There are still “thousands” of Verizon customers in possession of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, the carrier recently told Fortune. And that’s even after a very public recall, endless plane announcements, and a software update meant to permanently stop the smartphone from charging. "In spite of our best efforts, there are still customers using the recalled phones who have not returned or exchanged their Note 7 to the point of purchase," Verizon told Fortune. "The recalled Note 7s pose a safety risk to our customers and those around them."
At this point, clearly some people are just intentionally holding onto the phone. So Verizon is taking yet more steps to make the Note 7 less useful. First, the company will soon redirect all calls placed from a Note 7 to its customer service department. The major exception to this is 911 calls, which will still reach emergency services. But if you’re calling grandma or a friend or your spouse, well, you’ll ultimately end up with a Verizon representative on the other end. And they’ll probably ask you — yet again — to turn in the phone already. There’s really no way to plead ignorance in that situation.
The second strategy is a financial one: Verizon might start charging holdouts for the full retail cost of the Note 7 — even if they were previously automatically reimbursed due to the recall. That’s no small penalty, seeing as the Note 7 was a very expensive premium flagship at launch.
Verizon initially declined to release Samsung’s software update meant to cripple the phone’s recharging ability. But the leading US carrier ultimately rolled out the new firmware after the holidays. Despite this, it would appear that some customers are managing to avoid installing it and still carrying a Note 7 around. Who are these people? It’s not a collector’s item. It’s a fire hazard.