Samsung to face class action lawsuits in S. Korea, US

Seoul/New York Oct 19 (IANS) The problems of Samsung Electronics are far from over as disgruntled customers plan to file class action lawsuits in South Korea and the US over the company’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, media reports said on Wednesday.

While three US customers from three different states — Nevada, Pennsylvania and California — have already complained about the fire-prone devices, 38 owners of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in South Korea plan to file a class action lawsuit against Samsung for alleged inconvenience experienced after the discontinuation of the device.

Each person in the South Korean suit, which is scheduled to be filed with the Seoul Central District Court next Monday, is seeking 300,000 won ($267) in damages, Harvest Law Office said on Wednesday.

The proposed suit alleges that owners of the Note 7 were forced to visit stores several times for battery checks or to get replacements, Yonhap news agency reported.

The complaint also states that the consumers experienced anxiety over safety while using the Note 7.

Koh Young-il, an attorney at the law firm, said he expects the firm to win the suit, given precedents for faulty products.

Last week, Samsung permanently halted sales and production of the fire-prone Note 7, about two months after the device’s launch.

The suit filed on Friday in the US District Court in Newark, New Jersey, and made public on Tuesday, accuses Samsung Electronics America of fraud and breach of warranty and good faith, NBC News reported.

The suit — whose class action status must still be approved by a judge before it can proceed — seeks unspecified damages over what it alleges was Samsung’s mistreatment of its customers because they had to keep paying on their contracts during the weeks after Samsung recalled the phones but before replacements were made widely available.

The South Korean conglomerate began selling the phone on August 19 this year, but in September announced an unprecedented withdrawal following reports of more than thirty cases of combustion by terminals in multiple countries.

In the recall affecting about 2.5 million phones, the company proceeded in mid-September to deliver replacement phones, but the new batch continued to suffer from battery overheating, ultimately resulting in the definitive withdrawal of the product.

The South Korean tech giant last week estimated that it will lose $3 billion in operating profits over the next six months due to the withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.



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