Galaxy Note 7 recall FAQ: Everything you need to know about returning and exchanging your phone

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, you need to read this now.



What is the Galaxy Note 7 recall about?

Every single Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone needs to be returned — even the supposedly safe replacement phones.

Samsung is in the middle of an active recall for the Galaxy Note 7, which the company first voluntarily recalled in early September when a major battery flaw caused a small number of the phones to spontaneously explode and sometimes burst into flames, damaging property and leaking dangerous chemicals. As of late September, the company said that over half of US customers opted to return their phones, and 90 percent of them exchanged their original Note 7 for a replacement Note 7 phone.

But the replacement Note 7 devices appear to be faulty as well. After five reported incidents of replacement Note 7 phones catching fire, Samsung and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are telling every single Note 7 owner around the world to stop using, shut down and return the phones.

While the replacement Note 7 hasn’t been formally recalled — yet — Samsung’s intentions are clear. Samsung has permanently stopped manufacturing the Note 7, and instructed every cellular carrier and retailer around the world to stop selling it. You can’t get a new or replacement Note 7 at any AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint store, as all major US carriers — and those in other countries — have agreed to pull it from shelves. The phone is effectively dead.

What are my options to return or exchange the Note 7?

Samsung will give you back your money, or help you exchange your old Note 7 for a different phone. Exchange programs may differ by region, and many aren’t in place quite yet for the replacement Note 7 — but generally, take it back to where you bought it, and check your local Samsung website for more details.

Here are some examples so far:

US: Every major US cellular carrier will give you any other phone in exchange for the Galaxy Note 7, or a full refund. You’ll also get a $25 gift card or store credit. If you bought your phone from, call 1-844-365-6197.

UK: Details aren’t finalized: “We are currently working with our channel partners across the region to put in place a replacement programme which will allow you to exchange your Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge,” the company said in a statement. “When you exchange your device you will be refunded the difference in price. Alternatively you can obtain a full refund.” You can watch this Samsung UK page for more specific guidance. If you bought your phone from Samsung, call 0330 7267467.

Australia: Return your phone directly to the store, or call 1300 362 603 if you bought from Samsung. Details aren’t finalized: “Samsung Australia is working with all its partners to ensure all customers can receive an exchange — including to a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge (plus a refund for the difference in price) — or full refund for their Galaxy Note 7.” You can watch this Samsung Australia page for more specific guidance.

Singapore: “Samsung Electronics Singapore is in talks with our telecommunication operator and retail partners to work out a resolution for our Galaxy Note 7 customers. Details of the remedy will be shared very soon. In the meantime, Galaxy Note 7 customers who require a courtesy device on loan (subject to stock availability) can visit the Samsung Customer Service Centre at Westgate (#03-01) from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.” Watch this Samsung Singapore page for more details.

Lithium-ion batteries like this are commonly embedded in phones, which makes them hard to replace.
Aloysius Low/CNET

Why are the batteries exploding in the first place?

Here’s the short version: The lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones contain flammable chemicals that catch fire when they touch. The long version (which is still unconfirmed for now) is that Samsung’s manufacturing process “placed pressure on plates contained within battery cells,” which “brought negative and positive poles into contact.”

The full explanation so far: Here’s why Samsung Note 7 phones are catching fire
Is it dangerous to keep using my phone? Is it possible that my Note 7 will spontaneously combust?

Yes. If you own a Note 7, you should power it down immediately and seek to exchange or replace the phone.

Really, though, it feels fine.

You really need to return the phone. Turn it off. Now.
What should I do if my phone catches fire?

If you can, douse the flames with a fire extinguisher or baking soda. Water will help, too (if the phone isn’t plugged in). If you don’t have those items, try to (safely) move it to a non-flammable surface and let it burn out.

October 11, 2016