What was the Accusation?
The newest Samsung smartphone at the time, the Galaxy Note 7, was was released around the world on August 19, 2016 in the wake of much consumer enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the phone had a fatal battery flaw which caused it to overheat and start on fire. Samsung issued a recall of the phone and assured customers that it had used batteries developed by two different companies and that its in-house manufacturers were responsible for the defect. They would simply recall the faulty phones and leave the others on the market. However, an incident occurred shortly after the recall on Southwest Airlines where another Galaxy Note 7 caught fire and the flight had to be canceled. To Samsung’s credit, it expanded the recall eventually getting most of the faulty phones out of the hands of its consumers. After months of testing, Samsung mobile communications chief D.J. Koh offered the findings that he and his 700 engineers discovered in their detailed investigation of the cause of the battery explosions. In the case of the first battery, Samsung had identified a design flaw in the upper right corner that, in some cases, caused the positive and negative tabs to break down, which led to a short circuiting of the battery. The second battery, which came from the other manufacturer, was apparently faulty because of a welding defect. At the conclusion of the 50-minute press event, Koh offered the following apology: “We are taking responsibility for our failure to identify the issues arising out of the battery design and manufacturing process prior to the launch of the Note 7.” In addition to the scientific explanations and the assurance of future safety measures, President and Chief Operating Officer of Samsung USA also offered on apology to American consumers and assuring them that the replacement batteries were now safe.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Corrective Action
We apologize, especially to those of you who were personally affected by this. To those of you who love the Note, the most loyal customers in our Samsung family, we appreciate your passion and your patience. We take seriously our responsibility to address your concerns about safety. And we work every day to earn back your trust, through a number of unprecedented actions and with the extraordinary support of our carrier partners, suppliers, and the United States Consumer Productions Safety Commission.
Here are the facts: the CPSC has worked closely with us to develop, expedite and execute a plan to protect American consumers. We notified them of a potential defect in the original Note 7 batteries and then issued a global directive to stop sales immediately. To date, we have already exchanged a 130,000 units, a fast and meaningful start. And with the CPSC’s partnership, we will continue implementing corrective steps to exchange every single Note 7 on the market.
To be clear, the Note 7 with the new battery is safe. The battery cell issue is resolved. And this finding has been affirmed by a recognized independent lithium-ion battery expert. To our Note 7 owners, if you have not yet replaced your original Note 7, please, please, power it down, and return it.“
Hamblen, M. (2016, September 16). In video, Samsung apologizes for Note7 battery defects. Computerworld. Retrieved from: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3121109/smartphones/in-video-samsung-apologizes-over-note7-battery-defects.html
Moynihan, T. (2017, January 22). Samsung finally reveals why the Note 7 kept exploding. Wired. Retrieved from: https://www.wired.com/2017/01/why-the-samsung-galaxy-note-7-kept-exploding/
Newcomb, A. (2017, January 22). Samsung finally explains the Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery mess. NBC News. Retrieved from: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/samsung-finally-explains-galaxy-note-7-exploding-battery-mess-n710581
Samsung has issued a video apology over the exploding Galaxy Note 7 (2016, September 16). Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/4019344/samsung-has-issued-a-video-apology-over-the-exploding-galaxy-note-7
Savov, V. (2017, January 23). Samsung’s Note 7 apology was full, humble, and nerdy. The Verge. Retrieved from: https://www.theverge.com/2017/1/23/14355916/samsung-galaxy-note-7-apology-explanation