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U.S. regulators officially recall 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone is displayed in Seoul on Sept. 8.
(Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

U .S. regulators issued an official recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phone Thursday because of a risk of fire.

Samsung Electronics Co. already voluntarily recalled the devices after a few dozen of them exploded or caught fire. That was out of about 2.5 million phones sold.

Now the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is stepping in with a formal recall. Its chairman, Elliot Kaye, blasted Samsung for trying to do the recall on its own, saying that anyone who believes that to be adequate “needs to have more than their phone checked.”

Samsung promised replacement devices, but that was put on hold while regulators reviewed the situation. Kaye said customers will now be offered full refunds, not just replacement devices, if they choose. Note 7 owners need to contact Samsung and provide a number from the back of the phone to determine whether that unit is at risk.

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Kaye said about 1 million devices are affected.

The recall comes at a crucial time for Samsung, as rival Apple just announced the latest versions of its iPhones, which go on sale Friday. The Note series is one of Samsung’s most expensive, and demand for the phone had been high.

Last week, U.S. aviation safety officials took the unusual step of warning airline passengers not to turn on or charge the phone during flights and not to put them in checked bags. 

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