Exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – What are your rights in the UK?

On the 2nd September Samsung recalled all of its Galaxy Note 7s after an internal investigation uncovered a serious battery flaw that was causing some users’ handsets to spontaneously catch fire. However, it soon became apparent that the issue was not fixed and on the 10th October it recalled them all. It has now ceased production of the device.

Under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, manufacturers are obliged to do as much as is practicably possible to inform customers about a problem. This includes publishing a notice in such form and such manner as is likely to bring to the attention of purchasers of the product the risk the product poses and the fact of the recall. Producers and distributors must inform their local authority (typically, the Trading Standards Department). Products are then placed on the Trading Standards recall list, but other things can be done as well, such as adverts in papers, contacting customers directly, putting information on websites etc.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) believes that millions of dangerous appliances are still in households across the UK due to inadequate recall systems. With only 10 – 20% of recalled products ever being returned or repaired there could be many of these phones still in use.

Helen Dewdney – The Complaining Cow consumer blogger and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! – says “Samsung have a lot to lose if they don’t get this right. But it seems they have been quick to identify the problem, launch a recall and get a solution for customers as soon as possible.”

So what are your rights and what should you do when your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is recalled?

  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that items must be fit for purpose and free from defects. You are therefore entitled to a refund, repair or replacement and any out of pocket expenses incurred due to the fault.
  • The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 dictate that manufacturers must make arrangements for the collection and/or return of the product for destruction from consumers who have purchased the product.
  • The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if you are harmed by an unsafe product you can sue the manufacturer. You can begin your court case up to three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, you can even sue up to ten years after the product was sold. If, for instance, you sustain a personal injury or damage to your property it is in this instance where the manufacturer is responsible not, the trader. The value of the damage claimed must be more than £275.
  • In this case, Samsung has said it will refund or replace the phone with another model. The replacement offered will be a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, with a refund of the price difference.
  • Contact the retailer where you bought the ‘phone and arrange the refund or replacement at no cost whatsoever to you.

See more All you need to know about product recalls

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