Galaxy Note 7 smartphones caused headaches and occasional burns to their owners, but only 60 percent of the defective devices sold in South Korea and the U.S. have so far been exchanged with new models, Samsung says.

This means that 40 percent of the potentially explosive handsets are still in consumer hands, despite the fact that Samsung issued a worldwide recall on the smartphone almost a month ago.

The percentage shows that the successful exchanges in the U.S. are slowing down.

At the middle of last week, Samsung reported that 50 percent of the potentially hazardous smartphones were replaced with new models in the U.S. It would seem that the number of returns increased by 10 percent in five days, but keep in mind that the total figure takes into account South Korean returns as well.

Last week, reports from South Korea indicated that the return percentage in the country is north of 50 percent.

Samsung tried its best to motivate South Korean retail stores to accelerate the replacement of faulty Note 7 phones, and it even put financial incentives on the table. The Korea Times reports that vendors can earn 20,000 won (about $18) per exchanged phone. Stores can get an additional $18 per phone should they top an 80 percent exchange rate of the Note 7 handsets prior to the end of September.

Even with the financial motivators in line, mobile customers in South Korea seem rather reluctant to let go of their Galaxy Note 7s. In the OEM's home country, it took five days to see half of the Note 7 stock exchanged, whereas in the U.S. and Singapore the switch only took two days for 50 percent of devices.

Singapore customers wasted no time and swiftly returned the fiery Note 7 models. Samsung's recall program was open for 10 days in the country and it already ranked an 80 percent exchange of the Note 7.

The recent battery scandal dented Samsung's reputation as a reliable electronics manufacturer as well as its share value. However, 90 percent of Note 7 customers choose to replace their phones with a safe version of the same device. Of South Korean clients, only 4 percent chose a refund over an updated Note 7.

As a reminder, the biggest smartphone builder announced on Sept. 2 that at least 2.5 million Note 7 smartphones are being recalled due to faulty batteries that can overheat while charging, causing some phones to burst into flames.

According to the OEM, the replacement devices that are in stores are sporting safe batteries.

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