Government Recall Issued for Samsung Note7 Over Battery Fire Hazard

The official recall comes almost two weeks after Samsung acknowledged the issue.

ByABC News
September 15, 2016, 4:22 PM

— -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced an official recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note7, amid widespread reports that a battery defect has caused several of the smartphones to explode or catch fire.

The CPSC said that nearly a million Note7 smartphones were sold in the United States and estimates that 97 percent of those contain the defective battery. The recall is for all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices sold before Sept. 15, 2016.

Consumers are being told to immediately discontinue using the devices and return them to their place of purchase for a refund, a new Galaxy Note7 with a different battery or another replacement device.

However, replacement Note7 smartphones without the defective batteries are not yet available in U.S. stores. Current Note7 owners who take their defective devices into stores can get only another model of Samsung phone or a refund, sources told ABC News.

ABC News has learned that Note7 smartphones with the new, nondefective battery will be available to U.S. consumers no later than Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Samsung has created a webpage with guidance for current Note7 owners, which can be accessed here.

Samsung Electronics America President and COO Tim Baxter released a video statement shortly after the recall.

"With battery cell defects in some of our Note7 phones, we did not meet the standard of excellence that you expect and deserve," he said. "We apologize, especially to those of you who were personally affected by this."

Baxter said that approximately 130,000 Note7s had already been exchanged.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a new directive, requiring that anyone who wishes to travel with the phone turn it off, disconnect it from any charging device, disable any applications that could turn it on automatically, take action to prevent the power button from being inadvertently pressed and keep the device in carry-on luggage or on their person. The phones may not be stored in checked baggage. More information is available on the FAA site.

According to the CPSC, "Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage."

News of the announcement comes nearly two weeks after Samsung first acknowledged a battery cell issue and attempted to establish product exchange program and bypass the CPSC's recall process and almost one week after the company reversed course and confirmed that it was pursuing a government-sanctioned recall.

The Note7 debuted on Aug. 19, to largely positive reviews. CNET said that it "showcases Samsung’s best in design, battery life, speed and features," and PC Magazine called it "undoubtedly one of the best phablets available," using a word for smartphones approaching the size of small tablets.

However, not long after the phone hit the shelves, reports of its exploding or catching fire began to surface on social media.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for the latest updates.

ABC News' David Kerley, Daniel Steinberger and Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.

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