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Fewer than 15 percent of the one million U.S. Galaxy Note 7 phones have been returned

The Korean company hopes a formal recall will spur more consumers to trade in the device.

2016 IFA Consumer Electronics Trade Fair Carsten Koall / Getty

Despite the risk of fire or explosion, the vast majority of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners in the U.S. have been holding on to their devices.

Only about 130,000 units have so far been returned as part of an exchange program that Samsung kicked off nearly two weeks ago. On Thursday the company formally recalled the device in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency charged with overseeing safety-related product issues.

U.S. regulators have now signed off on Samsung’s replacement Note 7 devices, a development company officials hope will lead more customers to exchange their devices.

Samsung officials say they should have replacement units ready in most retailers by Sept. 21, with some carriers likely to have models sooner.

The company hasn’t said when it will resume sales of the Note 7, with its current energy still focused on replacing existing units. At some point in the coming weeks, though, it should have enough supply to handle more than just exchanges.

What’s unclear is how big the demand will be for the Note 7 following the recall. It had enjoyed strong initial sales as well as uniformly positive reviews prior to the disclosure of the battery issues.

The CPSC said Thursday that the Note 7 has been linked to 92 incidents of overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 accounts of property damage.

Data from Apteligent shows that only in the last day or so has Galaxy Note 7 usage dipped from the day sales were halted.

Some federal officials were critical of Samsung for initially working outside the CPSC on the replacement program. A source close to Samsung said the company notified the agency before issuing its Sept. 2 announcement and said the company worked quickly to develop the formal recall even as it worked to stop sales around the globe.


More details to come.

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