Very recently, Samsung was forced to recall a large number of Galaxy Note 7 units. A good portion of the inventory of their newest flagship suffered from a manufacturing error with the battery that gave users a higher than normal chance of having their phone explode. While only two such cases made headlines, Samsung’s own investigations turned up a much larger number, and made it quite clear that the entire batch needed to be recalled for safety reasons. When it was all said and done, the 35 cases of exploding phones that Samsung found was enough to warrant a full recall of all Galaxy Note 7 units sold in the affected regions up until then. This means that the number of recalled units is well into the millions.
While, inevitably, not all users will likely comply with the recall orders despite multiple channels for doing so, the number of Galaxy Note 7 units that Samsung will have to open up and stick new batteries in is bound to be an extremely significant figure. This raises the question of what will happen to these handsets. Since the battery, the only bad component, is being replaced, they are obviously fit for resale. While the only people who have been inside the units since they came off the assembly line will be highly trained Samsung professionals using specialized tools, the phones will still technically be refurbished. Unlike most refurbished devices, though, these phones have only been on the streets and in pockets for a very, very short time, and minimal refurbishing work was actually done.
While selling these refurbished units as brand new could raise some eyebrows and possibly even invite lawsuits, having to mark down millions of phones as refurbished would not bode well for Samsung’s bottom line Refurbished devices typically see discounts from 25% to 75% off their standard retail price, depending on the device and where it’s being sold. Perhaps a compromise could be reached, with retailers marking the devices specially as ones that were refurbished by Samsung following the recall, but even that would involve a price cut of some sort, though likely a much smaller one than what’s seen on standard refurbished phones. Samsung may end up selling them on their own website, where they have refurbished models in the Galaxy S family from the S4 to the S6 for between 30% and 50% off standard retail prices. For now, the ball is in Samsung’s court, but consumers will likely see somewhat cheaper Galaxy Note 7 units in the market in the near future.