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Galaxy Note 7 recall: What to do with the phone until it is replaced?

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 5, 2016
Don't panic, some analysts say: Fire reports about the latest device are only a small portion of total numbers sold

After reports that some Galaxy Note 7s have caught on fire, Samsung said Friday it will stop all sales and replace all of those devices now owned by customers.

But the South Korea-based company so far remains unclear in its public statements about what a customer should do immediately with that model of smartphone in their hands.

Should a customer stop using a Note 7 right now because it might catch fire? Should a customer stop charging the phone because the reported fires are related to a battery issue, as Samsung said in a statement on Friday?

The answer, several analysts said, is to use your common sense. Several said that Samsung noted there have been just 35 cases of fires reported globally to date, with some 2.5 million Note 7s already sold -- a tiny proportion. Some observers suggested customers should go to the place where the phone was purchased and see what a replacement plan will be, possibly seeking another phone to use until a replacement Note 7 arrives.

And, they wondered, once the replacement Note 7 becomes available, what assurances will there be that it won't also catch on fire? Customer service reps for both AT&T and Verizon, when reached by phone, weren't able to offer much insight.

"We have no recommendation from anybody to stop using [a Note 7], but we've been told, basically, to watch it during charging, that there's no sizzling," said an AT&T customer service rep who asked not to be identified because he's not authorized to talk to the press.

A Verizon service rep said, "that is a great question" when asked what to do with a Note 7 today, following reports of fires with some. She then said to reach out to Samsung at 888-987-4357 or www.samsung.com.

Samsung's service line had a recording that explained it was getting a high number of calls. Computerworld reached a service tech after waiting 45 minutes and was told that it was okay to continue using a Note 7 and to continue charging it as long as it is still working. The tech said to "avoid overheating" the phone as well.

Note 7 customers who provide their phone number and the IMEI 15 digit number on the back of the device will be called back when Samsung has more information on the recall, she said.

The company said in its Friday statement that it will "voluntarily replace" current Note 7 devices with a new one "over the coming weeks" but didn't offer the same advice that the phone service tech offered.

That "coming weeks" waiting game might be a little too much for some Note 7 owners.

 

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