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Samsung owners stung twice by recalls

For Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners seeking to relieve boredom on holiday flights, reading books and magazines had to suffice as distractions because their phones were banned from planes. In October, the Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibited the smartphones from being brought onto the plane via carry on or stowed luggage. Previous to this order, the DOT allowed the phone owners to bring their devices onto the plane if the phones remained powered down. Having received many reports of the phones overheating, however, the agency decided to the phones presented a risk to air traffic safety in any capacity-powered on or off.

Capitalizing on a rare Apple stumble with reviews of its latest iPhone iteration, Samsung sped up development of its Note 7 to extend its market share. Initially, the phone received positive reviews for its design. The praise evaporated as soon as reports of overheating batteries and melted cases surfaced. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 92 reports of overheated batteries were filed. As a result of the excessive heat, 26 people were burned and 55 cases of property damage were put on record.

While Samsung has recalled the Galaxy Note 7, its ability to reimburse and supply new phones to owners is limited by the size of its recall. Previous to the recall, the company shipped 2.5 million phones worldwide with 1 million sold in the United States. Owners were encouraged to return their phones to appropriate vendors; however, Samsung has been unable to provide suitable replacements for the phones. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the company, claiming the company informed customers they could be left without a phone for anywhere from "several days and weeks." Despite being without a phone, plaintiffs stated they continued to be charged for their data plans. It will take some time for all cellphone owners to be properly reimbursed.

Here is the takeaway from this debacle: while you may not own a Galaxy Note 7, there is a chance that something you purchase will be the subject of a future recall. Whether it is a piece of top-heavy furniture or an automobile with a faulty airbag, items that are the subject of recalls should be considered dangerous. Responding to the recall immediately improves the chances that your item will be quickly replaced or fixed.

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