Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall took a turn for the worst last week, as more replacement phones have reportedly exploded. The company is now halting production and US carriers have stopped selling the phablet — they’re also no longer issuing replacement units. The carriers will let you swap your original Galaxy Note 7 or the replacement for a different phone, and you can still ask for a refund as well. However, the refund process is a bit more complicated, and customers looking to get their money back directly from Samsung may have a hard time doing so. In fact, they may have a hard time even understanding Samsung’s emails.
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Obtained by The Verge, the following email thread suggests that Samsung is in over its head. Sure, no company is prepared to deal with massive product recalls like this, but you’d think Samsung has now had some time to prepare for this scenario. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Here’s how Samsung describes the refund procedure: “One of the issues happening is that customers are receiving emails with their email address, but a different order number. If this happens, please refer to your original confirmation order number to attempt the sign up, and this should solve that issue. Customers were finding when they tried the original number, it matched the email and the order would go through correctly.”
No problems there, peculiar phrasing aside. But why is any of that happening? Because a third party that specializes in recalls is handling the refund for Samsung.
“As this is going to another company, when these exchanges are submitted, we cannot check the status of them for you until they submit you an order number for the new phone or tracking information,” Samsung says. “We have limited information on a lot of the process at this time. I hope this information is helpful and resolves the issues soon.”
Finally, look at the dates on these emails. The customer, a senior executive at a large tech company, sent inquiries on September 15th and 20th, and received a response on October 8th.
The full email exchange follows below, as shared by The Verge. The takeaway here is seemingly that you should do whatever you can to deal with your carrier rather than Samsung at this point.
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 6:20 PM
Subject: EMAIL FORM
Subject: Return for refund
I called in about a week ago to return my Note7 for refund, and was told I would get an email with return/refund instructions. I have not yet. My order number is XXXXXXX. Please followup with how to get refunded for this recalled product.
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 5:50 PM
Subject: Re: EMAIL FORM
Hi there, its been a few more days and I still have not seen anything. I can just send it in myself. What address should I mail it in to? What should I include in the package for a refund?
Date: Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 7:21 AM
Subject: Re: EMAIL FORM
At this time you may have received the information for the new system they have in place. If you have not yet, I am supplying the link below to the site. There are some minor issues and errors with it, but it is a massive step in the right direction to get this effectively solved for the customers.
One of the issues happening is that customers are receiving emails with their email address, but a different order number. If this happens, please refer to your original confirmation order number to attempt the sign up, and this should solve that issue. Customers were finding when they tried the original number, it matched the email and the order would go through correctly.
This new program is being headed up by a company that specializes in recalls. Through the web page you set up your exchange or refund, and have the option to ship the phone (they mail you the special packaging to send the phone back in), or you can arrange for an agent of this company to come to your home and pick up the phone directly. This does not apply in some areas as they do not have agents stationed in some of the more rural areas. In that case the packaging will be sent if the agents are not available to your area. It is also an “advanced” exchange. We basically will ship you the phone and the packaging independently of each other, but from when you place the exchange order. So if you choose to exchange, they will begin processing both items to go out.
You will not receive them together, they may arrive at different times, but you will not have to return the old phone before they begin to process the new phone. If you opt for a refund instead, it will be just as previous refunds were. Once the item is returned, they will process your refund.
As this is going to another company, when these exchanges are submitted, we cannot check the status of them for you until they submit you an order number for the new phone or tracking information. We have limited information on a lot of the process at this time. I hope this information is helpful and resolves the issues soon.