Samsung is delaying resales of new Galaxy Note 7 post-recall units in South Korea until Oct. 1, the company said on Sunday, pushing the date back a few days later than the previously proposed Sept. 28 resumption of official sales, in a move to speed up the still-ongoing recall process in the country.
Samsung sold about 400,000 units in its home country before it issued the worldwide recall for its latest flagship device, the Note 7, stemming from the onslaught of users who reported exploding Note 7 batteries. The explosions were first thought to be the result of using third-party USB Type-C cables but were later found out to be caused by the defective batteries inside the units themselves.
On Sept. 2, following further reports of exploding Note 7 batteries — numerous enough to cross beyond assumption that the reports were simply rare freak cases and not legitimate concerns — the company announced an exchange program for users, offering them replacement devices or refunds once they turn their phone in. Since then, 2.5 million Note 7 units in 10 markets, including South Korea, have been recalled.
In some countries, the exchange program offers users the option to have their units replaced with a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, while some are left to wait before the company resumes sales of the Note 7 units in order to receive a new replacement.
In South Korea only 200,000 affected Note 7 units were exchanged with a replacement, a number which represents half of all affected customers in the country, Samsung says. The figure is suggestive of a slow recall pace for the company's home country as compared with other markets such as the U.S., where, in the first two days of the exchange program have replaced nearly 500,000 units already.
The delay is a way for the company to expedite its recall process in South Korea, as resuming sales of the Note 7 will incur a considerable dent in the speed of the overall recall process.
"The recall rate will likely fall sharply should new sales have resumed on Sept. 28," Samsung said. Starting Oct. 1, affected users would no longer be able to exchange their faulty Note 7 units through domestic carriers, hampering the recall process.
The South Korean government advised Samsung of the delay, and restart of Note 7 sales aren't expected to begin until November in European countries.
Samsung hopes to recoup earnings with the resale of Note 7 in affected markets in Q4, once they have completed the recall process, and the company has announced to resume Note 7 sales in Australia and Singapore come October.
Still, while the resale portends to the company moving ahead despite the PR disaster, reports of battery malfunction continue to surface, with users reporting that their battery drains faster than usual. These problems continue to occur along, such as a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). On Sept. 9, airline passengers who owned Note 7 devices were advised by the FAA to turn their Note 7 units off or refrain from charging them while on-board.
It's unclear how Samsung plans to mitigate the situation now that the restart of Note 7 sales hints at another potentially problematic mishap if affected customers don't receive their due replacements, or benefit from the exchange program.