This is the story of how I returned my Samsung Note 7 phone in 2019. This is my first article on hub pages, so I hope you enjoy it!
If you clicked on this page then you either already know what this is about, or you are just curious. So for those who are new to the Samsung Note 7, allow me to explain. The Note 7 was a smartphone released by Samsung way back in 2016. It looked very promising at the time. However, in early September of the same year, Samsung announced a formal recall of the handset, due to a manufacturing defect in the battery that caused some Note 7 phones to catch fire. Samsung sent out replacement Note 7's to all of its affected customers.
Even after Samsung replaced the defective devices reports began to emerge of the replacement phones catching fire as well. So what did they do? They did what any smart company would at that point. They announced a worldwide recall on October 10th of the same year. Ever since then the recall still continues, and to this day Samsung appears to want as many of these phones back as possible.
How My Story Started
My story began when I was searching around on Reddit for a broken, or damaged phone to buy for really cheap. I wanted to see about fixing up an old phone, or maybe putting something like Linux on it just for fun. So I posted an ad explaining what I wanted. In the following few days, I only got around 3 comments on my post.
Long story short One commenter was offering a Samsung Note 2 with a cracked screen, while another user was offering an S7. The only other comment was someone offering what they described as "a bricked Note 7 Edge phone." In truth, I hadn't really been looking for a bricked device and was more interested in one with a more minor issue (like a cracked screen, etc.) So I contacted the other 2 sellers first, hoping to get either an S7 of some kind or a Samsung Note 2.
To my disappointment, None of those deals went through. I'm pretty sure they both didn't respond, though the S7 person may have at first, but stopped replying before we could strike a deal. I waited for a bit more until I decided that I should get in touch with the person selling the bricked Note 7 Edge. After all, a bricked phone is better than no phone, right?
So after some debating, we came to an agreement that worked for us both. We agreed on me paying $17 Canadian with shipping and tracking included. So, of course, I sent the money via Paypal once they told me where to send it, and then I asked them when they could ship it out. They told me tomorrow morning, and so that was the end of it, or so I thought.
While I was waiting I began to do research on the phone to see what I could learn about it in preparation for its arrival. I was shocked to learn that this was indeed the phone that Samsung had recalled a few years ago. I don't know why, but when I bought it I had assumed the recalled Note phone was an older model then 7. I was wrong though, which made me wonder. Why exactly would they sell this phone to me instead of just returning it to Samsung? With this new information in mind, I decided it would be best to contact the seller and let them know about the recall.
After sending them a quick message about it they responded, telling me that Samsung had already sent them a complimentary S7 Edge so it was ok.
So that was the end of that, and soon after my package was on its way. As I waited for it to arrive I wondered what I was going to do with it. Would I really be able to get it working? How did the seller still have the recalled device, if Samsung had already sent him a Complimentary replacement?
I was unsure of a lot of things, but I was also excited that my package was on its way.
When It Arrived
So I forget exactly how long it took to get to me, but it took long enough that I began to doubt it would ever arrive. Just when I considered messaging the seller again and asking what was taking so long, I finally got it.
It was a very nice looking device, but the problem was that it would not power on unless it was plugged in. Upon further research, I discovered that Samsung and many phone carriers had forced an update to disable the phones' ability to charge. In other words, I would not be able to fix this phone very easily.
After about a week of trying to get it to work, I finally decided to give up and take the next logical step - Contacting Samsung customer support, and asking if it was possible to return the phone to them.
I figured it wouldn't be too complicated, a simple "yes or "no." If they said they'd take it, and give me something in return then I would gladly accept. If they said they would not take the phone then I would resort to taking it apart to see if I could somehow charge the battery externally.
Sadly I was mistaken. Little did I know at the time how difficult it would be to even get a proper response from Samsung. I know it is 2019 now, but still. I was disappointed in how much trouble it took just to get in touch with someone who actually knew what they were talking about.
Customer Support (What A Pain.)
The first thing I did was look for an email I could contact, preferably one regarding the Note 7 specifically. Unfortunately, I could find no such email and was only able to find a phone number. Since I'm not a huge fan of making phone calls, I decided to just try emailing General Samsung Customer Support instead.
After making my decision I sent them a short message explaining my situation, and after about a day they responded. However, their response wasn't exactly helpful. They told me that I should take the phone to a Samsung Experience store.
This would have been a fine solution for some, but for me, it was not. I live in a rural area, and the closest Experience store to me was roughly 5 hours away. So I emailed them in response and explained that I didn't have a Samsung Experience store in my area. Then I waited for them to answer. but after a few days, I got impatient.
Then after a lot of thought, and mental preparation I finally decided to try phoning them.
I reluctantly dialed the number I found on their website and began what was probably one of the most annoying phone calls I have ever made.
First, a man answered and asked me how he could help. I explained the situation, and he quickly transferred me to U.S. Customer support because the phone was from the states and not from Canada.
The next person was a woman who was very nice, but clearly knew nothing about the Note 7 recall. For some reason, she kept thinking I wanted a new Note 7 and kept talking about a warranty. So I continued the conversation, realizing part way through that there really wasn't much point. She ended up asking for my IMEI (number on the back of the phone) and I gave it to her.
After checking it out, she told me that the phone was not under warranty, so I could not get a new Note 7 for it. Unfortunately, the information she gave me was of little help. After all, I already knew the phone was out of warranty. However, despite my irritation, I thanked her anyway and the call ended soon after.
At this point, I was pretty annoyed. I had emailed and phoned them, yet somehow I did not have an answer to what seemed a pretty simple question. Can I send the phone back? Yes or No?
After thinking about it (and being really stressed out) I decided to phone again. Thankfully the second call went a lot better, even though I don't remember most of it (probably thanks to that annoying music that plays in the backround when they put you on hold.) Eventually after a very long conversation, and after being put on hold 3 or 4 times, they finally answered my question... sort of.
Basically, they put me in the system and said that an email would be sent to me with further details. After waiting for around a day (give or take) I received an email just like they said. Thankfully the email had the answer I was looking for. The answer was yes.
The email stated that if I had a bill of sale then I would be eligible for a full refund and if not then I may qualify for an S7 Edge exchange.
I was relieved at this, but also still a little confused as well. After all, they didn't mention what exactly they meant by a refund. So I couldn't help but wonder, did they mean a refund of what the phone was worth or a refund of what I had paid for the device. The other thing that confused me was the way they worded the S7 exchange part. They said I "may qualify". To me, that suggested that I may not qualify too.
Feeling encouraged, but still unsure I decided to send them a response. We emailed back and forth for a bit, as I asked all of my questions and actually got them answered too. It was at this point where things started to turn around. After over a week of stress and research, it finally looked like I was going to get something out of all this.
In the end, they confirmed that If I sent them my Note 7 then they would send me an S7 Edge in return. They also confirmed that I could only get a refund of what I paid for the device ($17), and even told me that I should choose the S7 Edge instead.
After careful consideration, I agreed to exchange my Note 7 for an S7 Edge. They told me they would send a prepaid shipping box for me to put the recalled phone into. After that, I was supposed to send it back to them via UPS.
As an afterthought, I also decided to inquire about the color of the phone they would be sending me, and if I could keep the S pen that came with my Note 7 (because hey, those things are expensive!) They told me that they could only send a blue S7 which seemed a little weird, but I didn't mind. They also told me that they would make an exception and let me keep the S pen.
I also made sure to let them know that I would only be sending them the phone itself since it didn't come with any of its original packaging, accessories (other than the S Pen), etc. They confirmed that this was all ok.
Finally, after all this trouble all I had to do was wait for the prepaid shipping container to arrive.
The Shipping Box
I waited a long time before I actually got the shipping box, about 2 weeks roughly. It ended up getting delivered to my neighbor by mistake so I'm not sure how long they had it before they gave it to me. This probably wasn't Samsung's fault, and I may have even got it sooner if it hadn't been delivered to the wrong location. Either way after 2 weeks' time, I finally had everything I needed to ship the Note 7 away to Samsung.
Everything they sent:
They basically sent a box within a box, along with a twist tie, a see-through bag, some hard to understand instructions, a little to much bubble wrap, and of course an entire roll of tape (cuz why not!?)
As you may have guessed, we didn't need this much tape to tape up the box. So I kept the rest since they never told me to send it back. If you work for Samsung and want your tape back please let me know!
Sending It Off
So now that it was wrapped, all I needed to do was ship it out. Despite the fact that it wasn't working when I got it, I still kind of liked having a Note 7. It was a beautiful device and letting it go was kind of hard for me. Still, though, I decided I would rather have a brand new working phone instead of a used one that was broken.
After packing it up I still had to wait another day before I could get a ride to my local UPS drop-off location. Technically the instructions said to phone for UPS but I decided to just take it to them directly. After all, I was getting really sick of making phone calls.
So the next day I got a ride to the drop-off location. After finally getting into the place, I handed the parcel over. They asked if I wanted a receipt emailed or texted to me. I said text would be fine, and I put my number into their little device.
Moments later I received a text containing the receipt.
I left the store feeling relieved as well as excited. After all of this time I was going to get a brand new phone, and for only $17!
Now all that was left was to wait, one more time.
So I sat and waited for Samsung to email me; Hoping they would let me know that they had received my package. After all, they would not send the new phone, until they had first received the Note 7 from me.
If I remember right (and I might not) then it took about a week before I got an email from them. The email explained that they had just received the Note 7 phone I had sent them. They went on to say that they would ship the replacement S7 Edge within the next few business days.
This is where things get a little surprising. Based on the original emails they sent me, it seemed likely that I would be waiting at least another 2 weeks before my new phone arrived. However, this was not the case.
Thankfully the phone arrived in just under a week, (about 4 business days roughly.) Needless to say, I was excited, about the new phone, and about how fast it had arrived.
The New Phone
In the end, I received a brand new S7 Edge. Sadly I don't have pictures of the phone since I ended up dropping it on concrete after only owning it for a few months, but that's a story for another time. The bottom line is that Samsung was true to their word, and delivered me a brand new phone in exchange for the Note 7.
Some Extra Advice
If you are a Note 7 owner here are a few things to consider:
1. If you have a bill of sale, you should be able to take it and your Note 7 directly to the carrier you bought it from to receive a full refund of what you paid for the device. If you bought it online, then you would have to email Samsung and go through the same annoying process that I did to get a hold of them. Still though if you have a bill of sale, then they have to give you the full amount that you paid for it (as far as I know.)
2. If you bought your phone used like I did you can still return it. If you paid a lot for it, and have a bill of sale/invoice/etc. then you may want to consider getting your money back from them. If you paid next to nothing as I did, then It would be best to just ask for an S7 Edge exchange, or maybe try bargaining for a newer phone instead. I never tried bargaining for a better phone, but it may work (you never know.)
3. If the phone is broken it still qualifies for a refund of some kind. Samsung does not care if the device is broken, they do not care if somebody else used to own it. The bottom line is that Samsung wants all of these things back, including yours no matter what shape it's in.
Many parts of this are article are just my opinion, based on what I learned throughout this process. If I am wrong in any way, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.
In the end, I got a new phone, and I discovered that the Note 7 recall is definitely still in effect, (at least in Canada.) Though it was way harder then it should have been, Samsung came through in the end.
It was very stressful to get a hold of them, but it's a relief to know that they still are actively trying to get these things back.
If you read this far, then thanks. I hope this article helps other Note 7 owners who don't know what the heck to do with their device. Hope you enjoyed my story or at least found it helpful.
As always and until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful day!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Elijah Tully