Business

Samsung urges consumers to 'immediately' stop using Galaxy Note 7 smartphone

Samsung Electronics is urging consumers worldwide to stop using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible, as more reports of the phones catching fire emerged even after the company's global recall.

Company recalling 2.5 million phones just two weeks after launch

A screen magnification feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is demonstrated in New York in this July 2016 photo. The company has advised consumers to power off their phones following reports of them catching fire. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Samsung Electronics is urging consumers worldwide to stop using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible, as more reports of the phones catching fire emerged even after the company's global recall.

The call from the South Korean company, the world's largest smartphone maker, comes after U.S. authorities urged users to switch off the Galaxy Note 7 and not to use or charge it during a flight. Several airlines around the world asked travellers not switch on the jumbo smartphone or put it in checked baggage, with some carriers banning the phone on flights.

In a statement posted Saturday on its website, Samsung asked users around the world to "immediately" return their existing Galaxy Note 7 and get a replacement.

"We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them as soon as possible," said Koh Dong-jin, Samsung's mobile president. "We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible."

Consumers can visit Samsung's service centres to receive rental phones for temporary use. Samsung plans to provide Galaxy Note 7 devices with new batteries in South Korea starting Sept. 19, but schedules for other countries vary.

Unprecedented recall

Earlier this month, Samsung announced an unprecedented recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s worldwide just two weeks after the phone was launched. That move came after Samsung's investigation into reports of fires found that rechargeable lithium batteries manufactured by one of its suppliers were at fault.

The U.S. was among the first countries to take a step following the recall. Late Friday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urged owners of the phone to turn them off and leave them off. It also said it was working with Samsung and hoped to have an official recall "as soon as possible."

The recall by the safety commission will allow the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ban passengers from carrying the phones on planes. The FAA already warned airline passengers late Thursday not to turn on or charge the Galaxy Note 7 during flights and not to put the smartphone in their checked bags.

Transport Canada issued a similar warning to Canadian air passengers on Friday.

Samsung said it had confirmed 35 cases of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire as of Sept. 1, most of them occurring while the battery was being charged.

There are at least two more cases that Samsung said it is aware of — one at a hotel in Perth, Australia, and another in St. Petersburg, Florida, where a family reported that a Galaxy Note 7 left charging in their Jeep had caught fire, destroying the vehicle.

now