At last, Samsung has agreed to a mass recall of Chinese-made Note7 phones. On Tuesday, the company filed a recall plan for all 190 thousand devices distributed across China, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, succumbing to pressure after briefings and investigations from the government body.
According to the notice, Samsung China has suspended production and sales of the Note 7 phones since Monday, due to “abnormal heating, combustion and possible fire hazards”.
Users can either trade in their hazardous models for a new Samsung phone of their choice, and receive the price difference in cash along with a 300 RMB (45 USD) gift voucher; or they may return their Note 7 device for a full refund.
The recall will mostly be done through original phone distributors, with Samsung footing the bill for all shipping costs.
Samsung’s Chinese website responded belatedly with the same recall plan, hours after the government notice was published. No visible edits have been made to the Note 7 product page on the website, and is still the first product listed under the “Phone/tablet” category.
Note 7 phones have been cleared off most major e-commerce platforms. Samsung’s official flagship stores on Jd.com no longer carries the model, while Tmall seems to have ceased to sell all Note series phones. Sunning and Guomei has also suspended sales of the device.
Interestingly Taobao, which tends to be less uniform and organized, also responded with speed to the recalls. Just a few hours earlier, individual shop owners were exhibiting the phones as mementos of a historical Samsung fiasco. Soon, these too were removed.
More than 20 of these faulty devices have been bursting up in flames across the nation, concurrent with combustions elsewhere, but until now, Samsung has brushed these incidents off as individual cases caused by “external heat sources”.
The company’s previous inaction in China, while it scrambled to recall devices across the world, stirred up discontent, and was seen as proof of the Korean company’s bias and indifference towards the Chinese market.
Weibo users were indignant towards Samsung’s sluggish and forced actions. “If it weren’t for pressure from the government, they would still be stubbornly denying responsibility”, remarked one user. There is little or no sympathy coming from the Chinese public, even as Samsung bows down in defeat. “I really feel for the factories that made Note 7 phone cases”, said another, “what will they do with all their inventory?”