Samsung knew for days its replacement Galaxy Note 7s were catching fire

Just yesterday I wrote that the debacle over the exploding Galaxy Note 7 was far from over, but now it seems like everything up to this point has just been the first arc in a major disaster for Samsung. Thursday's incident, where a replacement Note 7 caught fire on an airplane has already been widely reported, but it's been discovered that two similar cases took place this past week — one on Tuesday and another on Friday — and what's worse is that Samsung was aware but said nothing to the public.

At around 4:00 am on Tuesday in Nicholasville, Kentucky, Michael Klering woke up to find his bedroom filled with black smoke after his Galaxy Note 7 — a replacement model — had caught fire. "It wasn't plugged in. It wasn't anything, it was just sitting there," he told local news outlet WKYT, noting that it was "supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe." Later that same day Klering went to the hospital to be treated for acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation.

This means that Samsung was aware its replacement phones were still dangerous a full two days before the airplane incident on Thursday, but did nothing to warn customers or publicly take action.

Unfortunately, it seems like Samsung not only intentionally didn't disclose the incident, but took steps to keep it under wraps. Klering told WKYT that a Samsung representative contacted him and asked if they could take possession of the damaged phone. He said no, but did allow the company to x-ray the device.

However, he later received a text message that appears to be intended for someone else at Samsung:

"Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it"

And there's still the matter of third device catching fire within a week. On Friday a Note 7 that had been replaced on September 21st caught fire in the hands of a 13-year-old girl in Minnesota. She told the local news that she had felt a "weird burning sensation" under her thumb while holding the device.

Stop using your Note 7 immediately — even if it's been replaced

In response the Thursday's and Friday's incidents, Samsung has issued statements noting that they're "conducting investigations" and that "customer safety remains our highest priority," but it's obvious that's not the case. The company was slow to cooperate with the US's Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on the initial Note 7 recall, and now they're dragging their feet in warning customers to stop using the replacement devices altogether.

If you own a Galaxy Note 7 — even a replacement model — stop using it immediately and take it back for a refund or exchange. All four major US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) have said they will allow customers to replace their phone with something else entirely, regardless of when it was purchased. You could even exchange it for a Galaxy S7 if you still feel Samsung is a trustworthy company for some reason.

In any case, the Note 7 needs to be pulled from the shelves immediately, with or without Samsung's acknowledgement.