Galaxy Note 7 owners whose handsets overheated and caught fire say Samsung isn’t doing enough to compensate them for damage caused by the device. At least 96 devices exploded due to a battery fault, and many caused damage to property, including a Jeep.
Samsung recalled 2.5 million Note 7 units when it discovered the fault, then made the device available again after believing it had eliminated the issue. Sadly, replacement devices thought to be safe also started exploding, leading to a second recall and the death of the Note 7.
Samsung has since called for all Note 7 units to be returned, and the device has been banned by the CPSC, meaning it cannot be sold in the United States. All Note 7 variants are also banned from airplanes, leading Samsung to set up exchange booths inside airports.
But not everyone got a chance to return their Note 7 before it exploded. Almost 100 users witnessed theirs catch fire, and many also suffered property damage as a result.
“It was very startling. No one expects to be woken up at 3am with a noise that sounded like a whole bundle of sparklers being lit all at once,” said John Barwick from Marion, Illinois, whose Note 7 caught fire on his nightstand, despite not being plugged into a charger.
“My first reaction was to get it out of the house. I didn’t want my home to catch fire,” he told The Guardian.
Barwick says the fire damaged his nightstand and left chemicals all over his bed, mattress, curtains, and carpet. It also spilled onto his hardwood floor. Barwick estimates that it would cost around $9,000 to replace everything that was damaged.
But Samsung won’t help
Barwick is one of many Note 7 owners who are in this situation, but it seems Samsung isn’t willing to help. Despite recalling all devices, the South Korean company is avoiding claims for compensation.
Barwick was told Samsung would pay out for the damage, and was referred to the company’s insurance firm, Samsung Fire & Marine. “They told me they weren’t going to pay replacement costs of any damaged items,” he said.
However, after submitting photos of the damage, Barwick received a much lower offer that wouldn’t have allowed him to replace all of the items. Others, like Wesley Hartzog from South Carolina, whose home was uninhabitable after a Note 7 fire, were refused help.
Hartzog believes his Note 7 started a fire in his garage that caused damage to his motorcycle, 4×4, lawnmower, bicycles, and more. He and his daughters have been staying at a friends house and in hotels while the investigation continues, but Samsung refuses to help with costs.
“I just thought they would have been more helpful and considerate about trying to assist me to either get back into my house or trying to expedite the process of the investigation,” he said.
Samsung is shooting itself in the foot
While Samsung dealt with the first Note 7 recall well, working hard to replace devices and put things right for its fans, its second has been a disaster. The company has tried to cover up some fires, and it took too long to respond to new reports that replacement devices were unsafe.
Now that it is refusing to cough up the compensation many owners deserve, it is shooting itself in the foot. This is the kind of thing that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of consumers, and encourages them to go elsewhere the next time they need a new product.