samsung galaxy note 7 seoul

A woman walks by an advertisement of the Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 7 smartphone at the company’s showroom in Seoul. Pic: AP

S. Korea: Unhappy Galaxy Note 7 buyers file class-action lawsuit against Samsung

OVER 500 people are seeking compensation from Samsung Electronics Co. for the inconvenience of having to worry about whether or not their Galaxy Note 7s would spontaneously combust and set fire to their homes or pockets, in another spate of bad news for the electronics manufacturer.

Bloomberg reports 527 smartphone owners have filed a class-action lawsuit in a South Korean court, demanding 500,000 won (US$440) from Samsung for “time and effort lost when the phones were first recalled”.

Ko Young-yeel, an attorney at Harvest Law – the firm that filed the lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court on Monday – told Bloomberg that they plan to file one lawsuit every month, and added that it took just five days for more than 500 Note 7 users to sign up to have their names added to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes as Samsung offered to include Note 7 customers in South Korea in an upgrade program, in which customers who have traded their explosive phone for a Galaxy S7 replacement can upgrade to the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 smartphone that will launch next year.

According to Reuters, users who take part in the upgrade program will be given a 50 percent discount on the price of the Galaxy S7 before they exchange their devices with the S8 or Note 8 next year – this has also been interpreted as a confirmation by Samsung that the Note series will not be discontinued.

The upgrade program was announced on top of existing financial incentives Samsung has put in place in an attempt to stop customers from moving towards other smartphone rivals, including 100,000 won (US$88.39) for South Korean customers and US$100 credit for U.S. customers.

SEE ALSO: Samsung expecting $5.3bn profit loss from Galaxy Note 7 troubles

But through this lawsuit, complainants are saying the inconvenience of the recalls far outweighs any incentive Samsung has so far offered up. Ko said not only did customers have to bring their phones to nearby Samsung stores to have the batteries checked, phones recalled, and then replaced, they also had to reinstall apps and set up all personal logins again – only to have the phones recalled for overheating problems once again.

Samsung is also facing class-action lawsuits from phone owners in the U.S., who are seeking unspecified damages on top of an order that requires the company to repair and recall, or replace, the phones, as well as extend warranties.

The electronics company has not issued a comment on the lawsuits, and did not immediately respond to Tech Wire Asia’s email seeking comment.