Consumer rights organisations from around the world have criticised Samsung for its inconsistent approach during the Galaxy Note 7 recall and have outlined measures of what it needs to do to restore consumer trust.
The organisations, co-ordinated 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.
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.
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 that hadn’t had an official launch of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung offered even fewer options and less information. Despite the possibility of people in these countries obtaining the new Galaxy Note 7 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.”