoured with their Note7 a repair or replacement might be preferred. For those who were already unhappy with their purchase or have lost confidence in the device, a full refund will be offered.
Of course, it might take a week or two for Samsung to get this process set up, and in the meantime, the brand doesn’t want customers to worry, noting there haven’t been any reported issues in devices sold locally, and touch wood, there won’t be.
There’s little doubt Samsung are taking a customer focused approach here, at least insofar as their Australian operations are concerned, and that’s commendable. Whatever the nature of the fault, or how widespread it is, Samsung appears to be right on top of handling it and we understand that there will be regular updates to customers and the media as the process continues. Even yesterday, Ausdroid was in regular contact with Samsung, and we took our last call after 7pm to keep you updated.
It’s important to note, at this stage, that Samsung’s actions don’t amount to a recall. Samsung is still working to investigate the issues themselves and to make a more informed decision, which might (or might not) lead to the decision to conduct a full recall later on if it becomes warranted. For now, though, if you have a Note7 the message is clear: stay tuned, don’t worry yet, and you should be fine.
Of course, not knowing the root cause of the issue, the advice from Ausdroid must be to use only the original charger and charger cable supplied with your Note7 to minimise the chances of anything going astray. If there is an issue with batteries that relates to the charging process, using a 3rd party charger or cable (especially if its not a certified USB-C cable) could be inviting more trouble.
We will keep you updated as soon as we receive any further word from Samsung. In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions and we’ll pass them on.