The devil is in the details. Samsung has edited its Note 7 exchange page a few times in the last three days. And while this in itself might not seem like such a big deal, the edits the company has made make it look like the exploding Note 7 battery issue is getting worse rather than better.
Galaxy Note 7 recall: what you need to know
To give you an idea of how bad it’s getting, major aviation authorities and airlines from North America to Europe and Asia have issued statements against using the Galaxy Note 7 on flights or checking it in with your non-cabin baggage (for more details, hit the ‘See also’ link above).
Using The Wayback Machine, a tool that lets you visit web pages in various historical versions, I took a look at what Samsung has been changing. Firstly, the phrase “strongly advise” has been added to both mentions of returning your Note 7, where previously it simply announced the exchange program and said it was available for customers.
Samsung now advises that you power down your Note 7 and exchange it now.
Furthermore – and perhaps most tellingly – Samsung has added a bit of urgency to its strong advice. Where the page previously said “we are launching an exchange program for all Galaxy Note 7 owners” it now says “we are advising that you power down your Note 7 and exchange it now” (emphasis added).
Despite the explosions only occurring (as far as we know) when the Note 7 was being charged, Samsung doesn’t even want you turning on your Note 7 now. To say that this is a worry is an understatement, especially when a lot of folks continue to use their Note 7 while they wait for replacement phones to be available.
No matter what happens in future, the Note 7 will always be “the exploding phone”.
Samsung may just be protecting themselves; by saying to turn your phone off and return it immediately they have at least some protection if you choose not to do so and are injured. But when the company advises you to not even turn the thing on, when there has been no indication of spontaneous combustion with a power source attached – that’s bad. No matter what happens in future, the Note 7 will always be “the exploding phone”.
— U.S. CPSC (@USCPSC) September 9, 2016
The offer of a replacement Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge while you await your “safe” Note 7 has also been replaced with an offer for a replacement Galaxy J series device instead. You can still swap your Note 7 for a S7 or S7 Edge and get the difference reimbursed, but if you’re taking the temporary loaner approach you’ll be stuck with a J series phone instead.
Finally, Samsung has added “pending CPSC approval” in parentheses in the sentence about receiving your new Note 7. Previously it said “as early as this week”, indicating that there is now federal oversight over the new Note 7’s being produced and that the expedited replacement process might not happen as quickly as Samsung initially planned.
It goes without saying that this fiasco is going to cost Samsung badly. Not just the billion-dollar price tag being placed on the recall and replacement process either, but also in terms of PR. With the LG V20 and iPhone 7 recently announced, Samsung has pretty effectively taken itself out of the end-of-year race. What’s worse though is the lack of faith the company will sustain as a result of all this.
Has this shaken your trust in Samsung? How do you feel about the way they’ve handled the recall?