It's been a long time coming, but Samsung has now officially recalled its Galaxy Note7 smartphone in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the government agency charged with protecting the public from unsafe products.
The recall comes nearly one month after the phone went on sale in the U.S., and two weeks after Samsung announced that it was stopping sales of the phone in response to fires and explosions.
The recall affects 1 million phones in the U.S. According to the CPSC, Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage.
Not all Galaxy Note7 phones are affected. To see if your phone should be returned, you can locate the unique IMEI number on the back of the phone or the packaging, and either enter call Samsung or enter the number into an online tool at the company's website.
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The announcement was made by Elliot Kaye, the chairman of the CPSC. Now that the phone has been recalled, federal law bars any person from selling a Galaxy Note7.
Customers can get a refund or exchange their phone for a different phone. New Note7 phones are expected to be available to consumers on Sept. 21.
Samsung called on retailers to stop selling the phone on Sept. 2, but on that day Consumer Reports found it available at several retailers.
Samsung faced criticism from Consumer Reports and others for not informing U.S. regulators when the first fires were reported in late August, and for failing to initiate a formal recall process.
"We welcome this action by the CPSC and Samsung," says Maria Rerecich, the head of electronics testing at Consumer Reports. "These phones represent a serious risk, and we urge consumers to participate in the recall as quickly as possible."
U.S. law requires companies to inform the CPSC quickly after discovering that a product may pose a significant safety risk. However, Samsung announced its own program without involving regulators. CPSC officials have not said when they were first contacted by the company.
Kaye said companies that think they can adequately handle a safety issue without involving the CPSC "need more than their phones checked."
On Sept. 8, the Federal Aviation Administration called on airline passengers to keep Note7 phones shut off throughout their flights, and to avoid storing the phones in checked baggage. However, an FAA spokesperson told Consumer Reports that the agency could not legally ban the device on flights unless a recall was put in place.
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