One of the things Samsung has often said during the unprecedented Galaxy Note 7 recall is that the security of its customers is of utmost importance. But is that really so?
The Galaxy Note 7 may be the worst recall Samsung had to face, but it’s certainly not the only one. In recent years, Samsung was forced to recall other products in certain markets, and not all affected customers were satisfied with the way Samsung handled things.
Because Samsung phones are sold all over the world, the Galaxy Note 7 recall received plenty of attention from the press and authorities. The fact that a Galaxy Note 7 could blow up at any time is a serious matter given that we take smartphones everywhere with us. All of a sudden, having a Galaxy Note 7 on a plane could spell trouble for everyone on board.
But, as The New York Times points out, Samsung had to recall plenty of products in recent years, suggesting that profits are ultimately all that matters for the giant corporation.
Here are some of Samsung’s recalls:
- 2003: 184,000 microwave ovens in the US
- 2007: 20,000 washing machines because of a fire risk
- 2009: 210,000 refrigerators in South Korea
- 2009: 43,000 microwave ovens in the US because of a shock hazard
Additionally, Samsung may also be preparing to recall top-loading washing machines in the US made between 2011 and this year, which pose a risk of causing property damage and personal injury. The company recalled such machines in Australia three years ago because of an internal electrical defect that leads to fires. The recall process isn’t completed yet.
Samsung isn’t the only company in the world having to face product recalls. And sure, Samsung Mobile isn’t responsible for the microwaves, fridges, and washing machines that a different division makes. But is Samsung ignoring proper product testing that would prevent some manufacturing issue?
In the Australian recall, a Facebook group of 4,000 owners crowdfunded money so a forensic expert could inspect the fix and issue a verdict. The reports revealed that the plastic bag fitted over some connectors to prevent the washing machines from catching fires wouldn’t work as intended. The plastic bag was found to be ineffective because it didn’t prevent moisture penetration of the connectors.
Samsung refused to issue refunds to the group for the faulty washing machines until the Australian government got involved.
The Times also details the case of a Boston resident who had his induction range replaced three times over four years. The fourth one exploded in 2013, and he only got his money back in 2015 when Samsung was defeated in small-claims court. “I thought, why doesn’t this happen to Apple or G.E.?” Ed O’Rourke, the affected customer, said. “And is Samsung playing it a little too cute in pushing things to limits that other companies aren’t pushing in terms of engineering-safety ratio?”
As for the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung is yet to explain why it happen and is accused of failing to address the matter appropriately. “Samsung has not been communicative with consumers, regulators or the media as clearly as it should have during this recall, especially for a hazard as dangerous as this one where your phone can catch on fire, damage your property and harm your family,” Consumers Union policy analyst William Wallace said.
Samsung may indeed have a lot of cleanup to do after its Galaxy Note 7 mess to fix its image.