South Korean Galaxy Note 7 users were able to exchange their phones with new handsets at mobile phone stores from Monday, citing safety concerns in relation to battery defects.
They will be able to replace their old handsets at outlets of the country’s three major telecom operators, namely SK Telecom, Korea Telecom and LG Uplus until the end of September. For fear of a possible rush, some telecom operators instructed customers' to make advance registrations.
At first glance, the biggest difference between the old and the new handset is that the battery icon is now displayed in green.
On the first day of the exchange period, some Samsung users complained that the new phones were not available at all service centers in Seoul and they could not find handsets with their desired color.
"The user could bring their phone and exchange it for a new one with the same color. However, because of the limited daily shipment, it would be better if they call first for confirmation," said Kwon Myung-jin, director of public relations at LG Uplus.
Samsung sold more than 400,000 of Note 7 handsets in South Korea. Though the tech giant promised a full refund for its users, most of them opt to exchange them for a new handset. Samsung's after-sales service center will also offer the replacement service from October.
"My Note 7 gets hot gradually while charging. Maybe it’s a normal situation for other types of phones, but the battery explosion incidents made me worried and so I came here to get a new one, "said a Seoul resident.
South Korea's largest mobile handset maker is struggling to win back their consumers’ trust after 92 reports of Note 7 batteries that overheated or caught fire in the United States, which prompted an official government recall there last week. Meanwhile, many airlines have banned use of the Note 7, saying it is an in-flight hazard.
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