Samsung Note 7 lives on as refurb, but not in US

A Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

A Samsung Galaxy Note 7. (Photo: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan)

LOS ANGELES — Samsung has pulled its notorious Galaxy Note 7 phone out of mothballs for sale as refurbished models or for rental.

The Note 7 models will not be sold in the United States, and in the countries where Samsung will offer it, the old Note 7 models will be under a different name, according to Samsung.

Consumers and reviewers loved the Galaxy Note 7 — until the lithium-ion battery’s tendency to smoke and catch fire prompted Samsung to recall the model twice. It ended up pulling the phone off the market altogether, and airlines still warn passengers about taking them on flights. The Note 7 flareup left a huge black eye for Samsung, and a financial hit to the tune of $5.3 billion. As many as 2.5 million units were either recalled or returned to Samsung.

Samsung said little on where and when it would start reselling refurbished phones. “The product details including the name, technical specification and price range will be announced when the device is available,” Samsung said in a statement.

The sale of the refurbished Note 7s, “is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand. The markets and release dates will be determined accordingly.”

Refurbished phones are models that have been returned (or not sold at all, in this case) that have been re-made for sale. On Samsung’s website, it describes its refurbished phones as ones that have been “rebuilt, refreshed and covered.” The company offers 1 year warranty on its refurbished models, which are offered at lower prices than the brand new ones. A Galaxy S6 Edge phone, which sold for $672 when it was originally offered for sale in 2015, is currently $223.

The company had initially said it would discontinue selling the Note 7 altogether, and the bulk of Monday’s statement dealt with Samsung’s plans to also recycle parts from the Note, like cameras and semiconductors.

Activist group Greenpeace had campaigned to get Samsung to recycle the remaining stockpile of Note 7 phones that were pulled off the market, and took Samsung’s recycling announcement as a win.

“Tonnes of precious raw materials go into making throwaway electronics that are impossible to repair and purposefully designed not to last, leading to millions of gadgets being bought and thrown away as e-waste every year,” Greenpeace’s Jude Lee  wrote in a blog post.

Samsung is expected to introduced the Galaxy S8 Wednesday, the latest iteration of the Galaxy phone, the line that has emerged as the No. 2 best-selling phone brand to Apple’s iPhone.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies says it’s “questionable,” how successful Samsung will be moving the excess phones, but “if they’ve corrected the problem, there’s no reason not to sell it.”

He expects to see the Note 7 sold in emerging markets like Africa and South America countries, and that it would just be “too controversial” to sell here or in South Korea.

 

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