Samsung has set up “customer service points” in airports across Australia and worldwide to help customers get rid of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 prior to flying.
Airlines across Australia and the world put in place blanket bans this week that prevent Note 7 owners from even carrying the device on-board an aircraft.
Previously, owners had been allowed to take them onto planes as long as they were switched off; reminders were provided at check-in as well as on the in-flight entertainment system prior to take-off.
With Note 7 customers potentially arriving at airports only to find they could not fly with their phones, Samsung created a worldwide initiative to build drop-off and exchange points for the devices at “high traffic terminals”.
We are working with airlines and airports in Australia to arrange customer service points within high-traffic terminals where customers, who are unaware of the Galaxy Note7 ban on flights, can arrange an alternative device at the airport,” Samsung Australia said this week.
“These Samsung Australia customer service points at airports are located before security screening.”
Device exchange points are available at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Gold Coast airports.
They’ve also made their way into airports such as San Francisco; Business Insider said that the US has made flying with a Note 7 device a crime punishable by heavy fines and prison.
The US is taking no chances with collecting remaining Note 7’s that are still in the wild, providing thermally-insulated boxes for their return, and allowing them to be shipped via ground transport only.
Other postal services have banned the devices from being shipped entirely, asking customers to return them to the physical store where they were bought.
That has prompted the union representing Australia Post workers to seek urgent assurance from Australia Post that workers will not be put in potentially harmful situations having to handle device returns locally.
CEPU communications division national secretary Greg Rayner said he feared the safety of postal workers and the general public was being jeopardised “due to the risk of these phones exploding or bursting into flames while progressing through the various stages within the postal system.”
“If these exploding phones are not safe enough to be carried on passenger aircraft then what steps have been taken to ensure they’re safe enough to be transported in aircraft or postal vehicles packed with paper and other flammable material?” he said.
“So far we have heard nothing from Australia Post, or the Federal Government for that matter, on how they will protect workers and the general public.”
Rayner said CEPU had confirmed with mobile phone carriers that “if customers are unable to return their phones in store, they will be sent a satchel with instructions to lodge at their nearest post office.”
That could mean “hundreds of these potentially dangerous phones will be circulating through our postal system,” he said.
“Australia Post has a responsibility to its workers and to the public,” Rayner said.
“They must take immediate action before one of these potentially ticking time bombs blows up and costs lives.”
The union said it would give Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour “until Monday to respond to the union’s concerns.”