Samsung has confirmed that it is in the process of recalling all 2.5 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices it has sold. It also stopped sales after it found potential issues with the smartphone's battery.
After reports started to appear online of Galaxy Note 7 devices catching fire while charging, Samsung acted quickly to protect its consumers. It admitted there is a problem with some of the batteries used in phones worldwide, so halted sales.
It also revealed that it will replace all Galaxy Note 7s with a new product regardless of when it was purchased.
In a statement sent to Pocket-lint regarding UK customers, a company spokesperson said:
"Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note 7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.
"To date (as of 1 September) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note 7.
"For UK customers who already have Galaxy Note 7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks. For more information customers need to contact the customer service team on 0330 7261000.
"We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible."
A similar statement was sent to the US press, also offering to replace Galaxy Note 7 handsets already bought. It is yet to give US customers details of its specific exchange program.
Neither statement said whether the handsets are safe to use in the meantime.
Recalling the new phone, which is already on sale in the US and was due to go on sale in the UK fully on 2 September, is likely to cost Samsung dearly. The problem, which has already affected the reported 35 handsets and possibly more could take a while, leading to loss of revenue. Then the issue will have to be "fixed".
The bill could run into the millions, and that's without the added strain of then getting a confirmed safe device into consumer hands in time for Christmas.
To add fuel to Samsung's pain further, Apple's iPhone 7 and, more perhaps relevantly, the iPhone 7 Plus are expected to launch on Tuesday 7 September.
The rather embarrassing setback for the company first appeared in late August after reports of Note 7s catching fire. Two online cases seem to have come about when attached to a third-party USB Type-C cable, but a separate, third owner claimed that he used the official charger. The owner alleged his phone still caught alight and he posted a video of the end result.
UK retailers are now posting that the phone is "out of stock".