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Samsung just recalled the Galaxy Note 7 — without using the word recall

Samsung just recalled the Galaxy Note 7 — without using the word recall

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James Bareham / The Verge

Samsung just issued a worldwide recall of all versions of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone — only it never used the word recall. The company has asked all its partners to immediately halt sales of all versions of the phone, original and replacement, and advises all owners to immediately power down their devices.

In a statement emailed to The Verge, a Samsung spokesperson said:

Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 ... 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.

Samsung also updated the original Galaxy Note 7 recall site to note that all Note 7 phones should immediately be returned for another Samsung smartphone model or a refund. Previously, the page said the "recalled" Note 7 could be exchanged for a replacement Note 7. That language is now gone.

This is a shocking but inevitable turn of events for Samsung after at least five replacement Note 7 handsets caught fire in the past week in the US alone. A spokesperson for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) — the regulator in charge of consumer product recalls — told The Verge that "we are not calling it a recall... at this time." Instead, it is officially a "government warning from the Chairman" of the Commission.

The word "recall" has specific legal meaning, and so Samsung and the CPSC are not using that term to describe this action. In other words, the original Galaxy Note 7 remains "recalled," but the replacement phones are not — however the result is the same: shut off your phone and return it, as soon as possible.

We have reached out to the FAA to see if these developments change their guidance to airlines about whether the phones can be brought on board at all.

Though neither Samsung nor the CPSC would give any information about the status of the investigation, it seems likely that it was confirmed that the phones that caught fire were in fact replacement devices, as we reported. As a result, the only acceptable action was to immediately stop sales globally and advise all customers to immediately shut down the phones and return them.

Still, we don’t know why Samsung hasn’t been more forthcoming about what’s going on with these replacement devices, but it doesn’t really matter. Until we get more information, the simplest explanation is the best one: the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a fundamentally defective product and they should all be returned to Samsung as soon as possible.