It was only a matter of time.
The ongoing fallout from Samsung’s Note 7 debacle now includes a possible class-action lawsuit against the company in the U.S.
It’s been brought by three former Note 7 users in New Jersey and comes a week after the Korean company ended production of the handset after faulty batteries caused more than 100 units to overheat and catch fire.
But the lawsuit, which needs to be approved by a judge before it can proceed, isn’t about damage or injury caused by the exploding phone. Instead it focuses on Samsung’s handling of the recall, which the plaintiffs claim caused them to go without a phone for several weeks while still having to pay for the device and plan charges, Motherboard reported on Tuesday.
Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on September 9 told U.S.-based owners of the phone to stop using the Note 7 over safety concerns. But the suit points out that it wasn’t until September 21 that the tech firm started issuing replacement phones, some of which also turned out to be faulty.
The proposed class action claims that Samsung informed consumers “they would have to wait several days, and even weeks in many cases, before receiving a replacement smartphone,” adding, “During this time, and as a result of Defendant failing to provide consumers with an adequate replacement, consumers continued to incur monthly device and plan charges from their cellular carriers for phones they could not safely use.”
The continuing payments for data and voice plans “is the loss that the case is focused on,” Richard McCune, a lawyer involved in the case, confirmed to Motherboard.
Samsung is yet to comment on the proposed legal action.
Lawsuits such as this will only add to Samsung’s Note 7 woes. Besides the immense damage to its reputation, the company is also facing a multi-billion-dollar hit to its finances thanks to the phone’s disastrous launch.
The Galaxy Note 7 was highly praised when it arrived in August. But it wasn’t long before the first reports surfaced of the device overheating and in some cases bursting into flames. Samsung recalled the device and promised replacements, but when a number of these were found to suffer the same issue, the Note 7’s fate was sealed.