Galaxy Note 7 Recall & Replacements: What You Need to Know

On September 2nd and just two weeks after the release of their flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, Samsung issued a global recall to replace every handset sold. Faulty battery modules were catching fire and even exploding. New phones will be available in the United States starting September 21st, and here’s what all owners need to know.

After a few weeks of waiting earlier this week Samsung officially started off the recall. The company confirmed replacements will be available September 21st, there’s a tool to check if your unit needs to be replaced, and much more.

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Read: Galaxy Note 7 Warranty: What You Need to Know

The company now has a new battery from a different manufacturer, made over 500,000 new Galaxy Note 7’s, and are shipping them to retailers. Below are details from each carrier, options for users, how the recall works, why it’s happening and more.

Note-7-outdoor

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As of Tuesday September 20th, Samsung confirmed over 500,000 new Galaxy Note 7 phones have already shipped to stores throughout the United States. This is a day early, and after calling several AT&T, and Verizon stores locally, they all have replacement models available right this moment. However, these are replacements only, and the phone is not for sale to the general public yet. Head in and get your new phone.

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After the recall was initiated on September 2nd, Samsung quickly launched a “Product Exchange Program” for the Galaxy Note 7. The link above goes over all of the details, which are still somewhat light and confusing. Users can trade it in for a different device, get a temporary loaner phone, or wait until the 21st to swap out the Galaxy Note 7 for a safe new one. Here’s an exert from their official statement.

“The U.S. Product Exchange Program will offer consumers the following choices:

1. Exchange current Galaxy Note7 device with a new Galaxy Note7
2. Exchange current Galaxy Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices.

As a gesture of appreciation, consumers will receive a $25 gift card or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets when choosing a Galaxy S7 family device or the Galaxy Note 7 within the exchange program.”

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Samsung further explains owners can head to the retail outlet or carrier they purchased the phone, or call 1-800-SAMSUNG to initiate a product exchange and to resolve any other questions or concerns.

The first two weeks were extremely confusing, and carriers weren’t all that helpful. Samsung is now working with the US Consumer Safety board for the recall, and new phones will be available at all retailers and carrier stores no later than September 21st. Samsung urges all owners to power down their Note 7, do not charge it, and get a new one right away.

Has My Galaxy Note 7 Been Recalled?

Short answer, Yes!

Typically a device recall consists of select faulty models being returned and replaced, but that isn’t the case here. According to Samsung over 90 devices caused a fire in the US alone, and all phones will be replaced. Better safe than sorry. So yes, your device will need to be returned at some point.

Samsung has updated their Galaxy Note 7 recall and replacement program website countless times with new information, and we have all the details below.

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a faulty Galaxy Note 7 that exploded

A faulty Galaxy Note 7 that exploded

How to Check If Your Note 7 is Safe

Samsung announced three different ways users can check to ensure their device is safe to use. New replacement models will have a sticker on the box with a big white square and a blue “S” inside, which is a new phone. We’re also hearing a software update will change the battery status indicator in the notification bar from white to green. New phones will have a green battery in the top corner. As shown below.

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A "Green" battery indicator logo indicates a new and safe Galaxy Note 7

A “Green” battery indicator logo indicates a new and safe Galaxy Note 7

If the battery logo is white on your new phone you have two options. One, use the IMEI checker tool in our link above to make sure you have a safe new phone, or wait for the software update from Samsung. At this point ANY Note 7 bought at a carrier store or replaced on or after September 21st should be completely 100% safe to use.

When Will the Recall Start?

Samsung will be replacing every Galaxy Note 7 sold, and are working diligently with partners and carriers to make the process as efficient as possible. As you saw from the statement above, users smartphones will be replaced with a new one “no later than September 21st” in the United States. In fact, most sold in Canada have already been replaced.

Those in the United States can head to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, Best Buy, and other retailers on the 21st to get a new one. Those who switch it out for another Note 7 or another Samsung device will get a $25 gift card, or credit on their bill.

The Galaxy Note 7 is still one of the best smartphones released in 2016, and the new ones are completely safe. So get a new one and continue enjoying everything this phone has to offer.

What Can You Do Right Now?

Obviously something that could potentially explode and catch fire, or worse, burn down your house, is a big deal. Which is why it’s completely understandable that some may not want to wait any longer to get a new phone.

Thankfully you have a few different options. For one, we’d recommend owners stop using the Galaxy Note 7 and go back to an older device, or head into a carrier store for more help. Below is information from all major carriers in the United States. If you have an old Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, iPhone or some other device, switch to that for now. It isn’t the biggest and best phone, but it’s the safest bet. Personally I’d recommend users return it to their carrier store and get the Galaxy S7 Edge temporarily until the 21st. It’s almost the exact same phone with a slightly smaller 5.5-inch screen, the same water-resistant features, and actually has better battery life. Oh, and it won’t explode. Here’s a comparison between the two.

Read: Galaxy S7 Edge Review: Samsung’s Best Yet

We’d also suggest that users do not leave the Galaxy Note 7 plugged in overnight to charge, as it could overheat. After multiple updates from Samsung themselves users probably shouldn’t charge it at all, and are being instructed to turn the devices off until it can be replaced. It’s not worth the risk.

Replacement from Carriers

Reports confirm that most Galaxy Note 7 owners are still using the device, but they shouldn’t be. All carriers will allow for a full refund (regardless of the phones condition) not to mention will give you a temporary replacement or let you trade it in for any other smartphone.

Verizon Wireless

Verizon will let Galaxy Note 7 owners return their device at no charge, and let you pickup something different instead. That, or wait for the recall to begin and simply swap it out for a new one. Here’s their statement:

“This morning, Samsung announced a voluntary recall of the Galaxy Note 7 in response to an issue with the device’s battery. Because customer safety is our top priority, Verizon has stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7. Additionally, through September 30, 2016, Verizon is waiving the restocking fee for any customers who purchased a Galaxy Note 7 and wish to return or exchange it.”

T-Mobile

According to a news post by T-Mobile, their customers will get completely taken care of, and given refunds for anything and everything that has to do with the Galaxy Note 7.

Starting immediately, customers who are concerned about using the Note 7 can return the device to T-Mobile for a full, complete refund. They’ll get a full refund of anything paid for the device and any Note 7 accessories. We’ll waive any restocking charges and shipping fees, and customers can keep the free Netflix subscription they received with purchase during pre-order.

Sprint

The new CEO of Sprint confirmed a few details on Twitter, and is happy to let owners know they can return the Galaxy Note 7 and it will be replaced by a “similar device” until the recall process starts. Owners can get a full refund and change to something else, or get a temporary phone in the meantime. Again, that will probably be the Galaxy S7 Edge.

AT&T

Of course AT&T is offering something similar, stating that owners can return the device and any or all accessories for a full refund, replace the phone, or wait for a replacement. They recommend exchanging it, and we’d agree. Either for a different phone, or for a new Note 7 in the coming weeks. AT&T store staff will also be available to help owners. Here’s their updated official statement.

“Samsung has notified us that they have identified a battery cell issue in certain Galaxy Note7s. They have asked all retailers, including AT&T, to stop selling the device. Because safety is our top priority, customers are strongly encouraged to exchange the Samsung Note7 for a new device. ┬áCustomers with a Note7 may select a new smartphone, and may also return any Note7 accessories.”

It appears that all carriers will allow for full, complete refunds on the Galaxy Note 7. All major carriers will be working with Samsung to replace them with newer models in the moving forward. Stores will be more than willing to sell users a new device, help them transfer photos, music, contacts and information, and much more. Carrier stores and their staff will be extremely helpful right now, so take advantage of it.

We’d also recommend all owners backup their Galaxy Note 7, and use SmartSwitch to transfer everything to a Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S7 Edge until further notice.

Galaxy S7 Edge (left) vs Note 7 (Right)

Galaxy S7 Edge (left) vs Note 7 (Right)

Best Buy

Those who ordered the Galaxy Note 7 from Best Buy or another retailer should either call their carrier, or take it back to where it was purchased. A week after the recall was announced, Best Buy released the statement below. They’ve extended the return period until September 30th, and have store employees standing by to help owners with or without a receipt, to make the transition to a replacement or something else as seamless as possible.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 1.20.01 PM

Should I Keep Using My Note 7?

At first the reports were few and far in-between, and we weren’t too concerned about still using the device. However, now after multiple new reports have surfaced about fires, hotel fires, a Jeep burning down and more, we’d strongly suggest owners do not use the Galaxy Note 7.

In fact, Samsung’s own recall announcement has been updated to reflect similar language. Saying Samsung “strongly recommends users turn the device off” and not use it, and get it replaced as soon as possible. So at this point, no, we would not recommend using or charging the Galaxy Note 7. Turn off your phone and get it replaced, or use something else until a new Note 7 can be delivered.

Are Other Samsung Devices Affected?

No, there is no evidence to suggest any other Samsung devices are affected. We’ve seen similar reports about exploding smartphones or a battery that bulges up here and there from everyone. It happens from time to time. This is something we’ve seen on iPhone’s, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and even my iPod Touch exploded a few weeks ago. So it’s something that could happen, but no other Samsung devices are not at risk like we’re seeing with the Galaxy Note 7.

Right now this is all of the information we have regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall, and things are getting fixed very quickly. Carriers are being as helpful as they can, and new phones are available as we speak.

At this point everything is pretty much fixed and ready to go. Samsung is replacing all phones with new safe ones, plan to have an ad campaign saying sorry, giving users a $25 gift card and more. It’s still a great phone, so don’t let this recall sway your opinion of what’s still arguably the best phone of the year. Get a new one, and enjoy it.