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Repair, replace, refund? What to do about the Samsung Note 7 recall

Samsung has said it will repair, refund or replace every single Galaxy Note 7 sold across the world after reports of exploding batteries. Here's what to do to organise a new phone with your telco.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Josh Miller/CNET

As far as product recalls go, this one is big.

On September 2, Samsung announced it was stopping sales of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in Australia. Just hours later, the company confirmed that it was stopping sales worldwide and would be voluntarily replacing every single device sold internationally.

The recall came in response to the discovery of a battery cell issue, found in 35 devices globally, that had reportedly caused some Note 7 batteries to explode. Samsung says there have been no cases of the problem reported in Australia, but images and videos of charred devices have appeared on social media in South Korea.

Samsung now has the massive task of replacing 51,060 smartphones sold across Australia. But how do you organise a new phone? Here's the lowdown...

Samsung

Samsung Electronics Australia has advised anyone using a Note 7 to power off their device, return it to the place of purchase and use another phone while a replacement is organised.

"Customers who have purchased a Galaxy Note 7 from Samsung are entitled to a new Galaxy Note 7 (and a courtesy device until replacement Galaxy Note 7 stock arrives) or a full refund," the company said in a statement. "Alternatively, customers who have not purchased a Galaxy Note 7 from Samsung can approach their place of purchase to discuss their remedy options."

New Note 7 stock is due in Samsung, retail and telco stores from September 21.

Samsung's website includes a space to register for a refund or replacement, as well as a full FAQ. The key takeouts are:

  • Choose between replacement, repair or refund
  • Replacement devices will be new, not refurbished
  • Replacement devices will be available from September 21
  • You can get a full refund if you wish, including for genuine accessories (though you'll need a receipt for these)
  • You need to return your affected device in order to get a refund or replacement
  • If you want a refund or different device on contract, you need to talk to your carrier
  • Samsung says devices from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are affected and covered, as well as phones bought from "Samsung Retail Stores, Samsung Online, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Good Guys and websites including Kogan."

Telstra

Australia's biggest telco says it has been contacting affected customers directly to let them know about the issue.

Telstra is working with Samsung's swap, repair or refund program, as well as providing other options:

  • Get a loaner phone while you wait for a replacement through Samsung -- You'll need to visit a Telstra store to organise this, but beware stock availability will vary
  • Swap handsets -- Early termination costs will be waived
  • If you recontract with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, you'll receive a AU$100 "goodwill credit"

Full details are on Telstra's website.

Optus

Optus is participating in Samsung's replacement, repair or refund program, and says it is also contacting affected customers.

"Samsung recommends that customers use an alternative device as a safety precaution until a replacement device or refund is provided," Optus said in a statement. "Optus is waiting on Samsung to provide confirmation around timing for replacement Galaxy Note 7 devices.

"Optus customers should visit their local Optus store to discuss their immediate options, which will include a temporary Samsung replacement phone if available."

Vodafone

Customers who bought their phone through Vodafone will be able to get their choice of remedy through Samsung's replacement, repair or refund program.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin says it's awaiting confirmation from Samsung on timing for replacement Note 7 devices, but that it's contacting affected customers to notify them of their options. These include:

  • A replacement handset, available in store
  • A full refund, provided in store

"Virgin Mobile customers should visit their local Virgin Mobile store or call us on 1300 555 100 and a member of our team will be happy to discuss their immediate options," the company said in a statement.

Further details will be updated on the Virgin Mobile website.

Updated September 6 at 10.25 a.m. AEST: Included comment from Virgin Mobile and updated details from Samsung.

Updated September 6 at 4.45 p.m. AEST: Included additional details from Virgin Mobile.

Updated September 12 at 5.10 p.m. AEST: Included stock availability date of September 21.