Samsung’s Note7 return rate reaches 90 percent in Korea

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Samsung’s Note7 return rate reaches 90 percent in Korea

Samsung Electronics has collected 90 percent of the Galaxy Note7 devices sold in Korea, the company said Tuesday. To retrieve all of the problematic phablets from consumers, the company has expanded the deadline for refunds and exchanges to Jan. 31.

However, financial benefits offered by the company, including 30,000 won ($24.84) in mobile gift coupons and 30,000-won phone bill support, will stop Saturday.

Estimated sales of Galaxy Note7 in Korea were 550,000 units, which means approximately 55,000 are still held in the hands of consumers, three months after the company issued a global recall all of the devices for safety risks.

Until Jan. 31, consumers have a chance to refund or exchange their devices at a Samsung Electronics service center or the store where they purchased the phone. But after then the company will not provide repair services, including screen exchange, or software upgrades.

Samsung Electronics has been making efforts both domestically and abroad to boost the return rate to 100 percent.

In October, the company added in a software update a function that limits the battery charge to a maximum of 60 percent of its original capacity.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning advised Samsung that there is no legal basis for the company to limit battery recharge rates to 0 percent and disconnect them from use in Korea, as was done abroad.

Korean consumers have showed a tendency to be more resistant to Samsung’s measures for recall, as seen in the existence of the online community “I want to use Galaxy Note7,” whose members insist that Samsung’s forced withdrawals violate consumer rights.

Barriers set to discourage Note7 users are stronger abroad: Four major mobile carriers in the U.S. - T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon - will soon roll out software updates that reduce the Note7’s battery charge limit to 0 percent, literally turning the phone into a brick. T-Mobile started Tuesday; the rest will launch early next month.

Mobile carriers in Australia, New Zealand and Canada disconnected Note7 phablets in mid-December, making it incapable of making phone calls. In Canada, they were banned from Wi-Fi use as well.

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