CPSC: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users should power down, stop using phone due to fire hazard

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Sade Baderinwa has the story. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Government safety officials are urging anyone with the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to stop using the device immediately.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued the strong warning to all Note 7 users Friday, saying they should "power them down and stop charging or using the device."

The warning comes after some of the lithium-ion batteries in the phones caught fire during charging and normal use.

CPSC and Samsung are working cooperatively to formally announce an official recall of the devices, as soon as possible.

The FAA on Thursday warned airline passengers with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to leave their phones off and not charging when flying.

Last week, Samsung ordered a global recall of the jumbo phones after its investigation of explosion reports found the rechargeable batteries were at fault. In one case, a family in St. Petersburg, Florida, reported a Galaxy Note 7 phone left charging in their Jeep caught fire, destroying the vehicle.

Click here to access Samsung's Note 7 exchange program

Samsung's president of Samsung Electronics America, Tim Baxter, issued a statement Friday that confirmed the company is working with the CPSC.

"New Note7 replacement devices will be issued to exchange program participants upon completion of the CPSC process. In the interim, consumers can return their Note7 for another device," Baxter said.

Meanwhile, the CPSC is asking all consumers to report product safety incidents involving lithium-ion batteries in smartphones via its website, www.SaferProducts.gov.

Here are the details of the recall from Samsung:

The US Note7 Exchange Program offers consumers the following choices:
1. Exchange current Galaxy Note7 device with a new Galaxy Note7 (pending CPSC approval).
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.

Select carrier and retail outlets will also provide customers, who prefer a replacement Note7, with a Samsung loaner phone to use until new Note7s are available.
Additionally, participants in the US exchange program will receive a $25 gift card or bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets.

Galaxy Note7 owners can contact or visit the retail outlet where they purchased their device or call 1-800-SAMSUNG to initiate a product exchange and to resolve any other questions or concerns. This website has also been set up to help users with the exchange.

FLYING WITH THE NOTE 7

If you travel with a Samsung Note 7, you're likely on the honor system when deciding whether to use or charge the device during a flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration says that because of concern about fires involving the new smartphone, it "strongly advises" airline passengers not to use or charge one or stow one in checked baggage.

It is very unusual for the FAA to warn passengers about a specific branded product.

The three biggest U.S. airlines - American, Delta and United - said Friday that flight attendants will remind passengers of the FAA warning, but it was unclear how they would make sure that passengers keep the Samsung devices powered off.

Jeffrey Price, who wrote a book on aviation security, said flight attendants will have to patrol the aisles for scofflaws, and they might get help from people who turn in fellow passengers.

"I think they are going to have a hard time enforcing this one," he said. "Hopefully Samsung will make the appropriate fixes so their phones quit having issues sooner than later."

The FAA said it can't prohibit the devices until the product-safety commission issues a recall. A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration declined to say whether screeners would look for the devices either in carry-on or checked bags.

"Unless it is a strictly prohibited item, there's not much that the TSA can do," said Todd Curtis, director of an air-safety foundation. He said the airlines could act on their own to bar the phones, as they did last year with hoverboards.

Singapore Airlines said that it prohibited the use or charging of the Galaxy device during flights.

U.K.-based Virgin Atlantic and Australian carrier Qantas, like most U.S. airlines, said they would tell passengers not to check the Galaxy phone and to leave it switched off during flights.

Spirit Airlines said it would send customers an email 12 hours before their flight to tell them about the FAA warning.

Safety experts have been concerned for several years about the fire risk when lithium-ion batteries are used or even carried on flights.

In February, a UN aviation panel recommended that nations adopt a temporary ban on cargo shipments of rechargeable lithium batteries on passenger airlines, although the policy wouldn't apply to batteries inside devices like phones, laptops or tablets.

Shares of Samsung Electronics Co. tumbled 4 percent Friday, the worst decline for the company's stock since January.

(Some information from the Associated Press)
Related Topics:
technologycellphonesamsungproduct recallsrecall
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