11 Oct 2016

'Shocking' lack of communication from Samsung over smartphone fires

1:58 pm on 11 October 2016

Vodafone and Spark have stopped replacing Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones, following reports the replacement phones are smoking and in some cases catching fire.

Several Samsung Galaxy Note 7s lay on a counter in plastic bags after they were returned to a Best Buy in the US.

Several Samsung Galaxy Note 7s lay on a counter in plastic bags after they were returned to a Best Buy in the US. Photo: AFP

The flagship smartphone has been dogged by controversy since its release six weeks ago, when a global recall was announced by the tech giant due to faulty batteries.

Local telco companies had been giving customers replacement Note7 phones, but that had now stopped, because the replacements were plagued by similar issues.

Spark and Vodafone were both offering customers a full refund, or an alternative mobile phone.

The AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the US have already confirmed they would no longer replace the devices in the US, while the latter said it would halt all sales of the phone.

Auckland Samsung devotee Kieren Streifler said she bought two phones directly from Samsung in early September.

Due to the recalls, however, she had been forced to set up three separate phones since then.

"Obviously, the problem still exists. What do we do? We're Samsung loyal customers, we have TV, washing machine, fridge - everything Samsung - but I'm looking at other phones now.

"I'm just shocked at the lack of communication."

In a statement, Samsung said it was stopping all sales and exchanges of the Note7 model while it carried out an investigation, and people who owned an original or replacement Note7 phone should power it down and stop using the phone.

The company said any remedies would have to go through customer centres or the retailers from which the phones were originally bought.

Samsung said in a statement last month that the issue of overheating was caused by a "rare" manufacturing error that resulted in the battery's "anode-to-cathode [negative and positive electrodes]" coming into contact.

But last week, a domestic flight in the US was evacuated after a replacement Note 7 started emitting smoke in the cabin. And a man in Kentucky reportedly woke up to a bedroom full of smoke from a replaced Note 7.

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