Seoul, Oct 24:
In a setback to Samsung Electronics, 527 owners of Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in South Korea on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for inconvenience experienced after the discontinuation of the device.
According to the Harvest Law Office here, the plaintiffs filed the case with the Seoul Central District Court, seeking 500,000 won (US$440) in compensation each, Yonhap news agency reported.
Ko Young-yeel, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the rights of the consumers were infringed upon as Samsung halted production of the device and asked them to get replacements for other models.
“The consumers were also deprived of their rights to get after-sales service,” he said during a press conference held in front of the court. “(Samsung) should compensate for the mental distress caused by such a situation,” Young-yeel added.
Earlier this month, Samsung permanently halted sales and production of the fire-prone Note 7, about two months after the device’s launch.
“Customers have been experiencing inconveniences, which caused several visits to the after-sales service centres in person at their own expense and time for battery check-ups and exchanges even though the purchased products are worth 1 million won,” Ko added.
Ko said the number of plaintiffs is likely to increase as the law firm is still receiving applications from those who want to join the suit.
Three US customers from three different states — Nevada, Pennsylvania and California – have already complained about the fire-prone devices and may go for a class-action lawsuit against Samsung.
The suit filed in the US District Court in Newark, New Jersey, accuses Samsung Electronics America of fraud and breach of warranty and good faith, NBC News reported last week.
The suit — whose class-action status must still be approved by a judge before it can proceed — seeks unspecified damages over what it alleges was Samsung’s mistreatment of its customers because they had to keep paying on their contracts during the weeks after Samsung recalled the phones but before replacements were made widely available.
The South Korean conglomerate began selling the phone on August 19 this year, but in September announced an unprecedented withdrawal following reports of more than thirty cases of combustion by terminals in multiple countries.
In the recall affecting about 2.5 million phones, the company proceeded in mid-September to deliver replacement phones, but the new batch continued to suffer from battery overheating, ultimately resulting in the definitive withdrawal of the product.
The South Korean tech giant last week estimated that it will lose $3 billion in operating profits over the next six months due to the withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.