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Samsung Should Have Notified CPSC of Galaxy Note 7 Recall Agency Says Cynthia Diaz Shephard

Sep 21, 2016

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is criticizing the way Samsung handled its recall of the Galaxy Note 7. The newly released phone poses a fire hazard because of its defective lithium-ion battery, which can overheat and explode. Samsung, based in South Korea, announced the recall on Sept. 2. The company said it was halting all sales of the Galaxy Note 7 because it received 35 reports of the phone catching on fire due to a battery defect.

In an interview with CNBC's "Squawk Alley", CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye says that companies need to inform the agency before announcing the recall to the public. The recall became official when it was announced by the CPSC on Sept. 15. The problem is that the lithium-ion battery can overheat and catch fire. The defect puts users at risk for burns, and can lead to property damage.

According to Law360, the recall affects all 10 countries where the Galaxy Note 7 is sold. "Thankfully we're in a place now where we do have a good remedy in place, which is a refund for the replacement," Kaye said in his "Squawk Alley" interview.

The Note 7 was considered to be one of the most exciting devices released this year. Samsung "rethought the Galaxy Note from every angle," according to its website. The new phone is sleeker than other models and included an "iris-scanning" feature that lets users unlock their phones with their eyes. Only weeks after the phone was released, however, photos of burnt phones surfaces on the internet.

Kaye predicts that there will be more problems with lithium-ion batteries in the future given their ubiquitous nature in consumer products. "Consumer demand drives smaller, thinner devices, and manufacturers under a lot of pressure to meet those specs on a very tight timeline," he said. He said the CPSC will be working with the industry to see how they can prevent lithium-ion hazards in the future.

Kaye says the Note 7 recall echoes a recent recall of half a million hover boards this past summer for the same issue. "My sense is that we're probably going to end up seeing more of this, and that's certainly a concern of mine," he said.

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