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Press release: Global consumer movement response to Galaxy Note7 fiasco

13 October 2016

Press release                                                                                                                                                                         13 Oct 2016

Global consumer movement response to Galaxy Note7 fiasco

Consumer rights organisations from around the world have criticised Samsung for its inconsistent approach during the Galaxy Note7 recall and have outlined measures of what it need to do to restore consumer trust.

The organisations, coordinated by Consumers International, have stated that Samsung must identify what went wrong in the product testing process, and the results must be subject to independent scrutiny, as well as publicly announced. It must have a consistent refund and exchange policy for all consumers that meets the highest standards, regardless of where the phone was bought or where the consumer lives.

While Samsung have committed to refund and exchange in all markets, there is inconsistency in where you can access these options and what you can get in return.

The consumer organisations felt intervention was needed following failures of the recall process and the inconsistent management of the product recall so far.

In some countries customers were offered a temporary phone while waiting for their replacement as well as the ability to exchange handsets for a full cash refund in a number of locations, not just in store. However these measures weren’t consistently applied across all markets. The opportunity for customers to check whether their phone was affected by inputting their IMEI number into an online database was a useful tool but was only available to Samsung’s customers in some countries.

In areas which hadn’t had an official launch of the Galaxy Note7, Samsung offered even fewer options and less information. Despite the possibility of people in these countries obtaining the new Galaxy Note7 from other countries or travelling with it, Samsung did not warn consumers in these countries of the issues the phones were having.

In Latin America, it did announce the problem in Mexico, but not in Brazil and Argentina. In Africa, in key markets such as South Africa and Nigeria Samsung did not release any consumer warnings on its websites.

Based on this evidence, the organisations are demanding a clear, global plan of action by Samsung. One that offers all owners of affected phones the same treatment including refunds and the chance to replace their handsets. One that also addresses clear consumer concerns such as transparency around the cause of the problems as well as outlining an environmental plan for managing waste from the phones.

Without this, the consumer organisations claim, Samsung will struggle to regain consumer trust or to be able to move on from this issue.

Amanda Long, Director General, Consumers International, said: “Samsung is a global company. Its handsets are just as likely to malfunction in Sydney as Seoul, so why should the way Samsung treats its customers in these places be any different. Instead of reacting to the situation as and when, country-by-country, Samsung needs a global, consistent and transparent process to deal with the crisis. Only with that in place can it start to rebuild the consumer trust which it has so badly undermined.

The undersigned

Consumers International, Global

Consumers Union, USA

Hong Kong Consumer Council

Consumer NZ, New Zealand

CHOICE, Australia

Test-Achats, Belgium

Altroconsumo, Italy

Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios, Spain

Deco Proteste, Portugal

Asociación Peruana de Consumidores y Usuarios, Perú

Consumidores y Usuarios Asociados, Uruguay

Proconsumer, Argentina

Consumidores Argentinos, Argentina

La Union de Usuarios y Consumidores, Argentina


ODECU, Chile

Vía Orgánica, México

Colectivo Ecologista Jalisco, México

Movimiento Iniciativa de los Consumidores, Venezuela

Guyana Consumers Association, Guyana

Yemen Association for Consumer Protection (YACP), Yemen

The National Consumers League of Jamaica, Jamaica

Sudanese Consumers Protection Society, Sudan

Proteste, Brazil 

CDC, El Salvador

Consumer Protection Agency, Egypt

Notes for Editors

  • Consumers International, working together with our over 200 Members in 120 countries, is the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers. Together we ensure consumers are treated safely, fairly and honestly.
  • We strive to put them at the heart of the practices of global corporations and influence international bodies such as the UN, OECD and G20 to act in their interest.