Samsung Note 9 users are reporting that their phones have spontaneously exploded into a ball of fire, putting the manufacturer into a new dilemma. Not only will they have to deal with claims of compensation, but the company will also have to decide whether to recall the devices or continue allowing people to use them.
The first incident
The first person to report the problem was New York-based real estate agent Diane Chung. According to her, she had the phone in her purse when the incident occurred. Diane saw smoke coming from the purse together with some screeching, whistling sounds.
She opened her purse quickly to find that it was burning. Diane tried to remove the phone from her purse and got injured in the process. Another individual had to pick up the phone from the ground and put it in a bucket of water to stop the fire.
Diane has filed a case against Samsung, arguing that she is entitled to compensation because of her traumatic experience, while also requesting that the sale of Note 9 phones be banned. Meanwhile, Samsung tried to play down the issue as an isolated incident.
“We have not received any reports of similar incidents involving a Galaxy Note 9 device and we are investigating the matter,” NDTV quoted a Samsung spokesperson. Unfortunately for Samsung, the second incident of a Note 9 explosion followed very soon.
The second incident
It was a customer from Morocco who was the second victim of a blazing Note 9. The phone had just suffered an automatic shutdown before going up in flames.
“I had it in my back pocket before taking it out to take a picture, but it froze and shut down. After trying and failing to turn it back on for a minute or so, I put it down on my countertop and figured I’ll just try again later. Literally no more than a couple seconds after putting it down, the whole thing spontaneously went up in flames. I had a couple nearby towels catch fire too, thought my kitchen was gonna burn down for a moment,” Life Hacker quotes the victim.
Though he has declined any service initiated by the local Samsung store since his phone was out of warranty, it seems that the company, later on, understood the seriousness of the issue. As a consequence, they offered him a Galaxy S9 as a free replacement.
Samsung has had issues with burning phones in the past. Its Note 7 phone was notorious for spontaneously combusting. In fact, the situation had become so dire that the company was forced to recall millions of units to save face. The fault was later identified to be with the battery, which tended to overheat and end up in flames.
Note 8 users also faced battery issues, with many people claiming that the phone refused to charge once the battery was drained completely. As a result, the users could not switch on their phones no matter how long they tried to charge up the phone. In fact, the model never even displayed the charging signal when connected to a charger.
During the release of Note 9, Samsung CEO Koh Dong-jin had tried to assure the public that the new Note 9 will not be facing the same issues as Note 7 or Note 8. He was quoted by the New York Post as saying: “The battery in the Galaxy Note 9 is safer than ever. Users do not have to worry about the batteries anymore.”
Samsung will be facing a tough choice if more such incidents come into the light — should it recall the product and risk losing the trust of its customers or should it wait and see whether the incidents are just flukes?