With safety concerns reigning paramount, regulators in South Korea have now apparently asked Samsung Electronics to extend the refund period for its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones until the end of this month so that people who are stuck with the old, fire-prone units can return their devices and get a full refund even after the expiry of the originally-announced deadline. The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards has also mandated that Samsung and its suppliers perform X-ray scans on the batteries inside each and every ‘safe’ Galaxy Note 7 handset before they are dispatched to distributors and retailers, possibly putting further financial strain on the company that’s already expected to lose billions of dollars because of the fiasco. The company has been marking the new batteries with green indicators to designate them as ‘safe’, and as a way to differentiate them from the old, faulty units.
For their part, Samsung has already extended the refund deadline to the end of this month for its customers in South Korea, and has also clarified that current Galaxy Note 7 users in the country will be able to get any Samsung smartphone of their choice in exchange for their recalled phablets. The company has also claimed that a very small number of buyers are actually seeking a refund because of the controversy. As a way of making it up to its customers, Samsung has announced that it is working with the domestic telecom companies in South Korea to provide a 30,000 won ($27) bill credit to Note 7 users for their troubles. Samsung is also rolling out a new update to the older Galaxy Note 7 units that restrict the maximum battery charge to just 60% and displays a warning every time someone tries to operate the device.
While the exact number of people signing up for the exchange program in South Korea hasn’t yet been revealed, Samsung has said that about 80% of Galaxy Note 7 customers in Singapore and almost 66% in Taiwan have already signed up to get their faulty smartphones exchanged. Samsung Electronics announced the unprecedented global recall of around 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phablets last month after an internal inquiry following reports of alleged Galaxy Note 7 fires seemed to reveal a critical flaw with the Samsung SDI-manufactured batteries that results in the negative and positive poles to come together, causing a short circuit.