Following Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 combust-a-phone mess and product recall, Verizon went from “We won’t do anything,” to “OK, let’s brick them,” and now is at the “Seriously people, give us the phone before you hurt yourself” stage. Verizon’s latest move is to reroute calls from Note 7 phones to customer service to convince users to exchange their phone for something less flammable.
Samsung’s headaches with the Galaxy Note 7 started shortly after it was released last summer. Users reported their phones were literally catching on fire, and in some cases caused physical harm and destroyed property.
The issue escalated to the point where the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration banned the transport of the devices on airplanes. Samsung’s replacement phones caught fire, too, so the company finally stopped production and killed off the model.
Most Note 7 owners returned their phones because the idea of your phone catching fire in your hand or car is a big turnoff for most people. For those who still needed a little more incentive, Verizon made a software update that stops the phones from charging, so once the battery drains it’s useless.
T-Mobile and AT&T were on board with the Note 7 brick update, but Verizon was resistant at first. Verizon changed course and pushed out the update, too, but still has thousands of Note 7 users, according to Fortune.
At least some of those Note 7 phones are still working, so Verizon’s new tactic is to intercept the calls users make and try to convince them to trade in their phone. Emergency 911 calls will still work, but anything else will be met with a plea to give them back.
A Verizon spokesperson said, “In spite of our best efforts, there are still customers using the recalled phones who have not returned or exchanged their Note 7 to the point of purchase.”
It looks like some Note 7 users have more technical skills than sense because they figured out how to block the forced update designed to brick their phones. Ironically, it probably won’t be Verizon customer service’s arguments that convince them to use a phone that isn’t a hazard, but instead the fact that they can’t call anyone else.