The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, the government agency responsible for product safety and recalls, has not approved Samsung’s smartphone recall plan because its measures on how to remove Galaxy Note 7s already in the market were inadequate, Nam Taek-joo, the agency official, said by phone Thursday.
The agency asked Samsung earlier this week to say how long it could extend the refund period for consumers who missed Monday’s deadline.
Nam said the agency made the request because “the plan to remove hazards in the markets is insufficient.”
He said Samsung should come up with an alternative plan on how to better notify consumers that they can exchange their Galaxy Note 7 or get a refund.
“We need more measures to actively inform consumers,” he said. “It appears that consumers are not active in seeking an exchange or a refund.”
Samsung Electronics did not answer emails seeking comment.
The Galaxy Note 7 phone went on sale in South Korea on August 19 to rave reviews, but following reports of the high-end phones catching fire Samsung stopped sales on September 2 and recalled 2.5 million units.
The company cited a battery manufacturing error that caused the lithium battery to overheat or burn. It received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the US alone, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an official recall on September 15. The commission website said consumers can get a refund or a new replacement device and it did not say if there is a deadline for getting a refund.
In South Korea, where the government did not issue an official recall, the consumers who missed the Monday deadline can now get only a replacement for their Samsung phone.
This week, Samsung began shipping new Galaxy Note 7s with rechargeable batteries that are safe to use, so consumers can hand in the old ones and get a new one.
South Korean consumers who bought the defective Galaxy Note 7 began getting notifications that they can get a new one starting Monday. But employees at mobile carrier shops in Seoul said Samsung had not supplied them with enough units of the new phones, meaning some customers will have to wait to exchange their old ones.