Stop using your Samsung Galaxy Note 7, urges US consumer safety agency

Galaxy Note 7

A US consumer safety watchdog is issuing the words Samsung was likely loathe to hear: power down your Galaxy Note 7 and stop charging or using the device.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is stepping in a week after Samsung began its own Note 7 recall, citing reports of phones catching fire because of faulty batteries for its intervention.

"Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of power into a small package. When these batteries overheat and burst, the results can be serious," the commission says in a statement. "This is why the [CPSC] is urging all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device."

The group notes it's called for devices to be powered down because fires have started even when the phone is being used normally, not just while charging.

Samsung shuts it down

The CSPC says it's working cooperatively with Samsung on an official recall, which will be announced as soon as it's formalized.

One possible remedy the agency will approve is replacing Note 7s. While Samsung already started an exchange program, it did so without the CSPC's involvement. Now that it's been brought in, the agency will decide whether replacements are an acceptable safety solution given the phone's problems.

Samsung sent out a statement on Friday confirming it's working with the CSPC on the "battery cell issues related to the Galaxy Note 7." The company also recommends customers shut down their devices.

"We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them now," Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, says. "New Note 7 replacement devices will be issued to exchange program participants upon completion of the CPSC process. In the interim, consumers can return their Note 7 for another device."

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

While Samsung has identified the phones with faulty batteries and stopped shipping and selling those devices, it's not taking any chances.

There are two avenues US customers can take: either exchange their current Note 7 for a new one (though that's pending CPSC approval), or exchange their Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge. If customers go the second route, they'll also get a refund for the price difference of any Note 7 specific accessories they may have purchased.

Select carriers and retailers are giving out loaner phones while customers wait for their new Note 7s, Samsung adds. A $25 gift card or bill credit for users' trouble is also being offered through select locations.

Word of the CSPC's involvement comes after Samsung also announced on Friday it would expedite Note 7 replacements following a warning from the US Federal Aviation Administration advising passengers not to turn on or charge their Note 7 on board an aircraft or to stow it in their checked baggage.

Samsung says to reach out to the place where you bought your Note 7 to start the exchange process, or call 1-800-SAMSUNG if you live in the US. If you live in the UK, you can all 0330 7261000, while residents of Australia can call 1300 362 603.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.