Q&A with Samsung PH's Chad Sotelo on the Note7's global recall

MANILA, Philippines – News of the impending global recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 broke across several websites and social networks early Friday, September 2. The recall is supposedly due to faulty, exploding batteries in some units.

How will the recall affect prospective buyers of the device in the Philippines or those who already have their pre-ordered unit? We talk to Chad Sotelo, Marketing Director of Samsung Electronics Philippines, for the company's stance on this development. 

Rappler: How will the Philippine unit respond to the said recall of the Note7?

Chad Sotelo: There has been no announcement locally on anything. We are aware of the issue that there are some Note7 units that are being reviewed. Headquarters (HQ) is investigating it with our partners so we can come up with an official result. And then once we get information from that – and any action plans from HQ – we will cascade it to the market. But as of now, none yet. We have not made any statement on any action plans for the local market.

Rappler: Is there a timetable for the release of this information?

CS: I have not heard of anything official from a schedule standpoint. But most likely, we'll probably get something within the day – maybe latest, tomorrow.

Rappler: The official release date for the Note7 was moved to sometime in September from the original release date of August 20, according to Samsung Philippines. But some individuals on Facebook claim to have their units already. Why is that?  

CS: Well, we had already released almost all of the units that have been pre-ordered. We conduct pre-orders for our flagship phones  – and we did the same for our Note7. So almost all of the pre-order units have been released. There are a couple of units na lang na hindi pa na-pi-pickup ng users who reserved (There are a couple of units that haven't been picked up by users who reserved). But demand actually reached a point where supply is struggling to keep up. So we are really evaluating as to when we can get sufficient supply for the Philippines.

Ang lakas kasi ng demand (The demand was really strong). And obviously when it comes to a global corporation, and demand spikes in a lot of countries, obviously, priority calls are made based on multiple factors. We just can't keep up with the demand. So at that time, we said, 'Okay, we'd rather bring it in when we have sufficient rolling stock.' We were waiting for official notice from our factory as to when we can bring in more stock. Demand was really unanticipated.

Rappler: So, the cause of delay was not in any way related to the battery issue at the center of the recall?

CS: No, we have not heard of anything official from the [Samsung] Asia team on any product-related issue. The delay that we experienced in August is really because demand was so high our factory couldn't keep up.

Rappler: One individual said on the Rappler Facebook page, "I've had my Samsung Note7 since August 17 from Globe delivered at my doorstep. So far so good naman, but this news is definitely alarming especially for us na meron na." What can these owners do at the moment? 

CS: Well, I would still say the same. HQ is still investigating with our partners, if there's anything that has to be reviewed [about the phone]. We take quality very seriously. We have very low tolerance [for anything that might be wrong or not correct with our products.] So we're currently still investigating. We do have a statement that HQ releases. We will release it as fast as possible in the local market, which will include our social media channels as well.

Rappler: Should they stop using the phone while this issue is ongoing? 

CS: No, there is no advice on anything that has to do with stopping usage. So continue to use the phone normally. For customer service, we have our standard customer service hotlines if they have any problems, which they can call and ask questions to.

These are the numbers to contact:

Standard landline: 02-422-21-11

Toll-free (Globe landline and mobile): 1-800-872-678-64

Toll-free (PLDT): 1-800-107-267-864

Click here to proceed to Samsung Philippines' Technical Support page. – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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