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The Straits Times
Sep 27, 2016
Just a month or so after getting their hands on Samsung's flagship Galaxy Note7 phones, thousands of consumers have had to exchange them for new ones this month, in a worldwide recall of the phones sparked by incidents in which they caught fire.
A small number of these consumers even had to exchange the phones twice - after replacements were found to overheat and rapidly drain power while being charged.
Two consumers told The Straits Times that they had to swop their phones again over the weekend. Another five to 10 consumers posted similar complaints about their newly exchanged phones on Samsung Mobile Singapore's Facebook page.
A Samsung spokesman in Singapore said the problem was not widespread. "There is a very small number of cases related to the charging of the replaced Galaxy Note7 devices which are not related to the recent battery cell issue," she said, without elaborating.
Senior marketing manager Vivien Ng, 40, collected her first replacement Note7 two weeks ago at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, where Samsung's exchange programme will run until this Sunday.
After a software update last Thursday, its screen showed an array of rainbow colours. The device also took more than six hours to fully charge.
"This sounds ridiculously long as the phones are supposed to be equipped with fast-charging capability," she said, noting the original Note7 took about an hour to fully charge. She returned to Suntec last Saturday to exchange the phone for a second time. "Even this set feels extremely hot when charging," she added.
Retiree Herman Chia, 64, also returned to Suntec last Saturday after his first exchange set started to overheat. "The screen turned red at the edges when I swiped up and down," said Mr Chia, who was loaned a Galaxy S7 Edge while Samsung examines his Note7.
Senior lecturer Tracy Loh of the communications and new media department at National University of Singapore said Samsung should allow a refund or exchange the phones for another item of similar value. "Giving out replacement phones that have similar problems as the defective phones can unravel the good crisis management strategies that Samsung has in place so far," she said.
Samsung had generated goodwill, she said, by promptly recalling the phones, and extending the exchange to handsets bought from parallel importers and to a date beyond the original deadline of Oct 2.
The problem is not confined to Singapore. Last Thursday, South Korean TV news network YTN reported similar incidents of newly exchanged Note7 phones overheating or losing power while charging.
Mr Michael Tan, 45, a market observer and director of an IT company in Singapore, said: "If you charge a phone which is using a lot of power rapidly, it will overheat because both the charging battery and phone circuits will be generating maximum heat."