Own a Note 7? Samsung says turn off your phone

Safety concerns that the model is a fire risk...

Own a Note 7? Samsung says turn off your phone

Dee Decasa holds her replacement Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in an aluminum pan at her home in Honolulu. Picture by Audrey McAvoy AP/Press Association Images

Samsung has told all customers who own an original or a replaced Galaxy Note 7 phone to stop using and switch off their device immediately over safety concerns.

The company announced it was halting sales of its Note 7 around the world following fresh reports of fire damage in some devices.

Samsung had formally recalled 2.5 million devices after dozens exploded or caught fire, and was in the process of replacing them. But there have been multiple reports that the "safe" replacements provided have also overheated, emitted smoke or caught fire.

Images of charred Note 7 phones have been posted by users on social media sites.

One replacement Note 7 reportedly ignited inside a Southwest Airline flight in the United States on October 5th.

Growing concern about the device has prompted airlines to warn passengers not to switch on or charge their phones during flights, or stow them in checked baggage.

Samsung had blamed the spate of fires which sparked the first recall on batteries provided by a particular supplier, and assured customers it was using a different supplier for its replacement phones.

But the latest reports have raised questions about the real cause of the problem.

Authorities in South Korea also say they have discovered a new product defect in the Note 7, but they stopped short of confirming what that safety issue is.

All global partners of Samsung are now being asked to pull the Note 7, which was released in August, from their shelves for the second time in two months while Samsung and regulators investigate the claims and cause.

Affected phone users can request a refund or swap their Note 7 for a different Samsung model.

Reacting to the news, investors wiped $13.2bn (€11.86bn) off Samsung Electronics' market value as trading opened in the Far East. The Korean technology giant's share price tumbled 7% in trading in Seoul on Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement, several British phone networks had already suspended the sale of new Galaxy Note 7 handsets – adding that customer safety was of the "utmost importance".

The deepening recall crisis is raising fresh doubts about Samsung's quality control measures, which had long been touted as one of the South Korean manufacturer's unique selling points.

Officials from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission say they are investigating five incidents of fire and overheating at present.

Elliot Kaye, who chairs the commission, said Samsung's decision to halt all sales was "the right move" in light of the ongoing safety issues.

"No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property," he added.

Additional reporting by IRN