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Samsung’s handling of Galaxy Note 7 recall has raised concerns for U.S. officials

A federal official says the Korean phone maker should have gone through the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission.

Samsung Unveils Its New Galaxy Note 7 Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Although Samsung moved quickly to stop shipments of its Galaxy Note 7 amid reports the batteries could catch fire or explode, federal officials expressed concern Friday that the company opted not to follow traditional procedures.

Typically, recalls in the U.S. that involve safety issues are handled in conjunction with a federal agency known as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Instead, Samsung has launched its own global program to replace the phablet, following reports that a battery issue could cause fire or explosion.

Working with the CPSC ensures that consumers clearly understand both the risks of continued use of a product as well as their rights, a federal official told Recode. Such a recall would also make sales of the Note 7 illegal.

The official said that the government would still like to see a more traditional recall announcement put in place.

A U.S. CPSC representative declined to comment.

Consumer Reports has also called upon Samsung to work with the CPSC on an official recall. Although the major U.S. carriers have all stopped sales of the device, Consumer Reports said that the device could still be found for sale at other retailers.

“Samsung should immediately initiate an official recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, given the serious nature of the safety problem it identified with the Galaxy Note 7,” Consumer Reports director of electronics testing Maria Rerecich said in a statement. “We are particularly concerned that phones continue to be available for sale today.”

Samsung has said it will replace all Galaxy Note 7 phones, but has declined to state whether consumers can safely continue to use the device before replacements are ready.

It has offered consumers the option to immediately trade in devices for a Galaxy S7 phone, while U.S. carriers are also offering customers the ability to return their Note 7 for a refund or in exchange for another type of smartphone. Samsung has said replacement devices will be made available as soon as next week.

The recall comes at a particularly troublesome time for Samsung, with Apple poised to unveil new iPhones next week. Samsung has offered customers an additional $25 if they opt to exchange their Note 7 for a replacement or other Samsung phone rather than seeking a refund or opting for a rival’s phone.

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