Just two weeks after Samsung launched its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) officially recalled the device Thursday after dozens of users reported it catching fire while charging.
The recall comes a week after the CPSC told customers to “immediately stop using and power down” the device. The agency said they have received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage from fires. A CPSC spokesperson told reporters that the Note 7 represents a “a very serious fire hazard.”
The recall will include about 1 million of the premium mobile phones. CPSC says Note 7 users can get a free replacement from Samsung, their wireless carrier or the retail outlet where the bought the phone. Samsung said replacement Note 7s will be in retails stores no later than September 21. Customers can also ask for a refund or a different device.
Samsung began halting sales of the device two weeks ago, following reports that some batteries were exploding inside the device. Customers were then instructed to contact their retailer to exchange the device for another Samsung phone or a refund. Airlines and public transportation organizations have been telling riders not to power on their Note 7s while in transit.
The source of the explosions appears to be faulty batteries produced by Samsung’s SDI battery division. While investigations are still ongoing, Samsung UK wrote: “Based on our investigation, we learned that there was an issue with the battery cell. An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact which is a very rare manufacturing process error.”
It’s believed only Note7 phones — which made up about 70 percent of the 2.5 million phones shipped worldwide before Samsung halted production — had faulty batteries produced by Samsung SDI.
The Note 7 disaster has caused Samsung’s stock to plunge with losses as much as $20 billion since the unofficial recall and exchange programs began two weeks ago.
Additionally, the recall came at a particularly bad time for Samsung, with rival Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone 7 going on sale Friday.