Samsung has been criticised by owners of Galaxy Note 7, who claim the company is not compensating them properly for the damage caused by the device catching fire. At least three owners have reportedly said they are unhappy with the response from Samsung.
About 1.9 million Note 7 units have been recalled in the US due to the risk posed by the faulty lithium-ion battery in the device. Samsung received 96 reports of batteries overheating in the Note 7 in the US including 23 new reports since the phone was recalled on 15 September. In addition, it received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage.
John Barwick from Marion, Illinois, told the Guardian his wife's Note 7 exploded on 8 September. The fire damaged his nightstand and sprayed chemicals over the bed, mattress, curtains and carpet. He estimated the damage at about $9,000.
Barwick said he called up Samsung 45 minutes after the fire and was told he would get a call from the company within 24 hours. He called them back as he did not receive any response and emailed the photos of the burnt phone. "They said they'd call us back. They never did," he is quoted as saying.
Later, Samsung referred Barwick to its insurance company called Samsung Fire & Marine.
"They told me they weren't going to pay replacement costs of any damaged items. We were asking to have our carpet replaced, and to have the goods that were sprayed on replaced. We sent them photos," he said, adding Samsung offered a depreciated value of the items.
"It seemed that Samsung's priority was retrieving that phone. I told them I'd be more than happy to allow them to inspect it to ensure the claim was authentic but I wasn't going to give over custody until everything was made good."
Another owner, Wesley Hartzog, from South California blamed his Note 7 for damaging his house.
Hartzog said his garage was destroyed, and damage was caused to his motorcycle, lawnmower and bicycles. Other things that were damaged included a water heater and electrical wiring.
A Samsung official reportedly promised him to move him into a hotel and bear the expenses for his meals. "But the next day Samsung Fire & Marine insurance called me and said it wasn't going to happen. I feel that was really unprofessional," he said.
Hartzog said Samsung was now paying him for a temporary condo for his family.
"I just thought they would have been more helpful and considerate about trying to assist me to either get back into my house or trying to expedite the process of the investigation," he added.
Shawn Minter from Richmond, Virginia, said his Note 7 was sitting unplugged on the nightstand, when it emitted a red flash and started to "burn, sizzle, and melt", and released a thick smoke. He said the company promised to inspect the device, but they never did.
"They were only interested in retrieving the phone. Once I told them I was giving the phone to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), they went dark," said Minter.
He gave his device to the CPSC, after which Samsung referred him to its insurance company.
The CPSC, meanwhile, is independently investigating Note 7 reported cases and also meeting the owners of affected devices. Scott Wolfson, a CPSC spokesman, told the Guardian: "That is putting their own safety at risk and just as importantly they are putting the safety of others at risk. This is a serious hazard and they should take it seriously."