Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the company’s ultimate triumph. Instead, it became a tragedy. After multiple reports of exploding batteries, a full recall that floundered, and replacement Note 7 handsets that also exploded, it’s time to call it: The Galaxy Note 7 is unsafe. Under absolutely no circumstances should you continue to use your Galaxy Note 7, ask for a replacement Note 7, or buy a new one.
Exploding batteries are no joke — especially when those faulty batteries are inside a device that you hold in your hands, cradle next to your face, and sleep next to at night. The issue is so serious that airlines ban Note 7-carrying passengers from planes and carriers have stopped selling the device.
Earlier we learned that Samsung had halted production of the phone and now it looks like the device has been officially suspended — in fact, Samsung has put a stop to sales of the phone and even warned all users that they should “power down” their phones.
“Consumers with an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 should power down and take advantage of the remedies available, including a refund at their place of purchase,” said Samsung in an official statement.
“We recognize that carrier partners have stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 in response to reports of heat damage issues, and we respect their decision. We are working diligently with authorities and third-party experts and will share findings when we have completed the investigation,” Samsung told Digital Trends in a statement. “Even though there are a limited number of reports, we want to reassure customers that we are taking every report seriously. If we determine a product safety issue exists, Samsung will take immediate steps approved by the CPSC to resolve the situation.”
Here is how to return your Galaxy Note 7, how to exchange it, and what you should buy instead.
How to return your Galaxy Note 7
If you bought a Galaxy Note 7 or recently received a replacement Note 7, you should immediately return it and get a replacement device. You can read the full Consumer Product Safety Committee’s report here.
If you bought a Galaxy Note 7, you can:
- Exchange the Note 7 for a new Note 7. We DO NOT recommend this course of action.
- Exchange it for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge and a refund of the difference in price between the two devices. A solid option.
- Exchange the Note 7 for a different phone at your carrier. Your best option.
- Samsung recommends owners complete that process at the store from which they bought the Note 7, or by calling 1-800-SAMSUNG. Regardless of their choice in exchange, though, every Note 7 owner will receive a $25 gift card to “participating retailers.”
Each U.S. carrier and retailer offers different options for customers who bought the Note 7. We’ve pulled all the info together here.
Know your rights! If any carrier argues with you about giving a full refund, show them the CPSC’s website. Any vendor of the Galaxy Note 7 is legally required to give you either a full refund or exchange it for a device of equal value.
The policy: AT&T stopped selling the Galaxy Note 7. “Based on recent reports, we’re no longer exchanging new Note 7s at this time … pending further investigation of these reported incidents,” an AT&T spokesman said. The carrier is encouraging customers with a recalled Note 7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange the device for another Samsung smartphone or smartphone of their choice, and will also refund any Note 7 accessories.
The policy: Verizon has suspended sales of the Galaxy Note 7 pending Samsung’s investigation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a representative told Digital Trends. It’s encouraging customers concerned about the safety of their replacement Note 7 smartphones to “take [them] back to the original point of purchase” in exchange for another smartphone. And it’s allowing online Verizon customers to exchange replacement Note 7 units at Verizon stores.
What to do: You can get a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. Alternatively, you can exchange your Note 7 for the Google Pixel or Pixel XL (arriving Oct. 20), HTC 10, iPhone 7 Plus (arriving in November), or LG G5.
The policy: T-Mobile halted sales of the Galaxy Note 7, citing concerns over the smartphone’s safety. “While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is suspending all sales of the new Note 7 and exchanges for replacement Note 7 devices,” a spokesperson for the carrier said. It is waiving restocking fees and providing a full refund to customers who return their device and giving subscribers who return their Note 7 a $25 credit on their monthly bill. In addition, T-Mobile is offering a “complete refund” on Note 7 devices and accessories — specifically, the full amount paid at time of purchase plus any and all associated fees — and letting those who received a free Netflix subscription as a bonus for pre-ordering the Note 7 retain that benefit, if they so choose.
The policy: Sprint suspended Note 7 sales and will allow you to exchange your Note 7 for any other device. The carrier added that it’s working with Samsung to understand the dangers of both the original Note 7 and the new so-called “safe” units that have since been found exploding. “Given recent issues reported in the media, Sprint is halting sales of replacement Note 7 devices pending the conclusion of the investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung,” Sprint told Digital Trends. “If a Sprint customer with a replacement Note 7 has any concerns, we will exchange it for any other device.”
The policy: Samsung’s website offers scant details on what to do if you bought your Note 7 from the company directly online. It simply says to call 1-844-365-6197 for assistance. Some users reported that they were unable to return their Galaxy Note 7 to Samsung by mail as requested due to UPS and FedEx refusing to transport the packages.
What to do: Get that full refund. If you can’t, get a Galaxy S7 Edge.
Call Samsung at 1-844-365-6197
The policy: Best Buy offers full refunds and exchanges on all Note 7 phones and accessories. The retailer is offering the option of a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge as an alternative. Best Buy will also get you a $25 credit from your carrier if you stick with a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. You can also return your Note 7 for a full refund and buy a different phone.
What to do: You can get a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. Alternatively, you can exchange your Note 7 for the Google Pixel or Pixel XL (arriving Oct. 20), Huawei Nexus 6P (unlocked), iPhone 7 Plus (arriving in November), Huawei Honor 8 (unlocked), or LG G5 (unlocked).
The policy: Amazon sent emails to buyers of the Note 7 informing them of the recall. The retailer directed customers to contact Amazon for details on how to get a full refund or replacement. You can choose to email Amazon, get a phone call from the retailer, or chat online. Here’s how to contact Amazon.
What to do: You can get a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. Alternatively, you can exchange your Note 7 for the Huawei Nexus 6P (unlocked), LG G5 (unlocked), HTC 10 (unlocked), Huawei Honor 8 (unlocked), ZTE Axon 7 (unlocked), OnePlus 3 (unlocked), or iPhone 7 Plus (unlocked).
Phones to buy if you wanted a Galaxy Note 7
If you were going to buy a Note 7, you still have lots of options. Some of these, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to get your hands on.
Google Pixel XL
Google has one helluva phone on its hands here. The Pixel XL is the perfect Galaxy Note 7 replacement. It has a 5.5-inch, Quad HD screen, boasts Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor, a killer 12.3-megapixel camera, and a 3,450mAh battery that doesn’t explode (too soon?). Best of all, this sleek metal and glass phone runs Android 7.1 out of the box and uses the new Google Assistant’s artificial intelligence to perform amazing tasks at your command. The Pixel XL gets automatic software updates, so it’ll be more secure and always up to date. Read our hands on.
LG’s V20 is a stylish metal phone with a removable aluminum back, hi-res audio support, and dual cameras back and front. This photographic wunderkind takes great photos with its dual-lens rear and front cameras, and it runs Android 7.0 out of the box. The V20 boasts Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip and a big 5.7-inch, Quad HD screen that has a tiny second screen up at the top for notifications and shortcuts. Read our full review.
HTC’s 10 is underrated. It’s a superb Android phone with a lovely 5.2-inch Quad HD screen and an aluminum unibody that looks and feels spectacular. It’s running a nearly stock version of Android Marshmallow and you can customize the UI wth fun themes if you get bored. The HTC 10 supports hi-res audio and stereo sound from its speakers. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 powers the phone. HTC also improved the 12-megapixel camera on the back of the phone, so it takes great photos. HTC has an awesome warranty that protects against screen breaks, too. Read our full review here.
iPhone 7 Plus
We know, it’s a bit odd seeing an iPhone on here, but the iPhone 7 Plus is more than able to fill the Galaxy Note 7′;s shoes with its 5.5-inch 1080p screen, 3D Touch in iOS 10, super fast A10 Fusion processor, and dual-camera setup. Those dual cameras can take amazing photos, offer telephoto 2X zoom with hardware and 10X zoom with software, include a cool DSLR-style blurring effect called bokeh, and much more. Read our full review here.
Article originally published in October 2016. Updated on 10-10-2016 by Christian de Looper: Added news that Samsung halted sales of the Galaxy Note 7.
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