Two more Galaxy Note 7 phones catch fire, Samsung allegedly stonewalling users
Another two of Galaxy Note 7 phones that were replaced under the recall have lit on fire, with a text inadvertently sent to one of the owners in the middle of support communication exchanges suggesting that Samsung is attempting to "slow down" user complaints about the phone.
On Tuesday, another Kentucky man's Galaxy Note 7 phone lit on fire, sending him to the hospital with acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation. Samsung said nothing publicly about Tuesday's fire at the time, potentially contributing to an event the next day at the Louisville airport the next day.
"Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter" — Samsung tech support misdirected text message
"The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe," Michael Klering told television station WKYT about Tuesday's fire. "It wasn't plugged in. It wasn't anything, it was just sitting there."
Klering had the phone for slightly more than a week, and claims it was one of the replaced models.
After complaining to Samsung, Klering recieved a text message from Samsung support, apparently intended for another support associate.
"Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter," the text, which was seen by WKYT, said. "We just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it."
Samsung asked for the phone, but Klering refused. Klering did accept an offer to pay for the phone carcass to be x-rayed, however.
"We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously and we are engaged with Mr. Klering to ensure we are doing everything we can for him," said Samsung in a statement about the fire that sent Klering to the hospital. "Customer safety remains our highest priority as we are investigating the matter."
Friday's fire in Minnesota
Later in the week, 13-year old Abby Zuis felt a "weird, burning sensation" while holding her phone on Friday, according to ABC affiliate KSTP.
Zuis received only minor burns before tossing the phone to the ground. The school principal prevented a larger issue by kicking the phone out of the building.
Samsung issued platitudes to the Zuis family similar to what Klering was told.
"We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously and we are engaged with the Zuis family to ensure we are doing everything we can for them and their daughter," said Samsung in a statement. "Customer safety remains our highest priority as we are investigating the matter."
Pattern of destruction
The two fires add up to three reported issues in a week. Additionally, all three phones weren't being charged when the fires started.
Southwest Airlines evacuated 75 passengers from a flight preparing to take off from Louisville Airport in Kentucky on Wednesday after smoke from a Samsung Galaxy phone filled the cabin. The phone was a replacement Galaxy Note 7 that had been powered down for takeoff.
Samsung issued a voluntary recall worldwide for the device after wide-spread reports of battery fires during charging, and drew criticism from the U.S. Consumer Protection and Safety Commission for how the matter was being handled. All customers who have purchased a Galaxy Note 7 should now be able to swap the device for a new one either online or at wireless carrier corporate-owned stores.
Before the well-publicized battery fires in the Galaxy Note 7 forcing the recall, reviewers and YouTube examiners discovered that the Gorilla Glass 5 used for the screen of the device was significantly more susceptible to screen scratches than other smartphones, iPhone 7 family included.
On Friday, all of the U.S. carriers started allowing Galaxy Note 7 owners, including those already replaced by the exchange program, for other devices. AT&T is reportedly considering halting sales of the device altogether.