Samsung under duress as battery fires set off Galaxy Note7 recalls

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has officially mandated that tech giant Samsung recall over one million Galaxy Note7 devices from the market following reports regarding fire damage caused by the phone’s battery.

The report mentioned 92 separate incidents in which the phone’s battery overheated while charging. Of the 92 reports, 26 resulted in burns to the body and 55 reported property damage as a result of the fires.

When the mandate was released, the CPSC urged customers to shut off their phones and return them to the carrier or retail establishment from which they originally bought the devices.

“First option, you can get a replacement phone. The second option, an equal option, is you can get a refund. It is the choice of the customer, the customer’s choice alone, which option to choose,” CSPC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a speech.

In order to find out whether a customer should exchange his or her device, the CPSC recommends that each client examines the unique code on the back of each device and contacts Samsung’s representative to confirm whether the phone’s battery is safe for use. Customers can also check the code manually on Samsung’s website.

However, the problem is relatively scarce. Less than 0.1 percent of the Galaxy Note7 smartphones sold since August were deemed dysfunctional due to fire hazards.

The issue arrived at an inopportune moment for Samsung, as Apple released a new line of iPhones that same week. Apple has been advertising and marketing the new features of the iPhone 7 throughout August and the first few weeks of September.

Prior to its release, consumers seemed to anticipate poor sales for the new phone because of its lack of a headphone jack, which forces some customers to purchase wireless headphones. Thus, Galaxy Note7’s recall may have increased the popularity of the iPhone 7.

The recall will be a major setback for Samsung, which has been competing with tech giants like Apple and LG to gain control of the smartphone market. The South Korean-based company claims that it will fix the problem and create a line of Galaxy Note7 smartphones that do not have a problem with the battery. In order to resolve the issue, Samsung is installing a software patch in each Galaxy Note7 that will prohibit users from charging the phone unless the battery life is at 60 percent or below. The idea behind this restriction is to directly control and prevent instances of overheating.

Samsung is generally considered a reliable company that manufactures high-quality and efficient technology. With this recent fallout, other companies, including Apple, can open up its own market to Samsung’s customers and potentially rake them in for good.

Advertisements for the Galaxy Note7 highlighted its dual-curved screen and rounded back for added comfort. As per usual, the phone is said to be water-resistant. These characteristics attracted typical Samsung consumers until the announcement of the recall.

The news cycling this recall are particularly harmful toward Samsung’s market value and consumers’ interests. Major airlines are prohibiting customers from bringing Galaxy Note7 smartphones on their planes because of the risk that the batteries would explode. Such commentary can cause Samsung’s loyal fan base to falter and move to Apple.

Customers may also choose to veer toward the new LG phone lineup, which comes with the added benefit of a lower cost. LG has released the V20 during the week of the recall, but  the company found it difficult to compete with Apple and Samsung, both of which released new devices that were heavily marketed and already well-known.

Despite this apparent hit, Samsung’s infrastructure and wide range of products will aid quick recovery. The recall will cost Samsung about $1 billion, but the company will be able to pay off the cost. The charge is unlikely to have any impact on Samsung’s financial worth.

In July, Samsung predicted that its second quarter profit would reach roughly $7 billion, so the charge to fix and redistribute new phones will not end the company.

Whether Samsung will learn from this mistake, however, is a vital question to ask. Judging by the timeliness of its response to the customers’ complaints and reports, Samsung developers have realized their mistake and are working quickly to resolve it in order to avoid losing more clients. Apple and LG may be the preferred go-to tech companies for the time being but, after this recall ends, Samsung may flourish again with its original consumers.