China’s state-run CCTV on Monday alleged  two product lines of Samsung smartphones contained "serious design flaws" that aren’t included in the warranty, citing frustrated customers and mobile phone experts.
Many owners of the Galaxy S and Note series handsets said they had experienced problems with their devices like frequent system halts or 'dead' phones which they were unable to switch on, but found these problems were not covered by the Samsung warranty, the 25-minute investigative news programme reported.
One customer surnamed Jin told CCTV that she had brought her Galaxy S3 phone, costing more than 4,180 yuan, to the Samsung repair store five times last year for frequent ‘freezing’ problems but it was never properly fixed.
The South Korean mobile phone maker in response told CCTV the problem stemmed from software installed in a memory chip and that it had an “extremely low flaw rate” in the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 product lines. It also promised to solve related problems experienced by customers for free.
A smartphone retailer employee told the programme that the Samsung phones he sold had a more than 20 per cent repair rate, far greater than any other brands. The online community has also seen numerous customers filing complaints after they were told their handsets were excluded from the warranty and had to pay hundreds of yuan to fix the problem.
“This should be Samsung’s [responsibility] regardless of whether the problem comes from [the phone’s] hardware or software,” Zhang Xiaolong, a former Motorola senior engineer, said in an interview with the TV station. Zhang Xu, technology director of safety software Qihoo 360, was also quoted as criticising Samsung’s failure to thoroughly explain the problem.
According to state provisions on mobile phone repair and replacement, mobile phone makers must replace a faulty handset with a new handset for customers within the warranty period if it fails to be fixed after two repair attempts.
Consumer rights lawyer Qiu Baochang in the programme called on the state product quality supervision authority to step in and investigate the issue to determine whether it is was a product flaw or poor quality issue.
“If Samsung is indeed found responsible for its products’ poor quality, the dishonest enterprise ought to be punished under consumer rights law,” she said.