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Samsung knew a third replacement Note 7 caught fire on Tuesday and said nothing

Samsung knew a third replacement Note 7 caught fire on Tuesday and said nothing


It sent a man to the hospital with smoke inhalation injuries

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James Bareham / The Verge

Another replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has caught fire, bringing the total to three this week alone. This one was owned by Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky. He told WKYT that he woke up at 4AM to find his bedroom filled with smoke and his phone on fire. Later in the day, he went to the hospital with acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation.

"The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe," Klering told WKYT, saying that he had owned the replacement phone for a little more than a week. "It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything, it was just sitting there."

The most disturbing part of this is that Klering’s phone caught fire on Tuesday and Samsung knew about it and didn’t say anything. And actually, it gets worse than that.

Samsung asked Klering if they could take possession of the phone and he said no, though the company did pay to have it X-rayed — but the damning evidence comes in the form of a text message that Klering inadvertently received from a Samsung representative:

Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it

Samsung was aware that its replacement phones were catching fire five days ago. Another caught fire on Thursday (on an airplane), and then another on Friday in the hands of a 13-year-old girl. That’s three in less than a week, with Samsung giving its customers little more than meaningless platitudes about "[taking] every report seriously" and that "customer safety remains our highest priority as we are investigating the matter."

Except that’s a lie. If customer safety was really the highest priority, we would have seen statements from Samsung telling customers to stop using even their replacement phones after the fire on the Southwest flight on Thursday.

At this point, it’s irresponsible for us to say anything else: if you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 you should immediately stop using it and return it for a refund — all the major US carriers will exchange the phone, regardless of purchase date. 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 it should be pulled from the market without delay.