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Samsung allegedly tried to bribe a man to keep his exploding Note 7 a secret

Published Oct 18th, 2016 8:55AM EDT
Galaxy Note 7 Exploding Battery Video

We all knew Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 debacle was going to get worse before it got any better, but now we’re starting to wonder how much worse it’s going to get and just how long it’ll be before it gets any better. Samsung was recently forced to discontinue its popular Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after updated replacement phones issued as part of a global recall kept exploding in customers’ hands. A defect that still has not been properly identified caused some phones in Samsung’s first run to explode, and the problem continued even after “safe” phones were handed out as replacements.

Now, the latest chapter in this ongoing saga includes accusations that Samsung employees tried to bribe a man to keep him quiet after his Galaxy Note 7 began spewing smoke in his hands before melting on the ground in front of him.

MUST READ: A month with the iPhone 7

Samsung has been criticized far and wide for its handling of the problematic Galaxy Note 7, and nowhere is that truer than in China. When Samsung issued its initial global recall, it said that affected handsets all included batteries that came from one particular supplier, and that no phones sold in China were equipped with batteries from that supplier. As we all soon learned, that wasn’t the case and phones that contained batteries that were supposedly safe began combusting as well. But because Samsung thought Chinese Note 7 handsets were safe, it did not include China in its initial recall.

Customer’s in China were not happy.

Several handsets ended up catching fire in China and we saw reports covering many of them over the past month. Now, however, a new report from The New York Times includes a damning account of a Note 7 incident that took place before the Note 7 was discontinued.

Zhang Sitong says he was using his Galaxy Note 7 when it began vibrating and smoking in his hands. He dropped the phone and instructed a friend to begin filming as the device spewed smoke and melted before their eyes. He then contacted Samsung about the incident, and two employees showed up at his home that very same day.

According to Zhang, the Samsung employees offered him a new Galaxy Note 7 as well as approximately $900 in “compensation.” That compensation wasn’t because the man was nearly injured by the burning phone, however. Zhang says that it was a bribe offered to him in exchange for his silence and his agreement not to release the video that his friend had recorded. The man says he refused the payoff.

“They said there was no problem with the phones in China. That’s why I bought a Samsung,” Zhang told The Times. “This is an issue of deception. They are cheating Chinese consumers.”

Samsung has not responded publicly to the accusations. The video Zhang’s friend recorded is embedded below.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.